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Lawyer providing representation to New York Day Care facilities in OCFS revocation/ suspension matters and ACS cases

Lawyer providing representation to New York Day Care facilities in OCFS revocation/ suspension matters and ACS cases
As a highly regulated  small business owner I realize the need to protect one’s license at all costs.  In my twenty years of practicing law I have successfully represented multiple Day Care facilities in license revocation and suspension proceedings.  I represent these facilities in hearings with the Office of Children’s and Family Services in front of an Administrative Law Judge and appeal decisions made in these hearings in Article 78 proceedings. I also represent Day Care providers accused of abuse or neglect by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). An abuse or neglect finding by ACS against a facility can lead to that business being shut down.

 

Day Care Revocation and Suspension Defense

 

As a New York Day Care license revocation and suspension attorney I will fight for you to keep your license and your livelihood. The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is authorized by statute and regulation with the supervision of providers. Sometimes OCFS wrongfully accuses a facility of violating a regulation or imposes a penalty against a provider that is far too harsh. I am fully familiar with the law that applies to to suspension and revocation hearings.  

 

The Law 

 

The Court will determine if the agency, in this case OCFS, at the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, made its decision based upon substantial evidence, which is met by the existence of some credible evidence.  If a violation by the Day Care of the law is found, OCFS has the authority to temporarily suspend a facility’s registration without a hearing based on “a finding that the public health, or an individual's safety or welfare, are in imminent danger” (Social Services Law § 390[10] ). On the other hand, “[a]ny violation of applicable statutes or regulations shall be a basis to deny, limit, suspend, revoke, or terminate a license or registration” (Social Services Law § 390[10] ).

 

In the event a Day Care license is suspended or revoked an administrative determination will only be set aside “if the measure of punishment or discipline imposed is so disproportionate to the offense, in the light of all the circumstances, as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness.”

 

Oftentimes, violations of the New York Code are easy to prove by OCFS because they are self explanatory. Other times there may be a technicality that can be used to show that a violation indeed did not occur. I will analyze the offenses against you and see if are any technicalities you can win on. 

 

Fighting Revocation even if you violated the law

 

Perhaps the most important question that pops up on appeals is whether the penalty of revocation is fair and proportionate if a violation of the law is found. 

 

It is important to hire an experienced attorney like myself to create a narrative around the “fair and proportionate” issue because it can be the difference between you staying in business or not.  In my experience I have settled cases without the need for a hearing by showing that the penalty of revocation is unfair and that the more appropriate penalty would be a fine.  The fine can’t be disproportionate to the offense as well and in some circumstances a fine may not be justified even if there was a violation of the law.

 

In the Matter of Katrese LEWIS the Facility was found to have violated the regulation requiring continuous supervision of children. In this case there was no doubt that the Facility violated the regulation but there were mitigating circumstances. Here the children were supposed to be picked up from school by one of the facility’s approved providers but because of a family emergency was unable to meet the children, ages 13 and 11.  The children walked to the home of the provider and were left there unattended.  Despite this the provider maintained constant contact with the children by text and arranged to have the children picked up by a friend. The provider had no prior violations in seven years of operation. Here the it was found that the penalty of revocation was disproportionate and shocked the conscious because although a statute was violated there where extenuating circumstances. Furthermore the children were never in danger.

 

As you can see it is important to show mitigating factors and extenuating circumstances to avoid the harsh penalty of revocation even if you have violated the law. I have successfully done this on behalf of many clients in my twenty years of practice as a New York Day Care License Revocation attorney. I create a narrative that puts the Facility in the best light, through showing that the penalty imposed is grave (for many a loss of income) in the context of what was done by the Facility. 

 

ACS DEFENSE

 

When a Day Care owner is accused of abuse or neglect, the owner can be prevented from working with children for many years.  This can result in the closing of a facility taking away one’s precious livelihood. The false allegations of abuse or neglect can come from a disgruntled parent or you may have just made a mistake.  Either way I will fight to clear your name.

 

As an ACS Defense Attorney I have twenty years experience in representing Day Care centers.  If ACS is knocking on your door it would be wise to give my office a call.

 

When an anonymous complaint comes in to the SCR alleging you abused or neglected someone, ACS under the vast majority of circumstances will start a case and initiate a 60 day investigation.  They will come to your facility and interview you and your staff and inspect the  premises. They may also interview the parents and child. They must issue a letter to you notifying you of the investigation at the beginning of the investigation. After the sixty day period, they will make their findings via a written report either saying you have been indicated or the report is unfounded. You will be entitled to a copy of this letter.

 

If you have been indicated you have 90 days to appeal the decision and request that the report be sealed. During this time you will be able to work.  

If you have been indicated and you start an appeal OCFS will conduct an administrative review of your case to determine if they can close the matter without the need for a hearing. Although this is done, OCFS doesn’t due this frequently. It is important for you to hire an New York ACS Defense lawyer like my self to present evidence on your behalf when you initially appeal the case because you chances will be better to get it dismissed before going to hearing.

 

If you go to a hearing, you will conference the case with the Administrative Law Judge and the ACS attorney. Here it will be discussed whether the case can be settled and if ACS needs any information from you to help their decision in sealing the case.  You will request a copy of your ACS file if you haven’t received it already so you can see the specifics of the charges against you.

 

If you can’t settle the matter at the conference it will be set down for a hearing. Here you will present evidence, examine and cross examine witnesses, and have an opportunity to poke holes in the ACS investigation notes. 

 

ACS will have the burden of proof going forward  and they will have to prove by the preponderance of evidence that you committed abuse or neglect. If ACS meets its burden, OCFS will retain the report and you name may be listed in the Central Registry. If you win, the case will be sealed.

 

There is an exception to your name being placed in the registry even if you were found to have committed neglect or abuse. If the Administrative Law Judge finds that the neglect you committed is not relevant or reasonably related to employment, licensure or certification in child care, foster care and adoption.  This finding will also lead to the sealing of your records. 

 

The reasonable and relevant finding can be a life savior for many in a Day Care business. Sometimes mistakes are made that may have been neglectful but the Judge may find that there are mitigating circumstances to this neglect. It is best to hire an experienced ACS Defense Attorney like myself to make the arguments as to wether the finding is relevant and reasonably related to your employment.

 

If your Day Care is facing license revocation or suspension or ACS has filed a case against you for abuse or neglect contact this office at 718-864-2011 for a free consultation.





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