State Central Registry Hearings FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Hearings Pursuant to SSL §§ 422 and 424

See the General Hearing FAQ for questions not answered here.

Acronyms and Abbreviations


Why did I get a letter asking me to appear for an initial appearance or hearing?

You are considered to be the appellant(s) in this matter and have been scheduled for either an initial appearance or a full hearing pursuant to section 422 and/or 424-a of the Social Services Law (SSL).

If the letter you receive from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Bureau of Special Hearings (BSH) tells you that you are to appear for an initial appearance, it means you are not having your full hearing that day. You will meet with an independent Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) designated by the Commissioner of OCFS and a representative of the local department of social services (the opposing party) to discuss what will happen at the hearing and how you can prepare for the hearing. At this initial appearance, you will be given a date by the ALJ to come back for a full hearing. You should not bring any witnesses to the initial appearance because the hearing will not begin on that date.

If the letter that you received from BSH tells you that you are to appear for a full hearing, see the answer to next question.

What issues are decided at the hearing?

If your hearing is held pursuant to SSL §§ 422 or 424-a, the investigating agency has the burden of proving by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the abuse or maltreatment alleged occurred.

If your hearing is held pursuant to SSL § 422, you have the burden of proving whether the abuse or maltreatment, if proven, is no longer relevant and reasonably related to child care issues (see “Guidelines For Determining Whether Indicated Instances of Child Abuse And Maltreatment Are Relevant And Reasonably Related to Employment Or Licensure” in the SCR Packet).

What is a hearing via video conference at the county department of social services?

Any initial appearance or hearing may be held using video-conference equipment at the county department of social services. The proceedings will be conducted in a manner that is similar to when all parties are in the same room.

Participants will be required to sit in front of a television monitor and can see the ALJ at the other location. The ALJ will be able to see, hear and speak with you and the other side. Documents the parties want to show the ALJ can be sent to the Judge using a scanner in the hearing room. The ALJ will be in charge of the proceedings. Parties will be sworn in and testimony taken as in a courtroom proceeding. The entire proceeding will be recorded using audio means only. Only one person shall talk at a time as directed by the ALJ.

How will the investigating agency present its evidence?

The investigating agency may present evidence in the form of witness testimony or documents they prepared or obtained during the course of its investigation.

When can I review what will be offered into evidence by the investigating agency?

Pursuant to OCFS regulations regarding your hearing, you are entitled to a copy of all documentary evidence the investigating agency intends to introduce as exhibits at the hearing. These documents will be provided to you at the initial appearance or mailed to you provided to the start of your hearing.

Can I challenge the evidence offered by the investigating agency?

Yes. You may object to the documents being introduced at the hearing and the ALJ will decide if the documents are allowed into evidence. You will also be given the opportunity to question any witnesses who testify for the investigating agency: this is known as cross-examination. The investigating agency will also have an opportunity to challenge the evidence offered by you and to ask questions of you and any witnesses you call to testify.

What is the State Central Register (SCR) packet?

Prior to your first appearance, you should receive a packet of information from the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. This will be referred to as the “SCR packet.” Please advise the ALJ at your first appearance if you have not received this packet. The SCR Packet is entered into evidence at the hearing. It is not, however, entered into evidence to prove the allegations against you. It is presented to establish what information is on file at the State Central Register that you are seeking to have amended.

See the General Hearing FAQ for questions not answered here.