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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, May 18, 2000


Eventually,
child-abuse
files expunged

Question: A decade ago, someone reported (anonymously) that I was abusing my child. Child Protective Services and the police got involved, but no grounds were found and no charges were filed. The case went no further. However, it has bothered me ever since. First, that there was no abuse; second, that I was never to know who my accuser was; and third, that this accusation is on my record. How can I go about clearing that record once and for all? I am afraid it might affect future employment.

Answer: If, as you said, no charges were filed because no evidence of abuse was found, then there should be nothing in any state record against you.

If a report is unsubstantiated, the state Department of Human Services expunges the record 90 days after the report is received as long as there are no further reports of abuse or neglect within that 90-day period, explained Kate Stanley, department deputy director.

If you are still concerned about any record, write to the department, providing information about the report and requesting that records be deleted, she said.

Stanley explained the procedure for dealing with child-abuse reports:

Each report accepted for assessment and investigation is recorded in the department's Child Protective Services System database. By law, the department must make a disposition of the allegations within 60 days of the acceptance of the report for investigation.

There are three dispositions possible: "Confirmed," which means there is credible evidence of child abuse/neglect; "unconfirmed," which means that there is insufficient evidence; and "unsubstantiated," which means the department found the report was made frivolously or in bad faith.

Under Department of Human Services rules and procedures, if the report is confirmed, the report and records are maintained by the department until the youngest child in the home is 18. Then the record is destroyed. If the report is unconfirmed, the department maintains the record for three years, then expunges it. If the report is unsubstantiated, the record is expunged 90 days after it was received and if there is no further report of abuse or neglect within that 90 days.

As for the identity of the accuser, Stanley said federal and state laws prohibit the department from releasing any names. Also, she said, all reports of child abuse/neglect and subsequent actions taken by the Department of Human Services are confidential. They can only be released with the informed consent of the client or recipient, by court order, or as allowed by DHS rules and procedures.

Q: A business recently moved into the 800 block of Gulick Avenue and posted "no parking" signs in front of its property, allowing its employees to park there but preventing residents from doing so. Is this legal?

A: An inspector with the city Building Division researched your complaint and discovered that that section of Gulick is privately owned.

Therefore, neither the state nor the city has jurisdiction over any part of the roadway, said Ivan Matsumoto. The "no parking" signs would appear to be enforceable as warnings from a private property owner.

Auwe

To a woman in a Ford Taurus who, on the morning of May 5, by the Kahala Mall overpass, was reading a newspaper while driving! She almost hit some cars and still seemed oblivious to what she was doing. -- No name





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