Our client, a hard-working father of two children, was investigated by San Mateo’s Children and Family Services Agency.  His son appeared at school with a small bruise to his forehead. The night before, the child became upset, knocked over a mirror, and began scratching and hitting himself in the face.

His father disciplined his five-year old son for hurting himself, but in the course of hitting his child’s posterior, the child turned around quickly and was hit accidentally on the head. The father was sorry that he struck his son on the forehead and said as much to the investigator from Children and Family Services. Nevertheless, the agency substantiated a finding of child abuse against him and added his name to the database.  The father and mother were afraid that this finding would adversely affect his job prospects.

Asit Panwala appealed on his behalf, filed a brief in support of his motion and elicited testimony at a grievance hearing.  His client prevailed after the department reversed the findings and changed them to inconclusive.