Findings and Appeals

At the conclusion of a CPS investigation, the caseworker will determine whether allegations of abuse and/or neglect are unsubstantiated, indicated, or substantiated. The definitions of unsubstantiated, indicated, and substantiated, as well as the definition of the specific finding types are located in Child Welfare Policy (IV. D-1. Child Abuse and Neglect Findings). 

The specific finding types are:

  • Substantiated Emotional Abuse
  • Indicated Emotional abuse
  • Substantiated Neglect
  • Indicated Neglect
  • Substantiated Physical Abuse
  • Indicated Physical Abuse
  • Substantiated Sexual Abuse

If a finding is made against you the caseworker will send you a letter notifying you of the finding.

What happens next if I am substantiated as a perpetrator of abuse and/or neglect, or I am indicated in a case of abuse and/or neglect? 

We will keep information regarding the finding in our records and may use that information in the future, if there are other reports of alleged child abuse and/or neglect.

Can the Department give out information about my case? 

In certain circumstances OCFS can give out information about your case. If you are substantiated as a perpetrator of abuse and/or neglect, we can provide information to your current or future employer regarding the finding:

  • Substantiated findings of abuse and/or neglect will be reported during child protective background checks.
  • Substantiated findings of abuse and/or neglect can be grounds for firing, or prevent you from being employed in a field where you may work directly with children.
  • Substantiated findings of abuse and/or neglect can also jeopardize, or prevent you from obtaining, licenses or certifications related to working with children or child welfare (including resource parent license).
  • The information may also be used as evidence in other legal proceedings, such as court cases.

If you were indicated in a case of abuse and/or neglect your case information will be kept on record but will not be shared in response to a child protective background check.

Can I appeal the finding decision? 

If you do not agree with the decision you have the right to appeal.

  • Your appeal may be delayed if there is any current court related activity.
  • Appeals must be filed within 30 days of receiving the letter notifying you of the finding. 

How do I file an appeal?

There will be a form attached to the letter notifying you of the finding that you can use to request the paper review.

Along with the paper review request form, you, or an attorney who represents you, must write a letter describing the reasons you are requesting a paper review. This letter should include any information you think could help your case.

The paper-review request form and letter should be sent by mail to:

            Substantiation Reviews
            Department of Health and Human Services
            11 State House Station
            Augusta, ME 04333-0011

When a request for a paper review is received, staff will review the file and any new information provided.

  • You do not have the right to be present for the paper review.
  • The paper review will be denied if there is a pending legal case related to the finding (including a child protective court case, a protection from abuse action, or criminal court case).

When the paper review has been completed you will receive a letter stating the outcome of the review.

  • If the finding is overturned that is the end of the appeals process.
  • If the finding is indicated and upheld that is the end of the appeals process.
  • If the finding is substantiated and upheld you are eligible for a hearing which may be requested by following the directions in the letter sent to you notifying you of the upheld substantiation. 

Where can I learn more about findings and the appeals process?