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Fixing the Central Registry (Part Two):  The legally permitted uses of the Central Registry

In this second part of our series on the DCPP Central Registry, we examine the permitted uses of the Registry.  Under New Jersey law, DCPP must guard all information about abuse or neglect with their livelihoods.  The law protects the confidentiality of DCPP-related information.  DCPP may only release this privileged information in response to a formal request and only in response to very specific types of requests.

Each year in New Jersey, thousands of parents or guardians find themselves under the watchful eye of DCPP.  Each time DCPP receives an allegation of abuse or neglect, it must perform an investigation.  At the conclusion of each investigation, DCPP makes findings.  If DCPP makes a finding of “substantiated”, then you have the parental scarlet letter.  If DCPP substantiates abuse or neglect against you, then you are in the Central Registry.

DCPP attorneys and the courts have long been troubled by the fact that a person’s name may be placed in the Central Registry based on the determination of an individual worker.  The New Jersey Appellate Division has recognized that the scope of “permissible disclosure of names contained in the Central Registry . . . is . . . extensive.” N.J.Div. of Youth and Fam. Servs. v. S.S., 372 N.J.Super 13 (App. Div. 2004).  The persons who are subject to disclosure are:

*Child Care Center employees (N.J.S.A. 30:5B-6.2)

*Resource Parent applicants (N.J.S.A. 30:4C-27.7)

*Kinship Legal Guardians (N.J.S.A. 30:4C-86)

*Residential Center employees (N.J.S.A. 30:4C-27.22)

*Registered Family day care provider applicant (N.J.S.A. 30:5B-25.3)

*DFD (Division of Family Development) Approved Homes (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10a(g))

*Professional Guardians (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10e)

*Incarcerated parents (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10c)

*Adoption Agency employees (N.J.S.A. 9:3-40.8)

*Adoptive parent applicants (private or DCF).  (N.J.S.A. 9:3-54.2)

*Department of Children and Families employees.

*CASA volunteers (N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-92)

The process is simple.  Any request must be made through a Child Abuse Record Information (CARI) check.  If one of the above categories applies, then DCPP is permitted to release your information.  If you have any questions about how the law in this article applies to you, then you are certainly free to perform your own research.  However, it is advisable to protect your livelihood by consulting an experienced DCPP attorney.

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