Questions about the constitutionality of Missouri’s child abuse and neglect registry have apparently been addressed by the Legislature, at least for now. Four individuals placed on the child abuse registry sued the state. A circuit court found no evidence of abuse and removed their names. The court also found the state registry law unconstitutional. The Department of Social Services appealed to the State Supreme Court, which reversed the decision, because the Legislature changed the law this year. Social Services Department General Counsel Harry Williams says the Legislature moved to raise the standard to be placed on the registry from probable cause to a preponderance of evidence. Williams says House Bill 1453 addresses the main issue: that those accused of child abuse have sufficient due process before their names land on the registry. The Department of Social Services didn’t fight to keep the four names on the list. It only appealed the court’s ruling that the registry violated the constitution.
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