(a) Hearings. All hearings scheduled by the Appeals Unit are conducted by an administrative hearing officer (AHO), who:
- (1) designates the hearing location;
- (2) administers oaths;
- (3) conducts the hearing in an orderly manner;
- (4) ensures all relevant evidence is considered; and
- (5) rules on the admissibility of evidence.
(b) Hearings are not open to the public.
- (1) In order to protect the confidential nature of case material and the relationship between the resource family and the Department of Human Services (DHS) and in order to protect the identity of children and their privacy, hearings are not open to the public.
- (2) No one other than the resource family, the authorized representative, and the DHS representative are permitted to attend the hearing, without permission of the AHO.
(c) Pre-hearing conference.
- (1) A conference may be conducted by the AHO prior to the hearing. The purpose of the pre-hearing conference is to reduce the actual amount of time spent in the hearing. In the pre-hearing conference the AHO identifies all:
- (A) witnesses;
- (B) exhibits; and
- (C) issues to be covered in the hearing.
- (2) The AHO determines if the pre-hearing conference is to be recorded. The conference may be conducted by phone.
(d) Recording the hearing.
- (1) The AHO is responsible for arranging for the hearing to be recorded. The hearing may be recorded electronically or by a certified court reporter.
- (2) The AHO's recording of the hearing is the official recording. However, the resource family or authorized representative may provide his or her own recording device for use during the hearing unless such recording is disruptive. In no case is the hearing videotaped.
- (3) Upon written request to the Appeals Unit, DHS provides the resource family or authorized representative a copy of the:
- (A) tape recording of the hearing. A transcript of the recording is provided only when required by federal or state law; or
- (B) court reporter's transcript.
(e) Order of presentation.
- (1) The AHO directs the order of presentation of evidence. • 1
- (2) When presentation of the evidence is complete, the AHO allows closing statements.