Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Delaware

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 16, §§ 902; 906

The investigation coordinator is a licensed attorney employed by the Office of the Child Advocate who is authorized to independently track each reported case of alleged child abuse or neglect within the internal information system of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. The investigation coordinator is responsible for monitoring each reported case involving the death, serious physical injury, or allegations of sexual abuse of a child from inception to final criminal and civil disposition.

All information and records received, prepared, or maintained by the investigation coordinator or the investigation coordinator's staff are confidential and shall be exempt from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, title 29, chapter 100.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 16, §§ 906; 909(c)

In implementing the investigation coordinator's role in the child protection system, the investigation coordinator or the investigation coordinator's staff shall monitor each case involving the death, serious physical injury, or allegations of sexual abuse of a child from inception to final criminal and civil disposition and provide information as requested on the status of each case to the Division of Family Services, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, the Delaware Department of Justice, the Children's Advocacy Center, and the Office of Child Advocate.

The disclosure of case specific data and information to the multidisciplinary team is authorized to ensure a comprehensive, integrated, and multidisciplinary response to child abuse cases.

A person required to report to the department under § 903 of this title shall be informed by the department of the person's right to obtain information concerning the disposition of the report. Such person shall receive, from the local office, if requested, information on the general disposition of the report at the conclusion of the investigation.

To protect the privacy of the family and the child named in a report, the department shall establish guidelines concerning the disclosure of information concerning the abuse and neglect involving a child. The department may require persons to make written requests for access to records maintained by the department. The department shall only release information to persons who have a legitimate public safety need for such information or a need based on the health and safety of a child subject to abuse, neglect, or the risk of maltreatment, and such information shall be used only for the purpose for which the information is released.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 16, §§ 906; 932(4)

The investigation coordinator shall do the following:

  • Report every case involving the death or near death of a child due to abuse or neglect to the Child Protection Accountability Commission (CPAC) and every case involving the death of a child to the Child Death Review Commission
  • Provide information to CPAC, as requested by CPAC, regarding the status, trends, and outcomes of any case or cases of child abuse or neglect that are reported to the department

Reports to CPAC shall not disclose the identities of the child, alleged perpetrators, or others involved in the case or cases.

The department shall ensure that every case involving the death or near death of a child due to abuse or neglect is reported to CPAC and every case involving the death of a child to the Child Death Review Commission.

CPAC shall release to the public summary information and findings resulting from reviews of child deaths and near deaths due to abuse and neglect as required by 42 U.S.C. § 5106a(b)(2)(B). CPAC may release summary information and findings only upon completion of the prosecution.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 16, § 906

Within 5 business days of the receipt of a report concerning allegations of child abuse or neglect by a person known to be licensed or certified by a Delaware agency or professional regulatory organization, the investigation coordinator shall forward a report of such allegations to the appropriate Delaware agency or professional regulatory organization.

The department shall ensure that all cases involving allegations of child abuse or neglect by a person known to be licensed or certified by a Delaware agency or professional regulatory organization have been reported to the appropriate Delaware agency or professional regulatory organization and the investigation coordinator in accordance with the provisions of this section.