Challenging A Substantiation

The information below is for people who have been substantiated for child abuse and neglect in Vermont.

May I challenge a substantiation?

If you were substantiated before September 1, 2007: 

You are listed on the Registry, and may request a review to challenge the substantiation at any time.

If you were substantiated on or after September 1, 2007: 

You'll have the opportunity to request a review to challenge the substantiation before your name is placed on the Registry.  DCF will send you a letter informing you about:

  • Our intent to add your name to the Child Protection Registry1 AND
  • Your right to request a review within 14 days of when the letter was mailed

What if I don’t request a review?

If you don’t request a review within the time allowed, your name will be added to the Registry, the department’s decision will be final, and you’ll have no further right of review2. If you already have a registry record, it will remain.

What happens if I request a review of a substantiation?

The review will be conducted by an independent reviewer. Before it takes place, you will be provided:

  • The time and place of the review
  • The review procedures, including ways you can submit information you’d like the reviewer to consider
  • Copies of investigative documents as authorized by law

What happens after the review?

You’ll be notified of the decision.  The reviewer may:

  • Reject or overturn the substantiation
  • Uphold the substantiation OR
  • Place it on hold and direct DCF to investigate further

What happens if the reviewer upholds the substantiation?

  1. Your record will be immediately added to the Registry (if you already have one, it will remain)
  2. You may appeal the decision to the Human Services Board

Is a registry record permanent?

You may request a review to have your registry record expunged (removed) after it has been listed a certain number of years depending on when it was added to the Registry.  Learn more.

What if I have questions?

If you have questions about challenging a substantiation, call (802) 241-2321.


1.The Commissioner has the right to immediately enter a person's name into the Registry in cases involving sexual abuse or serious physical abuse.

2.The Commissioner may grant a waiver and permit a review beyond the given time for “good cause”. This may include an acquittal or dismissal of a criminal charge arising from the incident of abuse or neglect.