Your CACI Grievance Process
Let’s review each step in the process for your CACI grievance, from beginning to end. Once you have retained legal representation, the process of fighting false allegations of child abuse and getting your name taken off the California child abuse index begins. California law has not established a process that every county must use. Therefore, each county has established its own procedures and rules. What you read here is the typical process employed by most counties, even though your county’s procedures may vary slightly. Also, the steps outlined here do not necessarily take place in chronological order, one after the other, depending on the facts of your specific needs.
The First Step—Initiating the Process
The first step is request a DOJ Child Abuse Central Index Grievance Hearing. Your local agency will have forms to fill out. Your lawyer will fill these out for you and submit them to the county. Your lawyer will send a letter of representation to the county letting them know that you are represented by legal counsel. This will allow the county to communicate with your lawyer, so that you don’t have to worry about the details every step along the way. Let your lawyer deal with that.
The Second Step—Reviewing the Evidence
The second step is to obtain and/or review the discovery. “Discovery” is another word for “evidence.” The county must afford you the opportunity to review the evidence against you. Your lawyer will schedule a time to review the county’s evidence. Unfortunately, the county will not provide your lawyer with a copy of the documentary evidence. If you and your lawyer decide it is prudent or necessary to obtain your own copy of the evidence, a Petition will be filed in court, asking the judge to order the county to provide you with your own copy. In some counties, this process can take many months, even up to six months. The time needed will depend on the court’s and county’s resources and how backed up they are. While it is true you have a right to have a hearing within a specific period of time, if you want to review the evidence before the hearing, you may end up waiving your right to a timely hearing.
The Third Step—Preparing your Case
Once you have all of the county’s evidence against you, you will be in the best position to confirm your strategy and prepare your evidence. This may entail obtaining letters, finding witnesses, hiring experts, preparing a statement of facts, drafting legal Memoranda of Points and Authorities, finalizing legal arguments, etc. Because the hearing does not take place in a court of law, your ability to subpoena witnesses to the hearing to testify for you is extremely limited, and in some cases nonexistent. Therefore, if you want someone to testify, you may need to persuade them to come voluntarily.
The Final Step—Attend the Hearing
At the Grievance Hearing, typically the county will present all of its documentary evidence. The county may then have the social worker who investigated your case testify. You and your lawyer will have the opportunity to cross examine the social worker. At that point, you and your lawyer will have the opportunity to present your case. The Grievance Hearing Officer (acting as the judge) may choose to ask you questions. You will be prepared for these questions because your lawyer will have prepared you. At the close of the hearing, typically the Hearing Officer will give you a time frame within which you will receive the decision in the mail. The decision is not usually given at the conclusion of the hearing.
Be sure you go to the Resources page to learn valuable information about the laws involved in Child Abuse Central Index hearings.
To speak with me today, call 619-792-1451 or send me an email.