AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper The Blacklist: How Central Registry Reform Can Protect Kids and Promote Prosperity.

“The purpose of the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry, which is used for data collection, analysis, and background checks, is well-intentioned but has unintended consequences,” said Charissa Huntzinger, campaign director for the Government for the People campaign at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “In order to make the registry just and constitutional, various policies must be implemented including prohibiting the listing of alleged perpetrators prior to a hearing before a judge, requiring a minimum standard for registry placement hearings, creating a third-party appeals process that is both clear and accessible, and ending the practice of anonymous reporting, shifting to confidential reporting instead.”

Key Points:

  • The central registry is a database of child maltreatment perpetrators used to assist in the investigation and prevention of child maltreatment cases, to facilitate statistical analysis of child welfare data, to systematically track and respond to maltreatment allegations, to aid case monitoring and planning, and to provide background checks for volunteer or employed positions that involve contact with children.
  • The central registry has real-world implications for families. It can negatively impact employment for low-income and minority families, with a particularly heavy burden on mothers, which, in turn, can jeopardize child well-being.
  • The central registry significantly lacks due process protections at multiple junctures: the ease of being added to the central registry, the difficulty of getting off, the lasting damage to careers and reputations, and the lack of judicial oversight of the decision.
  • Once someone is placed on the registry, the appeal process is lengthy, complicated, and requires parents to appeal the decision to the same department that initially deemed them perpetrators.
  • Overreporting and anonymous reporting aggravate the lack of due process in relation to the central registry.

To read the paper in full, please visit:

https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2020/05/28093855/Huntzinger-Central-Registry.pdf