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K.S. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/06/89)

decided: October 6, 1989.

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



PETITION FOR REVIEW (DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE).

COUNSEL

Margaret H. Poswistilo, Easton, for petitioner.

John Kane, Chief Counsel, Kathleen Harrington, Asst. Counsel, Harrisburg, for Dept. of Public Welfare.

Stephen G. Baratta for Northampton County Dept. of Human Services.

Craig and Doyle, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.

Author: Craig

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 33]

K.S. appeals an order of the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), rejecting a Hearing Officer's recommendation and denying K.S.' request for expungement of an indicated report of child abuse maintained under the Child Protective Services Law*fn1 implicating K.S., mother of J.S. We affirm.

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 34]

On September 30, 1981, Northampton County Children and Youth Services (CYS) received a report of suspected child abuse of four-month old J.S. The report indicated that J.S. had sustained a laceration under the tongue and a periosteal elevation of his tibia.

CYS caseworker David Hankard investigated the matter by going to the Allentown Hospital to interview medical personnel, observe J.S., photograph the injuries, and interview the parents of J.S. In addition to the reported injuries, Hankard observed a bump on the back of the child's head as well as lesions on the child's hands and feet.

The medical personnel informed Hankard that the injuries aroused their suspicions of abuse. K.S. stated that she believed that the laceration may have been caused by the child cutting himself with his fingernail. H.S., the father of J.S., told Hankard that the laceration was a result of the child's spitting out a spoon, and that the lesions had been a condition since birth. Neither parent could explain how the child suffered fractures of the lower leg bones.

Upon completion of his investigation, coupled with the fact that K.S. and H.S. (since divorced) were the child's primary caretakers, Hankard filed an abuse and dependency petition. CYS later withdrew the abuse portion of the petition, in order to avoid an extended hearing, when the parents agreed to a Dependency Order placing J.S. in foster care for six months. Additionally, pursuant to section 14 of the Law, 11 P.S. ยง 2214, Hankard filed a report indicating that K.S. and H.S. are perpetrators of child abuse.

The situation remained undisturbed until August, 1987, when K.S. applied for employment in the child care services field. At that time, she learned of her inclusion in DPW's Statewide ...


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