What is the Family Law of Georgia?
Georgia law requires the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to establish and maintain a central child abuse registry. O.C.G.A. § 49-5-181(a). When a DFCS abuse investigator substantiates a case of child abuse, DFCS must enter the name of the alleged child abuser, the classification of abuse, and a copy abuse investigator’s report in the registry. O.C.G.A. § 49-5-183(a).
The alleged child abuser is then entitled to a hearing to determine whether there was child abuse committed by the alleged child abuser to justify the investigator’s determination of a substantiated case. O.C.G.A. § 49-5-183(d).
To be clear, this means that before any court has held a hearing, if a DFCS caseworker believes you have committed an act of child abuse, then your name will appear on the registry; if DFCS believes you are a child abuser they do not need to prove anything, it is your responsibility to file an appeal immediately to get your name off the child abuse registry.
If you do not act immediately, your name will remain on the Georgia Child Abuse Registry, even if your DFCS case is later dismissed.
Our Recent Case Study
Recently, one of our family law attorneys was retained to represent a mother who was placed on the Georgia Child Abuse Registry. The mother was disciplining her daughter for fighting at school; DFCS was involved and completed an investigation. While the underlying DFCS case was closed almost immediately, the mother was placed on the registry. DFCS alleged that the mother’s simple disciplining of her daughter was an act of child abuse. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our family law attorneys. Our client, the mother, was vindicated and her name was removed from the list.
If you, a family member or a friend is dealing with DFCS or the Registry, be sure to contact our highly experienced family law attorneys immediately. Time is of the essence. We can help you fight for and protect your rights. As always, our consultations are free of charge.