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The Child Abuse/Neglect Dispute Review Section (CANDRS) is the state level working group involved in reviewing county decisions that an individual is responsible for an act of child abuse or neglect when the individual (Appellant) requests a state appeal. CANDRS is involved only in child abuse or neglect appeals.
Under Colorado law, individuals receiving letters from County Departments of Human/Social Services notifying them that they have been identified as responsible for an incident of child abuse or neglect, are entitled to contest (appeal) the accuracy of the county decision to an impartial decision maker. This county letter includes a form with "Information about Confirmed Reports of Child Abuse or Neglect" containing important information about the confirmation and the appeal rights.
The form and instructions are used to request a fair hearing. If the individual wants to appeal to the state he or she must complete and submit the form that is included in the letter from the county. Once this form is received in CANDRS, the Appellant will receive notice that the appeal has been received along with further information regarding the appeal process.
Within 120 days after receiving the appeal, the CANDRS staff may try to contact the Appellant to discuss the appeal and, if warranted, to conduct a settlement conference. It is the Appellant's responsibility to make contact with a reviewer in CANDRS prior to 120 days after submitting his/her appeal. If an Appellant has not made contact with CANDRS within 120 days after submitting his/her appeal, the appeal may be dismissed. It is the Appellant's responsibility to keep his/her contact information current with CANDRS (see CANDRS contact information listed below).
A fair hearing is another name for a trial before an Administrative Law Judge. If the appeal proceeds to a fair hearing, the Appellant must be available to set the date for the hearing. Once a hearing has been scheduled, the Appellant will be required to submit a response to the State's Notice of Charges. Additionally, the Appellant will be required to provide information about witnesses and evidence that the s/he expects to present at the hearing. At the fair hearing, the Appellant has the right to call witnesses, present documents and ask questions of other witnesses. The state must prove that the county's determination is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will render an Initial Decision on whether the state or the Appellant won the case. The process then shifts to the CDHS Office of Appeals. Appellants are not required to hire a lawyer but may if they choose. Lawyers are not appointed by the Administrative Law Judge in these types of cases.
The above information is a very brief overview of the child abuse or neglect report appeals process. If you become involved in an appeal, make sure that you read carefully all the documents that are sent to you. The documents have legal significance and consequences. Any person is welcome to call CANDRS with questions about the process generally or about their own appeal specifically. State contact information can be found below. Finally, please use the links below to find additional copies of forms, the procedures at the Office of Administrative Courts or the CDHS Office of Appeals web pages and the state rules governing the appeal process for confirmed or founded reports of child abuse or neglect.
P 303.866.4546 | Toll-free 1.888.809.0247