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R.W. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/02/89)

decided: February 2, 1989.

R.W., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare, in the case of Appeal Of: R.W., Re: T.W., File No. 21-86-095, CL No. 09-04180.

COUNSEL

Robert J. Young, for petitioner.

Myra Werrin Sacks, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Cynthia M. Weaver, for intervenor, Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency.

Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 287]

R.W. (petitioner) appeals an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which denied reconsideration of an order refusing to expunge a report of child abuse.

Based upon a report of petitioner, the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency (the Agency) conducted an investigation and determined that petitioner's husband, I.W., had been abusing the couple's minor child T. As a result, the Agency, on May 1, 1986, filed a report of child abuse designating I.W. as the perpetrator.

Sometime thereafter, petitioner filed a request to expunge the report. The Agency filed a motion to dismiss the action since petitioner was not named perpetrator in the report. While a hearing examiner granted the Agency's motion, the director of DPW's Office of Hearing and Appeals reversed. Following a hearing, the examiner refused to expunge the report. Final administrative action was taken by DPW on November 9, 1987, when it adopted the recommendation of the hearing examiner in its entirety and refused to expunge the report of child abuse.

Petitioner then filed a request for reconsideration which DPW denied on December 15, 1987. No appeal was ever taken from the November 9th order; petitioner did, however, file a timely appeal of the December 15th order denying reconsideration.

As petitioner never appealed the November 9th final order of DPW but only the December 15th order denying reconsideration, this case is controlled by Keith v. Department of Public Welfare, 121 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 405, 551 A.2d 333 (1988). The merits of the unappealed November 9th order are not before us; we may consider only the legitimacy of the December 15th order denying reconsideration. Id. Furthermore, our scope of

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 288]

    review is limited to deciding whether DPW abused its discretion in denying the ...


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