Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Louisiana

Date: February 2022

Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Children's Code Art. 616

Except as provided in this article or Rev. Stat. § 46:56, all records of reports of child abuse or neglect are confidential.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:56

Records of cases of child abuse and neglect may be released to the following:

  • Attorneys who are appointed by a court to represent the sole interest of the children
  • Court-appointed special advocates
  • Foster parents when such information is necessary for the foster parents to properly care for the child
  • A court when it is necessary to the determination of an issue before it
  • Hospitals, clinics, or schools
  • Counterpart agencies in other States engaged in delivering family and children's services
  • Local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, military authorities, probation officers, district attorneys, and coroners
  • The Louisiana State Board of Dentistry and the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners
  • A child abuse citizens' review panel or a State child fatality review panel
  • An agency engaged in rendering services or treatment to a recipient or former recipient of the department's services
  • An agency engaged in enforcing the child abuse and neglect law or prosecuting perpetrators of acts against children in violation of the criminal statutes of this State or another State or Federal criminal statutes
  • A person who is engaged in bona fide professional, academic, or scholarly research
  • A duly authorized person conducting an audit of the department
  • A former foster child or his or her legal tutor, if the release of such information is in the best interests of the former foster child
  • An examining physician who reasonably believes that a child has been abused or neglected
  • A committee or subcommittee of the legislature that has subject matter jurisdiction over child protection legislation

Following any investigation by the department of a public or private daycare center, registered family child daycare home, or residential provider, the department may inform the parent or guardian of any child being cared for at the center, home, or residence or the parent or guardian of any child who has applied for placement in the center, home, or residence of a valid finding of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurring at the center, home, or residence upon the request of the parent or legal guardian. The department also may advise such parent or legal guardian of a valid finding when it becomes necessary for the department to take adverse action against a center, home, or facility in the interest of the safety and welfare of the children. The department may release to the Department of Education limited information concerning a valid finding of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurring at a family child daycare home that is registered by that department.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:56

Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, limited public disclosure of summary information contained in the child abuse or neglect records of the Department of Social Services may be made as follows:

  • When there has been a child fatality or near fatality in which abuse or neglect was medically determined by an examining physician to be a contributing factor in the cause of death or near fatality
  • To confirm, clarify, or correct information concerning a case of child abuse or neglect not involving a child fatality or near fatality that has been made public by sources outside of the department
  • To the individual who initiated the report if that individual is a mandatory reporter

This paragraph shall not apply when the local district attorney requests that certain information not be released due to its potential to compromise a pending criminal investigation or prosecution or when, in the judgment of the department, disclosure may compromise the integrity of a child protection investigation. However, all information, including, but not limited to, the departmental case records shall be available to the local district attorney for inspection.

The department shall not publicly disclose any information concerning the individual initiating a report or complaint.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:56

Upon written request of a caregiver, the department shall disclose limited information contained in child abuse or neglect records or reports to an employer or prospective employer of a person who will be exercising supervisory authority over that employer's minor children or other dependent person as part of that person's employment as a caregiver.