Arkansas Law


§ 12-12-512. Child maltreatment investigative determination - Notice of finding - Amendment and appeal.

(a) Upon completion of the investigation, the Department of Human Services shall determine that the allegations of child maltreatment are:

     (1) Unsubstantiated: (A) This determination shall be entered when the allegation is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

(B) There can be no disclosure of unsubstantiated reports except:

          (i) For release to the prosecutor for the limited purpose of prosecution of a person who willfully makes false notification pursuant to this subchapter;

         (ii) To a subject of the report; and

        (iii) To a court if the information in the record is necessary for a determination of an issue before the court;

     (2)(A) True: This determination shall be entered when the allegation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

          (B) A determination of true shall not be entered when a parent, practicing his religious beliefs, does not, for that reason alone, provide medical treatment for a child, but in lieu of such treatment the child is being furnished with treatment by spiritual means alone, through prayer, in accordance with a recognized religious method of healing by an accredited practitioner.

          (C)(i) Notwithstanding subdivision (a)(2) of this section, the department shall have the authority to:

                   (a) any legal remedies, including the authority to initiate legal proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction;

                   (b) medical care or treatment for a child when such care or treatment is necessary to prevent or remedy serious harm to the child, or to prevent the withholding of medically indicated treatment from child with life-threatening conditions.

              (ii) Except with respect to the withholding of medically indicated treatments from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions, case-by-case determinations concerning the exercise of authority in this subsection shall be within the sole discretion of the department.

                   (b) If the investigation cannot be completed, the investigation shall be determined incomplete and placed in inactive status.

(c)(1)(A) In every case where a report is determined to be true, the department shall notify each subject of the report of the determination.

          (B) Notification shall be in writing by hand delivery or by certified mail, restricted delivery.

          (C) Such notification shall include the following:

               (i) The investigative determination, true or unsubstantiated, exclusive of the source of the notification;

              (ii) A statement that the person named as the offender of the true report may request an administrative hearing;

              (iii) A statement that such request must be made to the department within thirty (30) days of receipt of the hand delivery or mailing of the notice of determination; and

              (iv) The name of the person making notification, his occupation, and where he can be reached.

     (2) The administrative hearing process must be completed within ninety (90) days from the date of the receipt of the request for a hearing.

     (3) No action by appeal shall be brought more than two (2) years after the completion of the investigation.

     (4) When the department conducts such administrative appeal hearings, the chief counsel of the department is authorized to require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, or other documents through the issuance of subpoenas when such testimony or information is necessary to adequately present the position of the Department of Human Services, the investigating protective services agency, or the alleged offender or adult subject of a report.

(d) Failure to obey the subpoena may be deemed a contempt, punishable accordingly.

History. Acts 1991, No. 1208, §§ 5, 7; 1993, No. 1126, § 8; 1995, No. 804, § 3; 1995, No. 1341, § 11; 1997, No. 1334, § 7; 1999, No. 1340, § 30.