Although States have the potential for submitting data to a national registry, the issue of how often they expunge data would have an impact upon the design and maintenance of the system.
The term "expungement" refers to the procedures used by States to maintain and update their child abuse and neglect data repositories by removing old or inaccurate records. As a condition for receiving funding under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA), States must submit plans that include provisions and procedures for the prompt removal of records of unsubstantiated or false cases of child abuse and neglect if the records are accessible to the general public or are used for purposes of employment or other background checks. CPS agencies, however, can maintain information on persons who were associated with unsubstantiated reports or who successfully appealed their designation as a perpetrator to assist in future risk and safety assessments.
Forty-three of 52 States (82.7%) have law or policy that specifies the conditions under which a child maltreatment perpetrator's information can be expunged from the data repository. The remaining nine States (17.3%) do not have law or policy that specifies conditions of expungement. (See table 13.)
More than one-half of State policies or laws (53.5%) provide for expungement following a successful appeal of the substantiation decision or the designation on the data repository. About one-third of the States (34.9 %) provide for expungement after a certain amount of time has elapsed since the individual was determined to be a perpetrator, ranging from 5 to more than 20 years. Some States allow for expungement when the youngest child victim attains a specific age, ranging from 18 to 28 years of age. A few States would expunge a record if they are notified that the perpetrator has died. Other conditions for expungement include the identification of a data-entry error, a court order, or a settlement agreement. (See tables 14 and 15.)
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