Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - California

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Penal Code § 11167.5

Reports shall be confidential and may be disclosed only as provided by law.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Penal Code §§ 11167.5; 11170; 11170.5

Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect may be disclosed only to the following:

  • Persons or agencies to whom disclosure of the identity of the reporting party is permitted under § 11167
  • Persons or agencies to whom disclosure of information is permitted under § 11170(b) or § 11170.5(a)
  • Persons or agencies with whom investigations of child abuse or neglect are coordinated
  • Multidisciplinary personnel teams
  • Hospital scan teams
  • Coroners and medical examiners when conducting a postmortem examination of a child
  • The Board of Parole Hearings when parole revocation proceedings are pending against a parolee charged with child abuse or neglect
  • Personnel from an agency responsible for placing a child
  • Persons who have been listed in the Child Abuse Central Index
  • Out-of-State law enforcement agencies conducting an investigation of child abuse or neglect
  • Out-of-State agencies responsible for approving prospective foster or adoptive parents or relative caregivers for placement of a child
  • County child death review teams

Authorized persons within county health departments shall be permitted to receive copies of any reports made by health practitioners.

When a report is made, the investigating agency, upon completion of the investigation, shall inform the mandated reporter of the results of the investigation.

The Department of Justice shall make available to a law enforcement agency, county welfare department, or county probation department that is conducting a child abuse investigation relevant information contained in the index.

The department shall make available to investigative agencies, probation officers, or court investigators responsible for placing children or assessing the possible placement of children information regarding a known or suspected child abuser contained in the index concerning any adult residing in the home where the child may be placed, when this information is requested for purposes of ensuring that the placement is in the best interests of the child.

The Department of Justice shall make available to a licensed adoption agency information regarding a known or suspected child abuser maintained in the index concerning any person who has submitted to the agency an application for adoption.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Penal Code §§ 11167.5; 11170

The Department of Justice shall make information from the index available to the following:

  • Persons or agencies responsible for the licensing of facilities that care for children
  • The State Department of Social Services or any county licensing agency when an individual has applied to operate a community care facility, child daycare facility, or a certified family home or resource family home or for employment or presence in an out-of-home care facility, or when a complaint alleges child abuse or neglect by a licensee, employee, or individual approved to be present in a licensed facility, certified family home, or resource family home
  • The Department of Social Services, any county licensing agency; a county approving resource families; or a Tribal court, Tribal child welfare agency, consortium of Tribes, or Tribal organization, with regard to information about any person who is an applicant for licensure, any adult who resides or is employed in the home of an applicant for licensure, or a person who is an applicant for employment in a position having supervisorial or disciplinary power over children or who will provide 24-hour care for or children in a residential home or facility
  • A court-appointed special advocate program that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant seeking employment with the program or a volunteer position as a court-appointed special advocate
  • A Tribal agency regarding a known or suspected child abuser who is being considered as a prospective foster or adoptive parent, an adult who resides or is employed in the home of an applicant, any person who has a familial or intimate relationship with any person living in the home of an applicant, or an employee of the Tribal agency who may have contact with children
  • A government agency conducting a background investigation of an applicant seeking employment as a peace officer