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G.W.K. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/01/89)

decided: May 1, 1989.

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



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Hearings and Appeals in the case of Appeal Of: G.W.K., Docket No. 21-86-016, CL No. 02-12267.

COUNSEL

G.W.K., petitioner, for himself.

Kathleen Harrington, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Palladino and Smith, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 513]

G.W.K. (Petitioner) appeals from an order of the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) adopting the recommendation of a hearing officer to deny expungement of an indicated report of child abuse. We vacate and remand.

On January 2, 1985, a report of suspected child abuse was received by Children and Youth Services of Allegheny County (CYS) in which Petitioner was named as the perpetrator of sexual abuse against his daughter, K.K. K.K. was approximately three and one-half (3 1/2) years old at the time of the alleged incident of abuse. CYS investigated the report and, on February 21, 1985, determined it to be "indicated" under section 3 of the Child Protective Services Law (Law), Act of November 26, 1975, P.L. 438, as amended, 11 P.S. § 2203.*fn1 Petitioner

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 514]

    thereafter requested to have the report expunged under section 15(d) of the Law, 11 P.S. § 2215(d). DPW denied this request by letter dated January 14, 1986. Petitioner then requested a full hearing before DPW's Office of Hearings and Appeals.

After a hearing, a hearing officer recommended that expungement be denied, concluding that there was substantial evidence that Petitioner was the perpetrator of sexual abuse against K.K. By order dated June 23, 1988, DPW adopted the recommendation of the hearing officer and denied expungement.

On appeal pro se to this court,*fn2 Petitioner raises numerous allegations of error which we conclude consist of the following: (1) CYS failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the allegations of abuse; (2) the expert testimony of a clinical psychologist was based upon information supplied by K.K.'s mother who was biased against Petitioner; (3) the hearing officer improperly admitted hearsay evidence to which Petitioner objected; and (4) the report was not supported by substantial evidence. We will address these issues seriatim.

Petitioner first contends that CYS failed to conduct a complete investigation because CYS interviewed K.K. only once and never interviewed him at all. Petitioner also asserts that CYS improperly filed its report prior to K.K.'s psychological evaluations.

Under section 17 of the Law, the child protective service is required to commence an investigation within twenty-four (24) hours of its receipt of the report in order to ...


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