Review and Expunction of Central Registries and Reporting Records - Maine

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Right of the Reported Person to Review and Challenge Records

Citation: Child & Fam. Pol. Man. § XV. E

A person who officially has been found by the State to have abused or neglected a child has the right to have that finding reviewed.

Once the Department of Human Services has made an official finding of abuse or neglect, the responsible caseworker shall send a letter to the affected individual within 10 calendar days, informing him or her of the findings. These findings must be specific in that they identify the type of abuse; the name of the victim; the specific incidents, behaviors, or patterns of behaviors; and the specific harm or threats of harm to the child.

Once a request for a review is received, an agency reviewer will be appointed to review the case record. The reviewer, who must have had no involvement with the case prior to the review process, shall have the authority to overturn the previous official finding of child abuse or neglect. The reviewer shall review the case and make a determination either (a) sustaining the official finding of abuse or neglect or (b) overturning the official finding. This determination shall be made in writing and mailed to the appellant by first class mail, at his or her last known address, within 45 days of the receipt of the request for review.

In making a determination to sustain or overturn an official finding of abuse or neglect, the reviewer will review and consider all information in the case record as well as information provided by the appellant. The reviewer will then determine whether the information in the record, taken as a whole, establishes by preponderance that child abuse or neglect has occurred or is threatened to occur. In making that determination, the reviewer may consider such factors as whether:

  • Sufficient information was gathered from relevant collateral sources, including, but not limited to, past department records, medical and mental health records, law enforcement records, school records, and community nursing records to support the findings.
  • The process and content of information gathering from the family was accomplished within policy and practice guidelines.
  • The record reflects an analysis of all relevant information.
  • Critical persons were interviewed during the assessment.
  • The request for the review from the appellant is specific to the findings with which there is disagreement and the basis for that disagreement.
  • Sufficient documentation exists in the record to support the substantiation decision.

When the reviewer has completed the review of the agency record, he or she will prepare a written statement of findings, including a statement as to whether the reviewer believes that the record contains sufficient information to support the substantiation.

In those cases in which an official finding of abuse or neglect is overturned, that finding shall become part of all information systems maintained by the department. In such cases, any allegation that was originally entered as 'substantiated' shall be changed to 'unsubstantiated.'

When Records Must Be Expunged

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4008(5)

The Department of Human Services shall retain unsubstantiated child protective services case records for no more than 18 months following a finding of unsubstantiation and then expunge unsubstantiated case records from all departmental files or archives, unless a new referral has been received within the 18-month retention period.

Unsubstantiated child protective services records of persons who were eligible for Medicaid services under the Federal Social Security Act, title XIX, at the time of the investigation may be retained for up to 5 years for the sole purpose of State and Federal audits of the Medicaid program. Unsubstantiated child protective services case records retained for audit purposes must be stored separately from other child protective services records and may not be used for any other purpose.