Introduction

When the Justice Center accepts a report of an allegation of abuse or neglect, the law requires that it contact the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) to determine whether the subject of the report has an indicated report of child abuse and maltreatment in the SCR.  See Social Services Law § 492(3)(c)(iv).  If the subject has an indicated report on file with the SCR, the investigator should contact the agency that investigated that report to obtain information on the report.

An indicated report in the SCR may have little evidentiary value in determining whether the subject committed the acts alleged in the pending investigation.  And a prior indicated report is not by itself sufficient to establish a preponderance of the evidence that the subject committed abuse or neglect in the new case, based on the theory that the subject has a “propensity” to engage in certain conduct.  This is true even if the new alleged acts are similar to those in the indicated report.  Instead, a prior indicated report in the SCR is merely one piece of evidence that may be considered together with all other evidence discovered during an abuse or neglect investigation in determining whether the new allegations should be substantiated.  

Requesting an SCR Check and Receiving the Results of that Check 

The SCR check process consumes considerable resources both at the Justice Center and at provider agencies.  Under current practice, the investigator or an authorized person completes the SCR Check Request form for each identified subject of an allegation of abuse or neglect and submits the form to the Justice Center.  After conducting the check, the Justice Center enters the results of the SCR check in the VPCR, notifies an agency’s authorized person and/or the investigator of the result, which will include a redacted copy of any indicated report, and uploads a redacted copy of the indicated report to the VPCR. 

As of July 17, 2017, the Justice Center will institute changes to streamline the process of distributing the results of SCR checks.  Under the new process: 

  • The investigator and/or an authorized person will complete a revised SCR Check Request form for each identified subject and submit it to subjectsearches@justicecenter.ny.gov.
  • If there is no indicated report in the SCR, that result will be entered in the VPCR, but the authorized person and/or investigator will no longer be notified of the result. Thus, if the authorized person or investigator does not receive a response to the request for an SCR check, that is an indication that there is no indicated report in the SCR.
  • If there is an indicated report in the SCR, the process remains the same:
    • The Justice Center will notify the authorized person and/or investigator of the result by email, which will include a copy of the redacted indicated report, and will upload a copy of the report to the VPCR.
    • The investigator must then contact all known agencies that investigated such previous report(s) to obtain the information contained in such report(s).  
  • Information contained in the indicated report, and any other information about that report, should be included in the investigation file in the VPCR, but does not need to be referenced in the narrative report unless deemed relevant to the findings.  And, as noted about, the prior indicated report is not itself proof that the subject committed the acts alleged in the report to the Justice Center.  It is merely one piece of evidence that may be considered, along with other evidence, in determining whether the abuse or neglect allegations that are the subject of the new investigation should be substantiated or unsubstantiated.

If an Investigator or Authorized Person has any questions about the result of a request for an SCR check in any particular case, he or she may contact the Justice Center at: subjectsearches@justicecenter.ny.gov.

Access the SCR Check form