Childline is a list of people suspected of abusing children and the federal government mandates that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania maintain this list. The county agency will send a report to Childline of suspected abuse and then has 60 days to complete their investigation and report to Childline whether the report is “indicated” or “unfounded.” Anyone who has been “indicated” for child abuse may request an expunction of that “indicated” status and the Department of Public of Human Services (DHS) is required to give that person a hearing on the matter. If there is a finding by the court in the dependency trial or criminal trial that any person did actually commit abuse, then the “indicated” report is changed to a “founded” report with DHS. No one has a right to ask for a “founded” report to be expunged.
It is important to understand that you will not receive any trial or hearing BEFORE you are listed as an abuser on ChildLine, you will receive a notice that you already have been listed as a child abuser after the “indicated” report is made by the County case worker. Then you will receive a notice that you can ask that the report be expunged. If you fail to request that the report be expunged within the time limit, you will be listed as a child abuser and will not be able to appeal the listing. Without any trial or court proceeding, based on the investigation of the county case worker alone, you will be listed as a child abuser. Being listed as a child abuser on ChildLine may impact your ability to obtain employment, particularly employment involving children, at a day care or school. Being listed on ChildLine as an abuser may impact your ability to volunteer to coach a child’s athletic team, or to volunteer in child programs at church or elsewhere.