Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Indiana

Date:

Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 31-33-18-1; 31-33-26-7

Except as provided in § 31-33-18-1.5, reports made under this article and any other information obtained, reports written, or photographs taken concerning the reports that are in the possession of the Division of Family Resources, the local office, the Department of Child Services, or the Department of Child Services Ombudsman are confidential.

The department may adopt rules to ensure that the confidentiality of and access to reports of child abuse or neglect in the child abuse index are maintained as provided in this chapter.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 31-33-18-2; 31-33-18-3; 31-33-26-16

The reports and other material described in § 31-33-18-1 and records in the child abuse index shall be made available only to the following:

  • A public or private child protective agency investigating or treating a child or family that is the subject of a report
  • A police or other law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, or coroner in the case of the death of a child who is investigating a report of a child who may be a victim of child abuse or neglect
  • A physician who reasonably suspects that a child may be a victim of child abuse or neglect
  • An individual legally authorized to place a child in protective custody to determine whether to place the child in protective custody
  • An agency having the legal responsibility or authorization to care for, treat, or supervise a child who is the subject of a report
  • An individual named in the report who is alleged to be abused or neglected
  • Each parent, guardian, custodian, or other person responsible for the welfare of a child named in a report and an attorney of the person
  • A court or grand jury for determination of an issue before it
  • An appropriate State or local official responsible for the child protective service or legislation carrying out the official's appointed functions
  • The community child protection team
  • A person about whom a report has been made
  • An employee of the department, a caseworker, or a juvenile probation officer conducting a criminal history check
  • A local child fatality review team and the statewide child fatality review committee
  • The department
  • The Division of Family Resources, if a substantiated report concerns an applicant, operator, employee, or volunteer at licensed child care center
  • A citizen review panel
  • The Department of Child Services Ombudsman
  • The State secretary of education
  • The State child fatality review coordinator employed by the State Department of Health
  • A person who operates a licensed child caring institution, group home, or secure private facility, if the report concerns an employee, volunteer, or child placed at the facility
  • A person who operates a licensed child-placing agency, if all the allegations in the report concern:
    • A child placed in a foster home licensed by the child-placing agency
    • A person licensed by the agency to operate a foster family home
    • An employee of the agency or a foster family home
    • A volunteer providing services at the agency or foster family home
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • A local domestic violence fatality review team or the statewide domestic violence fatality review committee
  • The Office of Administrative Law Proceedings
  • Individuals engaged in research

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 31-33-18-1(b); 31-33-18-1.5

Except as provided below, all records held by the Division of Family Resources, a local office, the department, a local child fatality review team, the statewide child fatality review committee, or the ombudsman regarding the death of a child determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect are confidential and may not be disclosed.

Upon the request of any person, the court having jurisdiction in the county in which the child's death or near fatality occurred shall determine whether the allegations contained in the indictment, information, or complaint, if proven, would cause a reasonable person to believe that the child's death or near fatality may have been the result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

Unless, for purposes of a near fatality, a police investigation or criminal prosecution is ongoing, or information in a record is otherwise confidential under State or Federal law, a record that has been redacted to exclude identifying information is not confidential and may be disclosed to any person who requests the record.

The data and information in a record must include the following:

  • A summary of the report and a factual description of the contents
  • The child's date of birth and gender
  • The cause of the fatality or near fatality if it has been determined
  • Whether the department had any contact with the child or the child's family before the fatality or near fatality, and, if the department had contact, the following:
    • The frequency of the contact and the date of the last contact before the fatality or near fatality
    • A summary of the status of the child's case at the time of the fatality or near fatality, including whether the child's case was closed and, if the child's case was closed, the reasons that the case was closed

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 31-33-26-16

A person or an organization may have access to information contained in the child abuse index as follows:

  • A child care provider may have access to any information relating to a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect that names an employee, applicant, volunteer who would have direct contact with children, or household resident as the perpetrator of child abuse or neglect.
  • Representatives of the Division of Family Resources may have access to any information relating to a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect that would constitute a basis for denial or revocation of a license for a child care center or a child care home.
  • Representatives of the department may have access to any information relating to a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect that would constitute a basis for denial or revocation of a license for a child care institution, foster family home, group home, or child-placing agency.
  • Any representative of the department or a court having juvenile jurisdiction may have access to any information relating to a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect in connection with a determination of an appropriate out-of-home placement for a child that requires a criminal history check concerning any person.
  • The department shall provide any information contained in a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect that is included in the index to an authorized agency of another State that requests information concerning a prospective foster or adoptive parent or any other adult living in the home of a prospective foster or adoptive parent.
  • To determine the eligibility of a child care provider to receive a voucher payment, the Division of Family Resources may use information contained in the index concerning whether a child has been found by a court to be a child in need of services based on a report of child abuse or neglect naming an individual as a perpetrator.