Types of Hearings

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Substantive Hearings

The Bureau of Special Hearings conducts hearings in the following substantive areas:

Amendment to/Sealing of Child Abuse or Maltreatment Reports

Hearings held pursuant to Social Services Law § 422(8) in which “indicated” subjects of reports of child abuse and maltreatment seek to overturn determinations of local social services district staff and/or state personnel (in the case of abuse in an institutional setting) to “indicate” reports. Indicate means a report made to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) where an investigation determines that some credible evidence of the alleged abuse or maltreatment exists (SSL Section 422(12)).

Hearing Regulations: 18 NYCRR Part 434

Employment Data Base Checks

Hearings held pursuant to § 424-a of the Social Services Law in which applicants for employment, licensure or approval for certain positions relating to the care of children or disabled adults seek to preclude the release of information regarding any indicated child abuse or maltreatment reports.

At the SSL Section 422 and 424-a hearings, the Investigating Agency must prove the alleged abuse or maltreatment by a “fair preponderance of evidence” which is defined by applicable regulations as “evidence, which outweighs other evidence” which is offered to oppose it in order for the existence of the report to be disclosed. (18 NYCRR 434.10(i)).

Hearing Regulations: 18 NYCRR Part 434

Foster Care Removal

Hearings held pursuant to Section 400 of the SSL in which foster parents challenge determinations by authorized agencies to remove children in foster care from the homes of foster parents.

18 NYCRR 443.5(c) and 443.7(i)(4); Article 3 of the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA)

Adoption Eligibility

Hearings held pursuant to Section 372-e of the SSL to contest denials of applications of persons seeking to become adoptive parents.

18 NYCRR 421.15(g)(7); Article 3 of the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA)

Adoption Subsidy

Hearings held pursuant to Section 455 of the SSL in which adoptive parents challenge: the determination to deny an adoption subsidy; the determination to discontinue an adoption subsidy; or the mount of adoption subsidy payments being provided to the parent(s).

Hearing Regulations: 18 NYCRR 421.24(g)

Day Care Licensing

Hearings held pursuant to Section 390 of the SSL to contest denial of an application for licensure or registration of a day care program; denial of an application for renewal of licensure or registration of a day care program; suspension, revocation or limitation of a license or registration to operate a day care program; an order directing to cease the operation of a program operating in violation of the licensing or registration requirements; imposition of a fine for violation of statutes or regulations concerning operation of a day care program.

Hearing Regulations: 18 NYCRR 413.5

Family Type Homes for Adults

Hearings held pursuant to Section 460-d(4), (7), and (9) of the SSL to contest denial of an application for licensure of a family type home for adults; denial of an application for renewal of licensure of a family type home for adults; revocation, suspension or limitation of the licensure of a family type home for adults; or imposition of a fine or violation of statutes or regulations concerning operation of a family type home for adults.

Hearing Regulations: 18 NYCRR Part 493

New York State Commission for the Blind

Hearings held pursuant to Federal Law or Section 8714-a of the Unconsolidated Laws of New York to challenge determinations by the New York State Commission for the Blind (1) to deny, terminate or change services or equipment provided to blind or visually impaired persons or (2) related to the operation of the Business Enterprise Program for the blind and visually impaired.

Article 3 of the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA); Business Enterprise Program Operators Manual.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance

Hearings held pursuant to Section 458-f of the SSL in which prospective kinship guardian(s) or kinship guardian(s) challenge: the determination to deny an application for kinship guardianship assistance payments; the determination to discontinue kinship guardianship assistance payments; or the amount of kinship guardianship assistance payments being provided to the kinship guardian(s).

Hearing Regulations: 18 NYCRR 436.10

Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program

Hearings held pursuant to 42 USC 671(a)(12) in which applicants for ETV challenge: the determination to deny the application for ETV or the failure to act upon an application for ETV with reasonable promptness.

Hearing Regulations: 18 NYCRR Part 358; 20-OCFS-INF-05

Criminal History (De Novo) Hearings

Hearings held pursuant to Section 390-b(3-b) of the SSL for applicants for enrollment, employment, and/or a volunteer position at a child care program to contest the denial of such role based on a non-mandatory disqualifying criminal conviction.

Hearings Regulations: 18 NYCRR 413 and 415

Operating Certificates

Hearings held to contest the decision by OCFS to deny an application for an operating certificate, or to revoke, limit or suspend the operating certificate of a residential facility for children. See 18 NYCRR Part 343.

Release Revocations

A release revocation proceeding is warranted when a youth is on aftercare status pursuant to § 510-a of the Executive Law and has knowingly violated his/her conditions of release. A youth on aftercare has the right to a hearing to determine if there was a violation of conditions of release. A youth may waive a hearing after consultation with his/her attorney.

At the hearing, evidence is presented to prove the violation of conditions of release and a determination is made as to whether release status will be revoked. It is the burden of the State to prove the youth was aware of the conditions of release and that the youth violated one or more of those conditions. Where substantial evidence that a condition of release has been violated is found to exist, the hearing officer will order a revocation of release.

SSL 510-a provides statutory authority to OCFS to promulgate regulations pertaining to release and return of youth. The regulations including the right to a hearing is found at 9 NYCRR Part 169.

Fenner Hearings

The hearing is held pursuant to Executive Law, Section 504-a (3) (b) and Section 175-2, of Title 9 of the NYCRR.

A hearing under the Fenner Stipulation I-A is on a single charge and will determine whether the behavior of the resident at limited secure is exceptionally dangerous to himself/herself and others. The hearing under the Fenner Stipulation I-B will determine whether the resident has demonstrated by a persistent pattern of behavior (multiple charges) the need for placement in a more secure setting. I-A and I-B can be commenced either alone or together. The purpose of conducting a Fenner Hearing is to determine whether the behavior of a resident of an OCFS limited secure facility would justify transfer to a secure facility.

The hearing is initiated by a facility contacting the litigation unit and submitting proposed charges and allegations. If the allegations rise to the level of a hearing, then notice along with the charges are served upon the resident, law guardian and hearing officer.

Memorandum of Understanding Hearings

The following hearings are conducted by OTDA for OCFS under a Memorandum of Understanding:

Day Care

Hearings held pursuant to Section 22 of the SSL and Parts 358 and 415 of the Social Services regulations to challenge determinations by social services districts to deny, reduce or terminate day care subsidy payments, or to challenge the adequacy of such payments.

Foster Care Payments

Hearings held pursuant to Section 22 of the SSL and Part 358 of the Social Services regulations to challenge determinations by social services districts to deny requests by foster parents for foster boarding home payments at a rate higher than the rate being received by the foster parents; to deny voluntary foster care placement services for natural parents; or to challenge the adequacy of such payments or services.

Homemaker Services

Hearings held pursuant to Section 22 of the SSL and Part 358 of the Social Services regulations to challenge determinations by social services districts to deny, reduce or terminate homemaker services for adults and children, or to challenge the adequacy of services authorized.

Protective/Preventive Services

Hearings held pursuant to Section 22 of the SSL and Part 358 of the Social Services regulations to challenge determinations by social services districts to deny, reduce or terminate adult or child protective or preventive services, or to challenge the adequacy of services authorized.

Transitional Child Care

Hearings held pursuant to Section 22 of the SSL and Part 358 of the Social Services regulations to challenge determinations by social services districts to deny, reduce or terminate transitional child care payments, or to challenge the adequacy of such payments.

Boarder Babies

Hearings held pursuant to Section 22 of the SSL and Part 358 of the Social Services regulations to the special needs of boarder babies.

Remote Telephone and Video Hearings

As part of a continuing effort by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and the Bureau of Special Hearings to

BSH has implemented WebEx-based Video Hearing technology to conduct hearings with participants in different locations.

The manner in which the hearings are being conducted will be explained to the parties during initial appearance conferences. BSH has equipped most local districts with video conferencing and document sharing equipment.

The Administrative Law Judge conducts the hearing using a remote control operated video camera and a large, high definition TV monitor connected to existing New York State communications networks. Video Hearing equipment will enable ALJs located at equipped sites to direct the conduct of hearings with Appellants, representatives, translators and/or witnesses located at any other equipped site.

Video Hearing sites include Administrative Law Judge Desktop video-conferencing set ups, OCFS hearing room video set ups, and most County hearing room sites with video equipment.