The Texas Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry is a federally mandated, state-run database of child abuse and neglect records. Central registries, as originally designed, served three purposes: (1) aiding in the identification and prevention of child maltreatment, (2) ensuring the quality of investigations and services, and (3) serving as a tool for research and statistical analysis. During the late 1980s and into the 1990s, central registries evolved into a tool for conducting background checks and tracking alleged perpetrators.

It is this use of the central registry as a tool for conducting background checks on individuals seeking certain types of employment or volunteer opportunities that raises concerns about due process and unintended consequences for families struggling with conditions of poverty.