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children_silhouette The recently enacted 2020 budget bill included the most significant reform of New York’s child welfare law in over a decade. The legislation amends the Social Services Law to raise the legal standard for determining that someone maltreated a child, shortens the length of time before records of neglect are sealed, and provides additional protections for accused parents before employers can access records. These changes, explained in more detail below, will significantly benefit families who are investigated by child protective services.

The State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment—commonly referred to as the “SCR”—was established in 1964 to keep records of reports of suspected child abuse and neglect made to the state child abuse hotline. Allegations received by the hotline are forwarded for investigation by local child protective services, such as New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). The results—by statute every allegation much be determined either “indicated” or “unfounded”—are then reported back and maintained in the SCR.

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