Child Abuse Central Index
The Attorney General administers the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), which was created by the Legislature in 1965 as a tool for state and local agencies to help protect the health and safety of California's children. Defined in Penal Code (PC) sections 11164 through 11174.31, these statutes are referred to as the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA).
Each year, child abuse investigations are reported to the CACI. These reports pertain to investigations that substantiated physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental/emotional abuse, and/or severe neglect of a child. The reports are submitted by county child welfare services and probation departments.
The information in the Index is available to aid law enforcement investigations, prosecutions, and to provide notification of new child abuse investigation reports involving the same suspects and/or victims. Information also is provided to designated social welfare agencies to help screen applicants for licensing or employment in child care facilities and foster homes, and to aid in background checks for other possible child placements, and adoptions. Dissemination of CACI information is restricted and controlled by statute.
Information on file in the Child Abuse Central Index include:
- Names and personal descriptors of the suspects and victims listed on reports;
- Reporting agency that investigated the incident;
- The name and/or number assigned to the case by the investigating agency; and
- Type(s) of abuse investigated
It is important to note that the effectiveness of the index is only as good as the quality of the information reported. Each county child welfare or probation department that submits a report of substantiated child abuse or severe neglect is responsible for the accuracy, completeness and retention of the original reports. The CACI serves as a “pointer” back to the original submitting agency.