SB 1106 - This act modifies the laws regarding the child abuse and neglect registry.
The Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Review Board is authorized to place individuals on the registry. This act also requires the Children's Division of the Department of Social Services to maintain a criminal charges pending list and to display the fact that such list exists on the child abuse and neglect registry. The list shall prominently display a statement noting that all charged persons are presumed innocent until found guilty and that the persons on the criminal charges pending list have not been found guilty in a court of law. When the division learns that any person whose name is on the list has been acquitted, the person's name shall be removed immediately from the list. The criminal charges pending list is defined as a list of persons who have pending, unresolved charges of criminal abuse, neglect, sexual assault, rape, assault or murder. The Children's Division shall develop a process by which the division obtains the name of such persons from the prosecuting attorney's office.
This act also allows a court to presume that a false report of child abuse causes damage or injury to the reputation of the individual or institution accused in the report and that the falsely accused party may recover the costs of litigation. Also, this act repeals the immunity for those who in bad faith intentionally provide false information in a report.
The Children's Division is also required to complete a child abuse investigation within thirty days. Extensions may be requested and any party has the right to object to an extension. The CAN review board shall rule on such an objection within seven days. If the investigation concludes that abuse has likely occurred, the division cannot add a perpetrator to the registry or release information about the investigation to anyone other than law enforcement agencies unless the perpetrator does not request a review by the review board or it has determined that abuse or neglect has occurred. Within ten days of the investigation determination or within ninety days of receiving an investigation report, whichever occurs first, the alleged perpetrator and the child named in the report must be notified in writing about the preliminary determinations of the investigation.
This act also prohibits investigation information that identifies a child, reporter, alleged perpetrator, or witness to be made available to a researcher acting in good faith unless written permission is obtained from the child through his or her guardian. The division is also required to remove identifying information in a child abuse investigation report from the division's records within forty-five days of the determination that abuse or neglect occurred.
In addition, the division director is required within thirty days of receiving written evidence of a reversal to remove from the registry the name of an individual whose investigation determination has been reversed by the review board.
This act also allows the alleged perpetrator to seek a reversal determination or a trial if requested within thirty days after receiving notice of the investigation results; otherwise, the preliminary investigation determination will be considered the final determination. If a trial is requested, the review board must schedule a hearing within ninety days of the request. The court is also allowed to order litigation costs to an alleged perpetrator who is granted a prevailing verdict determining his or her innocence of any child abuse or neglect verdict.
The membership of the CAN review board is also modified to require that of the nine members of the board, one shall be a physician, three shall be attorneys and the remaining shall be public members.
This act is substantially similar to HB 1229 (2007).