The Legal Department of the Columbia County Department of Social Services employs several attorneys and support staff that represent and advise the DSS on all legal issues. The Legal Department is responsible for appearing in Court and providing advice to the Commissioner and all Units within DSS, providing legal assistance with:
Prosecuting child abuse, neglect, and termination of parental rights proceedings.
Obtaining orders to compel parents and/or children to attend services, counseling, etc., for the purpose of remediating the conditions requiring the department's intervention on the family.
Prosecuting civil and administrative proceedings relating to challenges of Medicaid eligibility determinations.
Seeking guardianship or other appropriate orders to protect vulnerable and incapacitated adults and seniors. These legal proceedings are more commonly known as "Article 81" proceedings. (referring to the New York State Mental Hygiene Law)
Defending against challenges by persons seeking to have their State Central Registry records sealed, records which indicate their maltreatment of children and which the Registry makes available to employers engaged in the childcare field, so called "expungement hearings".