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How to Appeal an Indicated Children and Youth Report in Pennsylvania

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Children and Youth Services ("CYS"), the Pennsylvania organization that responds to concerns about child welfare, serves an important purpose in trying to protect children in Pennsylvania. However, the processes used by CYS are far from perfect, and their findings are not always accurate. Once CYS is involved with a suspected incident of child abuse, CYS has 60 days to issue a report evaluating that suspected incident. CYS will issue a "founded," "indicated," or "unfounded" report, depending on their findings regarding the suspected abuse. A "founded" or "indicated" report can have a profound effect on the individual it is entered against, potentially landing that individual on a child abuse registry and impacting that individual's ability to see his or her children.

If you feel an indicated child abuse report has been wrongly entered against you, our Lehigh Valley Children and Youth Attorneys can help.

Once an indicated report is entered, an individual has 90 days to either request an administrative review of their file, or to request a full appeal hearing on the file. If an administrative review is requested, you will have to send a statement of reasons to the Child Abuse Appeals Department of the Secretary of Human Services in Harrisburg, stating why you believe your report should not have been found indicated (i.e. evidence was misinterpreted or not considered, or new evidence has emerged). The Department will then decide to change the outcome of your case, or to keep the indicated status.

If the status of your report is not changed or if you want to skip the administrative review process all together, you can request an appeal hearing. Once you request the hearing, you will be required to gather evidence, prepare for trial, and ultimately present your case before an administrative law judge. This can be an extremely time-consuming and complex process, even for experienced attorneys. If your case requires a hearing, you should consult an attorney immediately to discuss your potential options in pursuing your appeal.

If you have an issue involving an indicated CYS report, please contact one of our experienced Lehigh Valley Children and Youth attorneys today to set up a free consultation.

The foregoing is intended to be a general discussion of the law and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. If you have a specific question, please contact our office to speak with an attorney.

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