WHITE PLAINS, NY (Westchester County), after 18 months of being accused of maltreatment of his children by the Westchester County Department of Social Services (or the “Agency”), our client, a father of two young children, was vindicated following a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in White Plains, New York.
Under the law, the Agency is required to establish that alleged maltreatment be shown by the preponderance of the evidence. In order to meet this burden, the Agency is required to prove by a fair preponderance of the evidence each element of a three prong test. Those elements are: (1) the child’s physical, mental or emotional condition was impaired, or was in imminent danger of becoming impaired; (2) the parent failed to exercise a minimum degree of care under the circumstances in question; and (3) the parent’s failure to exercise the requisite degree of care caused, or threatened, the impairment of the child’s condition.
If the Agency fails to meet its burden of proving the alleged maltreatment by a fair preponderance of evidence, the indicated report must be amended to unfounded and sealed. The amendment and sealing of the filed prevents the allegations of the file from being disclosed to any licensing and provider agencies.
Throughout the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge, our attorney focused on the substance of the allegations and the unreliability of the witnesses making the allegations. Our attorney revealed, through his examination of the witnesses and the numerous documents presented as evidence during the hearing, that the allegations of maltreatment were in fact not supported by the evidence and were contradicted by testimony of other fact witnesses.
In ruling in favor of the client, the Court agreed with our attorney and found, “… it cannot be inferred based on the evidence presented that ‘something of substance’ must have happened…. It is the Agency’s burden to establish the alleged maltreatment by a fair preponderance of evidence, which cannot be based on supposition or surmise.”
When it comes to cases involving CPS investigations and indicated reports of maltreatment, it is important to remember that there are instances where those allegations are fabricated and motivated by other factors. Due to the nature of these types of cases, the claims of innocence and actions of the accused are often overlooked or ignored. In this case, the client was fortunate enough to have a defense attorney who fought to make sure that his rights were protected and that the law was followed.If you or anyone you know is subject to a CPS investigation, it is important that you have the experience of accomplished White Plains criminal defense attorney on your side. If you are involved in such a case or if you are seeking a fair hearing to appeal an indicated finding from CPS, please contact Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP for a free consultation at (914) 946-4808