Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Alaska

Date: February 2022

Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Alaska Stat. §§ 47.17.040; 47.10.093

Investigation reports and reports of harm filed under this chapter are considered confidential and are not subject to public inspection and copying.

Except as permitted in this section and § 47.10.092, all information and social records pertaining to a child who is subject to this chapter or chapter 47.17 prepared by or in the possession of a Federal, State, or municipal agency or employee in the discharge of the agency's or employee's official duty are privileged and may not be disclosed directly or indirectly to anyone without a court order.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.10.093

An agency or employee shall disclose appropriate confidential information regarding a case to the following:

  • A guardian ad litem
  • A person or agency requested by the Department of Health and Social Services or the child's custodian to provide consultation or services for a child
  • An out-of-home care provider as necessary to enable the provider to provide appropriate care to the child
  • A school official as necessary to enable the school to provide appropriate counseling and support services to a child who is the subject of the case
  • A government agency as necessary to obtain that agency's assistance to the department in its investigation or to obtain physical custody of a child
  • A law enforcement agency of this or another jurisdiction as necessary for the protection of any child
  • A member of a multidisciplinary child protection team
  • The State medical examiner
  • A person who made a report of harm to inform the person that the investigation was completed and of action taken to protect the child who was the subject of the report
  • The child support services agency as necessary to establish and collect child support
  • A parent, guardian, or caregiver of a child as necessary to protect the safety of a child
  • A review panel established by the department for reviewing the actions taken by the department in a specific case
  • The University of Alaska under the Alaska higher education savings program for children but only to the extent that the information is necessary to support the program
  • A licensed child-placing agency as necessary to provide services for a child
  • A State or municipal agency of this or another jurisdiction that is responsible for delinquent minors, as may be necessary for the administration of services for a child
  • A sibling of a child who is the subject of the case to allow the siblings to contact each other if it is in the best interests of the child to maintain contact

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.10.093

The Commissioner of Health and Social Services or his or her designee may disclose to the public, upon request, confidential information when the following apply:

  • The parent or guardian of a child who is the subject of one or more reports of harm under chapter 47.17 has made a public disclosure concerning the department's involvement with the family.
  • The alleged perpetrator named in one or more reports of harm has been charged with a crime concerning the alleged abuse or neglect.
  • Abuse or neglect has resulted in the fatality or near fatality of a child who is the subject of one or more reports of harm.

The department may publicly disclose information pertaining to a child or an alleged perpetrator named in a report of harm, a household member of the child, or the alleged perpetrator if the information relates to a determination, if any, made by the department regarding the nature and validity of a report of harm or to the department's activities arising from the department's investigation of the report. The commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall do the following:

  • Withhold disclosure of the child's name, picture, or other information that would readily lead to the identification of the child if the department determines that the disclosure would be contrary to the best interests of the child, the child's siblings, or other children in the child's household
  • After consultation with a prosecuting attorney, withhold disclosure of information that would reasonably be expected to interfere with a criminal investigation or proceeding or a criminal defendant's right to a fair trial in a criminal proceeding

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.17.040

In accordance with department regulations, investigation reports, including substantiated findings, may be used by appropriate governmental agencies in conjunction with a licensing action under chapter 47.32 or a similar statute in another State.

Before a substantiated finding may be placed on the child protection registry and provided as part of a civil history check, the department shall provide the applicant notice of the finding and an opportunity to appeal the finding.

The term 'governmental agency' includes a Tribe or Tribal organization conducting child protection functions and a school district.