Sharing confidential information Who DFCS can tell
Their records are Locked up tighter than Fort Knox, but I will see what I can do! DFCS won’t tell me anything, can you help ?
O.C.G.A. 49-5-40(b) “Each and every record concerning reports of child abuse and child controlled substance or marijuana abuse which is in the custody of the department or other state or local agency is declared to be confidential”.
Child abuse and neglect records include: • Child protective Services records • Foster care records on the child Child abuse and neglect records do not include: • Foster home records Statistical Information
O.C.G.A. Section 49-5-41 is broken up into five sections. a. Who the Department is required to share information with b. Research c. Who the Department may share information with in its discretion d.Individuals or agencies who are providing foster care services to a child e. Child abuse and neglect records applicable to a deceased child
A legally mandated, public or private, child protective agency of this state or any other state. The Department can only share information if: The agency is bound by similar confidentiality provisions. The agency is investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse or is treating a family that is the subject of a report or record.
A Court The Department must provide records to a court if: The court has issued a subpoena based on a finding that the records are necessary for determination of an issue before the court
A grand jury Records must be shared with a grand jury if: It has issued a subpoena based on its determination that access to the record is necessary in the conduct of its official business.
A district attorney of any judicial circuit in this state or any assistant district attorney who may seek such access in connection with official duty
A mandated reporter who makes a report of suspected child abuse or neglect under the mandated reporter statute (O.C.G.A. 19-7-5) • The information is limited to: • Whether the investigation by the Department is completed or ongoing. • If the investigation is completed, whether abuse was confirmed or unconfirmed (substantiated or unsubstantiated) Note: The information can only be shared with the person making the report.
Any adult requesting information regarding investigations by the department or a governmental child protective agency regarding a deceased child. The individual requesting the information must specify the identity of the child. Access to information is limited to whether the investigation is completed or ongoing, and if completed, whether child abuse was substantiated or unsubstantiated.
The State Personnel Board An administrative law judge must issue a subpoena upon its finding that the record is necessary for determination of an issue involving a personnel matter. The personnel issue must be related to the employees conduct in a child related employment activity. Only records that are relevant to the child related employment activities can be provided The name of the reporter or client shall not be identified or entered on the record
A child advocacy center which is certified by a county child abuse protocol committee of the county which is operated for the purpose of investigation of known or suspected child abuse and treatment of a child or a family which is the subject of a report of abuse, and which has been created and supported through one or more intra community compacts between such advocacy center and one or more police agencies, the office of the district attorney, a legally mandated public or private child protective agency, a mental health board, and a community health service board.
Police or any other law enforcement agency of this state or any other state or any medical examiner or coroner investigating a report of known or suspected abuse or any child abuse protocol committee.
The Governor, the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives when such officer makes a written request to the commissioner of the department which: Specifies the name of the child for which such access is sought, and Which describes such officer’s need to have access to such records in order to determine whether the laws of this state are being complied with.
Office of the child advocate The child advocate shall have the right to have access to all records and files of the Division concerning or relating to a child, ...including the right to inspect, copy and subpoena records.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 49-5-41 (b) an individual can petition their local juvenile court for access to child abuse and neglect records when the individual is engaged in legitimate research for educational, scientific, or public purposes. The juvenile court must conduct a hearing on the petition The applicant must describe the research project, the records being sought, and the methodology the researcher will use to assure that information is not arbitrarily sought. The names and identifying information about clients must be removed from the record unless the court determines that having such information is essential to the research project and the clients permission must be obtained before the records are provided to the researcher.
A physician If the physician has a child before him who he reasonably suspects may be abused.
A licensed child-placing agency, a licensed child-caring institution of this state which is assisting the Department of Human Resources by locating or providing foster or adoptive homes for children in the custody of the department, or An investigator appointed by a court to investigate a pending petition for adoption.
A person legally authorized to place a child in protective custody when such person has before him a child he reasonably suspects may be abused and such person requires the information in the record or report in order to determine whether to place the child in protective custody.
An agency or person having the legal custody, responsibility or authorization to care for, treat, or supervise the child who is the subject of a report or record.
An agency, facility, or person having responsibility or authorization to assist in making a judicial determination for the child who is the subject of the report or record of child abuse
A legally mandated public child protective agency or law enforcement agency of another state that: 1.Is Bound by similar confidentiality provisions and requirements, and 2.Is assisting the Department in locating an alleged abuser who has left the state while the department was investigating a report of child abuse.
A child welfare agency or school where the department has investigated allegations of child abuse made against any employee of such agency or school and any child remains at risk from exposure to that employee, except that such access or release shall protect the identity of: Any person reporting child abuse Any other person whose life or safety has been determined by the department or agency likely to be endangered if the identity were not so protected
An employee of a school or employee of a child welfare agency, against whom allegations of child abuse have been made, when the department has been unable to determine the extent of the employee’s involvement in alleged child abuse against any child in the care of that school or agency. The Department can share its investigative findings with the school or child welfare agency if the employee signs a release.
Any person with an on-going relationship with a child named in an abuse or neglect report or record provided that the person was a mandated reporter on January 1, 1990 Physicians, interns or residents Hospitals and all medical personnel Dentists Licensed psychologist and all persons participating in internships for this license RNs, LPNs School teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, administrators Child welfare agency personnel Law enforcement personnel.
Any school principal or any school guidance counselor, school social worker, or school psychologist who is certified and who is counseling a student as a part of such counseling person’s school employment duties.
The Office of School Readiness or the Department of Education, Division of School Readiness
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 49-5-41(d) Foster parents, child caring agencies and child placing agencies shall have reasonable access to non identifying information from the placement or child protective services record, on a child that has been placed in the care or custody of such foster parent or agency or for whom foster care is being sought.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. Section 49-5-41(e) child abuse and deprivation records applicable to a child who at the time of his or her death was: • In the Custody of a state department or agency or foster parent. • A child that received protective services from the agency, or whose siblings, parents or caretakers received services from the Department, provided that the request for records is made within five years of the child’s death. • The subject of an investigation, report, referral, or complaint being handled by the Office of the Child advocate.
An individual who unlawfully discloses information from a child abuse or neglect record shall be guilty of a misdemeanor
Child abuse and neglect records or information contained therein can not be made a part of any record which is open to the public Exception: A district attorney may use and make public the record or information from the record in the course of any criminal prosecution for any offense which constitutes or results from child abuse.
A California Children and Family Services worker investigating a sexual abuse case involving a child who was once the subject of a DFCS child abuse investigation
State Senator T. Williams
A District Attorney trying a child molestation case
A School Social Worker
A Florida Police Officer
A grandmother has not seen her grandchild in three months. She heard that DFCS has an open CPS case on the family. She is concerned about the child’s well-being and would like to know the status of the investigation. The child is not in DFCS custody.
A pediatrician has a new patient with a broken arm. She can not tell the cause of the injury and would like to know if DFCS has any history on the family that would help her with her medical assessment