Each County has their own branch of the Department of Human Resources which is a mandatory entity of the State of Alabama. They are to monitor the health and well-being of all minors. Therefore, if there is ever an allegation of Child Neglect, Child Endangerment, Child Abuse, Child Sexual Abuse, etc. they must investigate. All police officers, fire personnel, assistant district attorneys, healthcare workers and many other professionals are known as mandatory reporters and must report any suspected abuse for investigation by DHR as bound by their independent professional ethical codes.
The Central Registry is mandated by Section 26-14-7.1, Code of Alabama (1975). It states that the DHR is bound to do an independent investigation of the alleged abuse, which is done by one Social Worker and approved by one Protective Services Supervisor. If there is a finding of “Indicated,” the individual under investigation is placed on the Central Registry and defending this action involves suing DHR. A finding of “Indicated” has nothing to do with the criminal case and the standard is not “reasonable suspicion” or “probable cause.” It is strictly the opinion of one Social Worker. This registry is used by DHR for any organization that is licensed by DHR. To put the devastating effect of being placed on this Central Registry in perspective, the YMCA, Little League Sports, Girl Scouts, Summer Camps, Sunday Schools, Daycares and many others check this registry before a person can volunteer or work for any of the above DHR licensed agencies. Even if you prevail and get a not guilty verdict or the State dismisses your criminal case, you still stay on this Central Registry for Life unless you retain the services of an attorney to fight this issue for you.
We are currently litigating with DHR in an attempt to stop them from placing Juveniles on the Central Registry with Adults. There is a reason we have a separate Juvenile Justice system and the number one reason is so we do not combine juveniles with adults. You can read in our section on the Juvenile Justice System that Juvenile Convictions can be destroyed like they never happened after 10 years and are always sealed files. However, the Department of Human Resources is currently, in our firm’s position, absolutely violating the Title 12 of the Code of Alabama (1975) entitled the Juvenile Justice Act by placing Juveniles on a registry viewed by the public and mixing Juvenile names with Adult names. Our firm looks forward to this aggressive litigation but feels confident that we will prevail in our attempts to stop DHR from this egregious behavior.
We have meet with many clients that have never been informed in cases involving any type of alleged abuse of a child that you have very few days to contest DHR putting you on this registry and request an Administrative Hearing or Administrative Record Review. This is something we do for each of our clients in order to preserve their objection with being placed on the Central Registry so it can be litigated in a civil law suit, in addition to handling their criminal case.