Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - District of Columbia

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-1302.03

The staff that maintains the child protection register shall release only that information that is necessary for the purpose of the request and that does not violate the confidentiality of the persons identified in the report except as is necessary.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 4-1302.03; 4-1302.04

The staff that maintains the child protection register shall grant access to information contained in the register only to the following persons:

  • Police officers for the purpose of investigating a report
  • The corporation counsel or the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia for investigating and prosecuting cases of alleged child abuse or neglect
  • The personnel of the Child and Family Services Agency and the Social Services Agency of the Superior Court for investigating a report or providing services to a family or child who is the subject of a report
  • The guardian ad litem of a child who is the subject of a report
  • Each person identified in a report as a person responsible for the neglect of the child or that person's attorney
  • The parent, guardian, custodian, or attorney of the child who is the subject of the report
  • A licensed child-placing agency for checking a proposed foster care or adoptive placement for a report of abuse or neglect
  • The Child Fatality Review Committee
  • Any member of a multidisciplinary investigation team
  • Another jurisdiction if the following conditions are met:
    • That jurisdiction has comparable safeguards for ensuring the confidentiality of information regarding persons identified in the report and for withholding the identity of the source of the report.
    • The staff obtains permission for the release of the information from each person identified in the report and from the source of the report.
  • Medical professionals for the purpose of obtaining a diagnosis of the child who is the subject of the report
  • The Violence Fatality Review Committee for the purpose of examining past events and circumstances surrounding homicides and suicides
  • The Office of the Ombudsperson for Children
  • Researchers for research and evaluation

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-1303.32

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a disclosing official shall, upon written request by any person and may upon his or her own initiative, disclose to the public the findings and information related to a child fatality or near fatality except as provided below.

This subsection shall not apply to the disclosure of any portion of the findings or information if disclosure of that portion would likely do any of the following:

  • Endanger the life, physical safety, or physical or emotional well-being of the child who is the subject of the report, a sibling of the child, or a child who has shared the same household as the child
  • Endanger the life or physical safety of any person
  • Interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation or proceeding pertaining to the child fatality or near fatality
  • Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication
  • Disclose the identity of the reporter of the abuse or any confidential law enforcement source in a criminal proceeding pertaining to the child fatality or near fatality
  • Disclose the identity of a birth parent of a child, if the child has been adopted and there has been no contact between the child and the birth parent immediately prior to the fatality or near fatality
  • Disclose personal or private information

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-1302.03

The staff that maintains the Child Protection Register shall grant access to substantiated reports to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for the purpose of conducting background checks of employees of licensed child development facilities and to the chief executive officers or directors of child development facilities, schools, or any public or private organizations working directly with children, for the purpose of making employment decisions regarding employees and volunteers or prospective employees and volunteers if the following conditions are met:

  • The request is made in writing and clearly articulates the basis for the request.
  • The request is accompanied by a notarized consent for release of information from the Child Protection Register signed by the employee or volunteer or prospective employee or volunteer.

Information provided pursuant to this subsection shall be limited to information pertaining to the nature and disposition of the report of abuse or neglect and shall not include any identifying information regarding any person other than the employee or volunteer or prospective employee or volunteer.

The agency shall not release any information pursuant to this subsection pertaining to a substantiated report that was received prior to October 19, 2002.