States are required to have in place an appeals process by which an individual who is officially found to have committed child abuse or neglect can appeal such a finding. States have some flexibility in determining the type of appeals process that best meets their needs. For example, the appeals process can be established through the courts, through some other external appeals process, or through an internal appeals process.
The appeals process, however, must meet the following minimum conditions in order to satisfy the CAPTA requirements:
1) The process must afford the individual with a finding of child abuse or neglect an opportunity for due process.
2) The office or individual(s) hearing such appeals cannot be involved in any other stage of the case.
3) The office or individual(s) established to hear such appeals must have the authority to overturn a previous finding of child abuse or neglect.
4) Individuals must be given written notification of their right to appeal, and the method by which they may appeal, at the time they are notified of the official finding of child abuse or neglect.
CAPTA requires States to establish provisions, procedures and mechanisms by which individuals who disagree with an official finding of abuse and neglect can appeal such finding. We understand this provision to apply to the perpetrator; however, individuals with standing under State law are not precluded from participating in the appeals process should such individuals disagree with a finding of abuse or neglect.
While there is nothing in Federal statute or regulation which defines "timely notification" for this purpose, we believe that the term is directly related to an official finding of abuse or neglect. Therefore, States should implement processes and procedures to assure that individuals are notified of their right to appeal upon a final finding of abuse or neglect.
Yes. Pursuant to section 106 (b)(2)(B)(xv)(II) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), States must have a process to hear appeals from individuals who disagree with an official finding of child abuse or neglect. There is nothing in the statutory language or legislative history that indicates that this requirement is limited to only those States with central registries. Additionally, in order for an appeals process to be complete, it must include steps to assure that individuals with such rights receive timely notification.