PETITION FOR REVIEW (DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE).
Stephen B. Lipson, Ruby D. Weeks, Carlisle, for petitioner.
John Kane, Chief Counsel, Kathleen A. Harrington, Asst. Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.
Barry and Palladino, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 582]
D.N. (petitioner) appeals from an order of the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which denied his request for expungement of a report of "indicated" child abuse which was filed pursuant to the Child Protective Services Law (Law), Act of November 26, 1975, P.L. 438, as amended, 11 P.S. §§ 2201-2224.
On an evening in October of 1986, petitioner was baby-sitting his girl friend's two minor children, J.A. and A.A. At one point during the course of the evening, he discovered J.A., who was approximately twenty months old at the time, chewing on his mother's razor. He then spanked the child's exposed buttocks two or three times, causing him to cry. As a result of this incident, the child suffered multiple bruises and scratches to his buttocks. He was never taken to a doctor or hospital for treatment of these injuries. His maternal grandmother did, however, have pictures taken of them a week after the incident which she discovered while bathing the child.
In August of 1987, the Cumberland County Children and Youth Services (CCCYS) received a report of suspected child abuse regarding another alleged incident of physical abuse by petitioner of J.A. That incident allegedly occurred on August 15, 1987. While investigating that report, Kathy Jones, a CCCYS caseworker, was provided with information regarding the October, 1986, incident by the child's mother and maternal grandmother. Following the investigation by Ms. Jones, the CCCYS determined that substantial evidence of both the October 1986 incident and the August 1987 incident existed. Consequently, it filed a report of indicated child abuse in the statewide central registry.
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 583]
Petitioner requested that the report of indicated child abuse be expunged. This request was denied by the Acting Director of DPW's Office of Child Welfare Services. At the request of the petitioner, a hearing was then held before a hearing officer. Following this hearing, the hearing officer recommended that the report be expunged with respect to both the October 1986 and August 1987 incidents. The Director of the OHA, however, adopted the hearing officer's recommendation to expunge the report only with respect to the August 1987 incident. She rejected the recommendation made with respect to the October 1986 incident. This appeal followed.
Our scope of review in this matter is to determine whether the Director of the OHA's order comports with the applicable law, her findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether the petitioner's constitutional rights were violated. Cruz v. ...