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No to Child Abuse Registry

November 7, 2005 permalink

A judge in Missouri has ruled the child abuse registry unconstitutional because there is no due process, meaning that parents have no right to a hearing before being placed on the list. In Ontario many parents remain on the child abuse register after being exonerated by the courts. One case follows the news report.



St Louis Post-Dispatch

Court strikes down Missouri child abuse registry

By David A. Lieb

Associated Press

Thursday, Nov. 03 2005

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A judge declared Missouri's child abuse registry unconstitutional on Thursday, ruling that people merely suspected of abuse are wrongly listed on the registry in violation of their due process rights.

The ruling marked the second time in two years that Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan has struck down the child abuse registry. The first ruling ultimately was rejected by the state Supreme Court, partly because the accused people's names already had been removed from the list and legislators had changed the law.

The child abuse registry is kept secret from the general public but is used by child care providers and others to screen current and potential employees.

Callahan cited numerous due process violations Thursday, concluding people's reputations and professional careers were damaged when their names were placed in the abuse registry before receiving a court-like hearing.

The Department of Social Services said it was likely to again take the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. And Callahan suspended the effect of his judgment pending an appeal.

Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch

Ontario case:




I have been reading some of the information you have posted on the Internet. I was completely surprised when last night (due to stress-related insomnia) I found this e-mail you sent me in 2003: July 23, 2003 Subject: homeschooling Dear Angela: Though I homeschool my own 6-year-old son, I know nothing about the needs of a child losing his hearing, so I can not help you directly. There is one part of your post that worries me, and maybe I can be of some help there. Child protectors, in Ontario the Children's Aid Society (CAS), are aggressive in taking certain kinds of children into custody, leaving parents with perfunctory contact, or even no contact at all. Reimbursement rules by the province of Ontario fund the local CAS, with higher payments for special needs children, so your child may be unusually attractive to them. There are 52 Children's Aid Societies in Ontario, and through my work I have identified the most aggressive ones as Halton, Durham, Dufferin, St Thomas/Elgin, and Hamilton. You did not say where you live. Are you in Ontario? In one of those areas? If so, you should take some precaution against Children's Aid. Robert T McQuaid Orangeville Ontario

Apparently, I completely disregarded your warning (and forgot all about it!). I currently find myself under investigation by CAS and your e-mail seems a scary foreshadowing of what was to come. The investigation is now in week 7 (of the 30 days it was suppose to last!). I have managed to get them to say that it is the possibility of emotional harm they are investigating, but they have been reluctant to put in writing the specific action or inaction on my part they believe may cause emotional harm to my three children. A call to a lawyer today, confirmed all I have learned from your articles:

They have all the power.

They can take my children away from me and decide why later.

If I don't go along with any of their "suggestions" they can take my children away and discuss it further in court.

The lawyer also confirmed that the plans I had to one day adopt are now over, as are my plans for a career working with children as most jobs I would apply for would require a child welfare check which, even if I am found to be innocent, will not look good. Why is this set up so that I have the burden of proof? I must prove my innocence rather than them proving I am guilty of something!

I can't even believe this can be allowed to happen in Canada!

Although I obviously failed to heed your advice previously, I would appreciate any assistance you might give me at this point. I will likely have another "visit" from my caseworker tomorrow.