110 CMR 10.08 - Fair Hearing Processes

(1) Appellant's Initiation of a Fair Hearing.
(a) to initiate an appeal, the Appellant shall file a written request for a Fair Hearing with the Hearing Office of the Department within 30 calendar days from the decision complained of or, if notice of such decision is required under the Department regulations, policy or procedures, then 30 calendar days from receipt of such written notice.
(b) the Appellant is encouraged to use the form provided by the Department's Hearing Office to request a Fair Hearing, but a request which contains the following information is sufficient: the name, address, and telephone number of the Appellant, the date the alleged action occurred, the name and address of the office which made the decision being appealed, the decision being appealed, and a request for review of the decision. The Appellant must provide a copy of the request to the Director of Areas of the office where the challenged decision was made.
(2) The Director of Areas Response. The Director of Areas or the designee of the office where the challenged decision was made,
(a) shall have 15 business days from receipt of a request for a Fair Hearing, or from the completion of an assessment following an initial support decision, whichever is later, to review the request for a Fair Hearing and the decision upon which it is based;
(b) may, at his or her sole discretion, hold a meeting with the Appellant prior to the Fair Hearing in order to resolve disputes and to clarify issues, with the goal of reaching an agreement which would dispose of the need for, or limit the issues to be resolved at the Fair Hearing;
(c) shall have the authority to reverse the underlying decision that is the basis for the Fair Hearing request, thereby nullifying the need for a Fair Hearing.
(3) Referral to the Clinical Review Team.
(a) the Director of Areas or designee may refer the decision to the Clinical Review Team within the 15 day Review Period if he or she declines to reverse the decision pursuant to 110 CMR 10.08(2)(c): and
1. the decision involves: the removal of a child from a Foster home or Pre-adoptive home; a mandatory referral to the District Attorney, or a change to Foster Care Review goal determination; or
2. any other type of decision that the Director determines should be referred to the Clinical Review Team.
(b) the referral should be made during the 15 day review period, prior to the scheduled date of the Fair Hearing and after the completion of an assessment following an initial support decision.
(c) the Director of Areas or designee shall be a member of the Clinical Review Team.
(d) in considering a determination to list a person on the Registry of Alleged Perpetrators the Clinical Review Team will consider the underlying support decision.
(e) the Clinical Review Team shall, within ten calendar days issue written findings.
1. the Clinical Review Team shall have authority to support the decision, reverse the decision, or remand the action to the area office for the purposes of gathering further information;
2. if the Clinical Review Team recommends that a decision be reversed over the objection of the Director of Areas, the matter will be resolved by the Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations within 15 business days;
3. the written report of the Clinical Review team may be admitted as evidence in the Fair Hearing.
(f) the Director of Areas or designee shall notify the Fair Hearing Office of the determination to support the challenged decision, to reverse the decision or to remand to the area office for additional information. If the determination is to reverse or remand the decision, the Director of Areas or designee shall notify the Appellant of the determination.
(g) the Director of Areas or designee, a member of the Clinical Review Team or a Regional Director shall not review any matter in which he or she has or has had any direct or indirect personal interest, involvement, or bias. In the event that the Director of Areas or designee is unable to review the matter due to the reasons stated above, the Regional Director shall review the matter. In the event that the Regional Director is unable to review the matter due to the reasons stated above, the Deputy Commissioner for Field Operations shall review the matter.
(4) The Director of Areas of the office which made the initial decision may review the decision and reverse it even if the decision has not been challenged by the client. If the reversal involves a support decision, any determination to list a specific person(s) on the Registry of Alleged Perpetrator that arises from the same incident shall also be reversed and the Department's records shall be adjusted to remove the person's name from the Registry of Alleged Perpetrators. All decisions which are reversed as a result of actions taken by a Director of Areas or designee or by the Clinical Review Team pursuant to 110 CMR 10.08(2) or (3) shall be documented by the Area Office which vacated the underlying decision.

Notes

110 CMR 10.08

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