The Georgia Child Abuse Registry is finally gone. After undergoing substantial changes on January 1, 2020, the legislature, at the end of June, voted to repeal the child abuse registry and Governor Kemp signed it into law. This IS NOT the sex offender registry, but yet a different government list (the government loves lists).
Initially, the primary issue with the child abuse registry was that the government placed people on this list without the chance for a hearing or anything. Only then could the person appeal that decision, but they only had ten days.
DFCS was the agency that placed people on this registry and oftentimes they did so with impunity, placing people on the registry who had no business being there (for example, if a DFCS worker thought you shouldn’t spank your kid then they could place you on the registry and if you didn’t appeal within ten days then you were out of luck). Even if you did file the appeal in time, the DFCS lawyers, oftentimes, would make excuses in typical government fashion about how they had no discretion to do the right thing and help remove someone from the list. They always said “they didn’t have discretion” although I suspect they didn’t want to lose the government contract.
This list was not accessible to the public and was only a few years old, but I am thrilled it is gone before it became an institution. The repeal of the registry probably had more to do with budgetary cuts than good public policy, but the end result is good nonetheless.
As far as the General Assembly goes, not one single representative or senator voted against the repeal. This is a small win for personal liberty, but Big Brother at least blinked this time.
J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC