Courthouse News Service
Courthouse News Service

Courthouse News Service
Monday, November 10, 2008Last Update: 10:41:47 AM

Child Abuse Database
Is Unconstitutional

     (CN) - California's database of child abusers and suspected child abusers violates due process because it does not allow those named on it to challenge the allegations, the 9th Circuit ruled.
     Craig and Wendy Humphries' child alleged that they were abusers, so the county took their other children away. The state dropped the charges after they were disproved by a doctor.
     Despite their acquittal, the Humphries were listed on the state Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) with no chance to clear their names.
     CACI can be accessed by employers, adoption agencies, and police officers. The information also is available to out-of-state agencies.
     Those who have been wrongfully listed on CACI cannot be removed from the list for 10 years.
     Judge Bybee reversed the trial court's summary judgment in favor of Los Angeles County.
     "We are not persuaded that California has provided a sufficient process for ensuring that persons like the Humphries do not suffer the stigma of being labeled child abusers, plus the loss of significant state benefits, such as child-care licenses or employment," Bybee ruled.