The current central registry system is unconstitutional and unjust. It creates long-term social and economic hardships for those wrongfully listed as well as for those whose contact with the child welfare system was a result of conditions of poverty.

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.