Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Nebraska

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 28-725

All information of the department concerning reports of child abuse or neglect of noninstitutional children, including information in the tracking system of child protection cases maintained pursuant to § 28-715, records in the central registry of child protection cases maintained pursuant to § 28-718, and all information of the department generated as a result of such reports or records shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as specifically authorized by law.

The subject of the report of child abuse or neglect may authorize any individual or organization to receive the following information from the central register of child protection cases that relates or pertains to them:

  • The date of the alleged child abuse or neglect
  • The classification of the case pursuant to § 28-720

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 28-722; 28-726; 28-727

Upon request, a subject of the report of child abuse or neglect or, if such subject is a minor or otherwise legally incompetent, the guardian or guardian ad litem of the subject shall be entitled to receive a copy of all information contained in the central registry of child protection cases pertaining to their case. The department shall not release data that would be harmful or detrimental or that would identify or locate a person who, in good faith, made a report of child abuse or neglect or cooperated in a subsequent investigation unless ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction.

No person, official, or agency shall have access to information in the tracking system of child protection cases or in records in the central registry of child protection cases unless in furtherance of purposes directly connected with the administration of the Child Protection Act and Family Safety. Such persons, officials, and agencies having access to such information shall include, but not be limited to:

  • A law enforcement agency investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse or neglect
  • A county attorney in preparation of a child abuse or neglect petition or termination of parental rights petition
  • A physician who has before them a child whom they reasonably suspect may be abused or neglected
  • An agency having the legal responsibility or authorization to care for, treat, or supervise an abused or neglected child
  • A parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the welfare of an abused or neglected child who is the subject of the report of child abuse or neglect
  • Any person engaged in bona fide research or auditing
  • The Foster Care Review Office and local foster care review board when the information relates to a child in a foster care placement
  • The designated protection and advocacy system, authorized pursuant to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. § 15001) and the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act (42 U.S.C. § 10801), acting upon a complaint received from or on behalf of a person with developmental disabilities or mental illness
  • The person or persons having custody of the abused or neglected child in situations of alleged out-of-home child abuse or neglect
  • The Department of Health and Human Services, as required or authorized by State law, Federal law, Federal regulation, or applicable Federal program provisions
  • A probation officer administering juvenile intake services who is conducting court-ordered predispositional investigations prior to disposition or supervising a juvenile upon disposition
  • A child advocacy center pursuant to team protocols and in connection with a specific case under review or investigation by a child abuse and neglect investigation team or a child abuse and neglect treatment team convened by a county attorney

Upon request, a physician or the person in charge of an institution, school, facility, or agency making a legally mandated report of child abuse or neglect shall receive a summary of the findings of and actions taken by the department in response to their report. The amount of detail such summary contains shall depend on the source of the report of child abuse or neglect and shall be established by regulations of the department.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 81-3126

The department may disclose information regarding child abuse or neglect and the investigation of and any services related to the child abuse and neglect if the department determines that such disclosure is not contrary to the best interests of the child, the child's siblings, or other children in the household, and any one of the following factors is present:

  • The alleged perpetrator has been charged with committing a crime related to the report of child abuse or neglect.
  • A judge, law enforcement agency official, county attorney, or another State or local investigative agency or official has publicly disclosed the provision of services related to or the investigation of the child abuse or neglect.
  • An individual who is the parent, custodian, foster parent, provider, or guardian of the victim, or a child victim over age 14 has made a prior knowing, voluntary, and public disclosure.
  • The information relates to a child fatality or near fatality.
  • The information is released to confirm, clarify, or correct information concerning an allegation or actual instance of child abuse or neglect that has been made public by sources outside of the department.
  • A child who is in the custody of the department is missing from their placement, in which case the department may release the name and physical description of the child.

The department may release the results of criminal history record checks that have been completed by the department as authorized by law.

The best interests of the child, the child's siblings, or other children in the household does not allow the disclosure of information that would impede a pending or current criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 28-726

The Department of Health and Human Services Regulation and Licensure may access the records for the purpose of licensing providers of child care programs.