Review and Expunction of Central Registries and Reporting Records - Vermont
Right of the Reported Person to Review and Challenge Records
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, §§ 4916a; 4916b
If an investigation results in a determination that a report of child abuse or neglect should be substantiated, the Department for Children and Families shall notify the person alleged to have abused or neglected a child of the right to request a review of the substantiation determination by an administrative reviewer and the right to receive a copy of the commissioner's written findings. A person who wishes to challenge placement of his or her name on the registry must notify the department within 14 days of the date the department mailed notice of the right to review.
The department shall hold an administrative review conference within 35 days of receipt of the request for review. At least 10 days prior to the administrative review conference, the department shall provide to the person requesting the review a copy of the redacted investigation file, notice of time and place of the conference, and conference procedures, including information that may be submitted and mechanisms for providing information. The department shall also provide to the person those redacted investigation files that relate to prior investigations that the department has relied upon to make its substantiation determination in the case in which a review has been requested.
The administrative review may be stayed upon request of the person if there is a pending criminal or family division of the superior court case that is related to the same incident of abuse or neglect for which the person was substantiated. During this period, the person's name shall be placed on the registry. Upon resolution of the court case, the person may exercise his or her right to review by notifying the department in writing within 30 days after the related court case, including any appeals, has been fully adjudicated. If the person fails to notify the department within 30 days, the department's decision shall become final and no further review is required.
If the administrative reviewer accepts the department's substantiation determination, a registry record shall be made immediately. If the reviewer rejects the department's substantiation determination, no registry record shall be made.
If no administrative review is requested, the department's decision in the case shall be final, and the person shall have no further right of review. The commissioner may grant a waiver and permit such a review upon good cause shown. Good cause may include an acquittal or dismissal of a criminal charge arising from the incident of abuse or neglect.
A commissioner's decision that creates a registry record may be appealed to the Human Services Board. Within 30 days of the date on which the administrative reviewer mailed notice of placement of a report on the registry, the person who is the subject of the substantiation may apply in writing to the Human Services Board for relief. The board shall hold a hearing within 60 days of the receipt of the request for a hearing and shall issue a decision within 30 days of the hearing. Priority shall be given to appeals in which there are immediate employment consequences for the person appealing the decision.
A hearing may be stayed upon request of the petitioner if there is a pending court case related to the same incident of abuse or neglect for which the person was substantiated.
If no review by the board is requested, the department's decision in the case shall be final, and the person shall have no further right for review under this section. The board may grant a waiver and permit such a review upon good cause shown.
When Records Must Be Expunged
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, §§ 4916c; 4916d
A person whose name has been placed on the registry prior to July 1, 2009, and has been listed on the registry for at least 3 years may file a written request with the Commissioner for Children and Families seeking a review for the purpose of expunging an individual registry record. A person whose name has been placed on the registry on or after July 1, 2009, and has been listed on the registry for at least 7 years may file a written request seeking a review for the purpose of expunging a record. The commissioner shall grant a review upon request.
A person who is required to register as a sex offender shall not be eligible to petition for expunction of his or her registry record until the person is no longer required to register.
The person shall have the burden of proving that a reasonable person would believe that he or she no longer presents a risk to the safety or well-being of children.
A review shall consider the following factors:
- The nature of the substantiation
- The number of substantiations
- The amount of time since the substantiation
- The circumstances that would indicate whether a similar incident would likely occur
- Any activities that would reflect upon the person's changed behavior or circumstances, such as therapy, employment, or education
At the review, the person who requested the review shall be permitted to present any evidence that supports the request for expunction. A person may seek a review no more than once every 36 months.
Registry entries concerning a person who was substantiated for behavior occurring before the person reached age 10 shall be expunged when the person reaches age 18, provided that the person has had no additional substantiated entries. A person substantiated for behavior occurring before age 18 and whose name has been listed on the registry for at least 3 years may request a review for the purpose of expunging an individual registry record.