Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Maryland

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Family Law § 5-707; Hum. Serv. Code § 1-202

The Social Services Administration administration shall provide by regulation procedures for protecting the confidentiality of reports and records made in accordance with this subtitle and conditions under which information may be released.

Except as otherwise provided in Family Law § 5-714, Human Services Code § 1-203, and this section, a person may not disclose a report or record concerning child abuse or neglect.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Family Law §§ 5-714; 5-715; Hum. Serv. Code § 1-202

The information in a centralized confidential database of cases shall be at the disposal of the following:

  • The protective services staff of the administration
  • The protective services staffs of local departments who are investigating a report of suspected abuse or neglect
  • An individual or entity specifically authorized by law to access the information

The executive director of the Social Services Administration shall provide to the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene identifying information regarding an individual who has had the individual's parental rights to any child terminated and has been identified as responsible for abuse or neglect in a central registry.

A report or record concerning child abuse or neglect shall be disclosed as follows:

  • Under a court order
  • Under an order of an administrative law judge, if the request for disclosure concerns a case pending before the Office of Administrative Hearings and provisions are made to comply with other State or Federal confidentiality laws and to protect the identity of the reporter
  • To the Division of Parole and Probation in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services if, as a result of a report or investigation of suspected child abuse or neglect, the local Department of Social Services has reason to believe that an individual who lives in or has a regular presence in a child's home is a registered sex offender based on the commission of an offense against a child
  • To the Baltimore City Health Department's Office of Youth Violence Prevention for the purpose of providing treatment or care to a child who is the subject of a report of child abuse or neglect

A report or record concerning child abuse or neglect may be disclosed on request to the following:

  • Personnel of the administration or a local department, law enforcement personnel, and members of multidisciplinary case consultation teams, including an addiction specialist, who are investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse or neglect or providing services to a child or family that is the subject of the report
  • Local or State officials responsible for the administration of child protective services, juvenile services, child care, foster care, or adoption licensing, approval, or regulations
  • The State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, the State Citizens Review Board for Children, or a child fatality review team
  • A person who is the alleged abuser, if that person is responsible for the child's welfare and provisions are made for the protection of the identity of the reporter
  • A licensed practitioner, agency, institution, or program that is providing treatment or care to a child who is the subject of a report of child abuse or neglect
  • A parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care and custody of the child
  • A public school superintendent or the principal or equivalent employee of a nonpublic school to carry out appropriate personnel or administrative actions following a report of suspected child abuse committed by an employee involving a student
  • The director of a licensed child care facility or child-placing agency to carry out appropriate personnel actions following a report of suspected child abuse or neglect alleged to have been committed by an employee
  • The Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit of the Office of the Attorney General
  • A licensed practitioner of a hospital or birthing center to make discharge decisions concerning a child
  • The president of a Maryland public institution of higher education or the chancellor of the University System of Maryland to carry out appropriate personnel or administrative actions following a report of child abuse committed by an employee

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Hum. Serv. Code § 1-203

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of Human Services shall, on request, disclose information concerning child abuse or neglect if the following apply:

  • The information is limited to actions or omissions of the local department, the department, or an agent of the department.
  • The child named in a report of abuse or neglect has suffered a fatality or near fatality.
  • The department has consulted the State's Attorney's office, and the State's Attorney's office has confirmed that disclosure of the information would not jeopardize or prejudice a related investigation or prosecution.

The information that is authorized to be disclosed includes the following:

  • The name of the child who has suffered a fatality
  • The date of the report of the alleged child abuse or neglect and of any prior or subsequent reports
  • The findings and disposition made by the local department at the conclusion of its investigation
  • Any services provided to the alleged abuser, the allegedly abused or neglected child, and the household or family members
  • The number of referrals for professional services for the alleged abuser, the allegedly abused or neglected child, and the household or family members
  • Any prior adjudication as a child in need of assistance of the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the household
  • The status of any case involving the child that was open at the time of the fatality or near fatality
  • A summary of the facts of the fatality or near fatality, including the date of the fatality or near fatality and, in the case of a fatality, the cause of death reported by the medical examiner
  • Any information concerning the circumstances of the alleged child abuse or neglect and the investigation of the circumstances, if the department determines that the disclosure is consistent with the public interest

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Family Law § 5-714; Hum. Serv. Code § 1-202

Unless an individual has been identified as responsible for abuse or neglect in the centralized confidential database, information in the centralized confidential database may not be provided in response to any request for background information for employment or voluntary service.

A report or record concerning child abuse or neglect may be disclosed by the department to the operator of a licensed child care center or to a registered family child care provider to determine the suitability of an individual for employment in the child care center or family child care home.