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What's the CACI?


The Child Abuse Central Index, also called the CACI, is a publicly-accessible database housing the information of known convicted child abusers. Typically, registration on the CACI is permanent. It also lists individuals suspected of emotional abuse or neglect, physical abuse or neglect, or sexual abuse or neglect of an underage person. This list is to ensure the safety of children and the public when convicted abusers return to regular society.

In some situations, an individual may find that they have been registered on the CACI after facing child abuse charges. Registration on the CACI can make it impossible for such individuals to pursue or continue working in education or child care. If you’ve been wrongfully accused or convicted of child abuse, it’s imperative that you understand your rights and your legal options for having your name removed from the CACI.

How Will the CACI Affect My Life?

When you’re registered on the CACI, you may find it incredibly difficult to secure employment, you’re barred from volunteer work, and the custody of your own children may be jeopardized.

In the case that you’ve been registered on the CACI and your sibling left their child or children to you as their designated guardian, the directing power of the will is rendered void. Anyone listed on the CACI has the right to petition for the removal of his or her name from the CACI through a grievance hearing.


There are three main classifications of a child abuse report:

  • The claim has been found to be false through investigation. This may include determining improbability of the incident, the injury in question was found to be the result of an accident, or the claims don’t constitute child abuse under California state law.
  • A substantiated report means the claim has been investigated and the investigator assigned to the case determined that child abuse did, in fact, take place.
  • The investigator couldn’t affirmatively determine that child abuse took place, or that the claims made against the accused were truthful. This may also include cases with insufficient evidence.


A Grievance Hearing

If you are innocent and you want your name expunged from the CACI, a Grievance Hearing is your chance to contest the placement of your name on the CACI.

The hearing will consist of a Hearing Officer or a panel of Hearing Officers. Usually, a county employee will represent the county in presenting the case against you; a social worker who investigated the situation may testify as a witness. After the hearing, the Hearing Officer will present his or her conclusion to the county Director, who will then make the ultimate decision.

A CACI Grievance Hearing is similar to a trial, but it does not include a jury. If you are in a court trial because you are charged with child abuse, you have the right to a 12-person jury. A CACI Grievance Hearing, while like a mini-trial, does not have 12 jurors, but rather only one person who will decide the result of your hearing. If this one person does not believe you, he or she has the power to keep your name on CACI. Because you will be appealing to the government who already decided to place your name on the CACI, your chances of winning are slim; this is why it is important to enlist the help of a child abuse defense lawyer. You do not have to represent yourself alone.

The CACI exists to keep the public informed about potentially dangerous individuals and to prevent those individuals who have proven to be dangerous to children from having access to future victims. However, many child abuse claims are provably false and filed out of spite, anger, or some other ulterior motive.

When a person files false child abuse claims against another person, he or she could potentially destroy that person’s reputation, career, and life in general. Additionally, false claims deter law enforcement and the judicial system from pursuing real child abusers. If someone files a child abuse claim against you and you’ve done nothing wrong, connect with a child abuse defense attorney as soon as possible.

Even if, after a Grievance Hearing, your name remains on the CACI, the ways in which a lawyer can help do not end there. The California Code of Regulations, Title 11, Section 908 deems that “An entity receiving CACI information shall not act solely upon CACI information or the fact that an individual is listed on CACI to grant or deny any benefit or right.” A lawyer can help channel the consequences during these decision-making processes.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to be convicted of child abuse for your name to appear on the CACI. In the state of California, if the charges against you are substantiated in any way, a report is submitted to the California Department of Justice, and your information is entered into the CACI. Employers and various other agencies use the CACI to perform background checks on employees and potential new hires.

How long will your name remain on the CACI?

California State Law prohibits listings in the CACI that are unfounded.1 If the abuse allegations were substantiated, and are not successfully appealed, your name will stay on the CACI until your 100th birthday.2

The CACI also lists the names of victims of child abuse. If a child’s name is listed on the CACI only once before the age of 18, without consecutive listings, the name will be omitted from the CACI 10 years after the occurrence that led to the listing.3


Finding out your name is listed on the CACI can be extremely distressing if you know the charges against you are either false or erroneous. If you are innocent and your name has been listed in the CACI in error, you shouldn’t have to live with the unwarranted consequences and stigma. A lawyer can help you navigate the grievance process and work toward having your name removed from the CACI. Don’t let your unwarranted registration on the CACI affect the rest of your life – talk to a child abuse defense lawyer as soon as possible.

3 Ibid.