Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - New Jersey

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.10a

All records of child abuse reports, all information obtained by the Department of Children and Families in investigating such reports, and all reports of findings forwarded to the child abuse registry shall be kept confidential.

The department shall disclose information only as authorized by the section that is relevant to the purpose for which the information is required, as long as nothing is disclosed that would likely endanger the life, safety, or physical or emotional well-being of a child or the life or safety of any other person or that may compromise the integrity of a department investigation, a civil or criminal investigation, or judicial proceeding.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.10a

Records and reports may be released to the following:

  • A child protective agency or law enforcement agency investigating a report of child abuse or neglect
  • A physician who reasonably suspects that a child may be abused or neglected
  • A physician, police officer, or any other person authorized to place a child in protective custody when needed to determine whether to place a child in protective custody
  • An agency authorized to care for, treat, assess, evaluate, or supervise a child who is the subject of a child abuse report or a parent, guardian, resource family parent, or other person who is responsible for the child's welfare, or both, when the information is needed in connection with the provision of care, treatment, assessment, evaluation, or supervision to such child or such parent, guardian, or resource family parent
  • A court or the Office of Administrative Law when it is necessary for determination of an issue before it
  • A grand jury when it is necessary in the conduct of its official business
  • Any appropriate State legislative committee acting in the course of its official functions
  • The Victims of Crime Compensation Board, for the purpose of providing services to a child victim who is the subject of a report
  • Any person appealing a department service or status action or a substantiated finding of child abuse or neglect and his or her attorney or authorized lay representative
  • The members of a county multidisciplinary team
  • A person being evaluated by the department or the court as a potential caregiver to determine whether that person is willing and able to provide the care and support required by the child
  • The legal counsel of a child, parent, or guardian
  • A person who has reported suspected child abuse or neglect
  • A parent, resource family parent, or legal guardian when the information is needed in a department matter in which that parent, resource family parent, or legal guardian is directly involved
  • A Federal, State, or local government entity, to the extent necessary to carry out its responsibilities
  • Citizen review panels
  • The Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board
  • Members of a family team or other case-planning group for the purpose of addressing the child's safety, permanency, or well-being
  • A child who is the subject of a report, as appropriate to the child's age or condition, to enable the child to understand the basis for the department's involvement
  • Any person engaged in bona fide research

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.10a

The department may disclose to the public the findings or information about a case of child abuse or neglect that has resulted in a child fatality or near fatality. Nothing may be disclosed that would likely endanger the life, safety, or physical or emotional well-being of a child or the life or safety of any other person or that may compromise the integrity of a department investigation or a civil or criminal investigation or judicial proceeding.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.10a

Records may be accessed by the following:

  • A family daycare-sponsoring organization for the purpose of providing information on child abuse or neglect allegations involving prospective or current providers or household members and, as necessary, for use in administrative appeals related to information obtained through a child abuse registry search
  • Any person or entity mandated to consider child abuse or neglect information when conducting a background check or employment-related screening of an individual employed by or seeking employment with an agency or organization providing services to children
  • Any person or entity conducting a disciplinary, administrative, or judicial proceeding to determine terms of employment or continued employment of an officer, employee, or volunteer with an agency or organization providing services for children

The department shall release records and reports to a unified child care agency for the purpose of providing information on child abuse or neglect allegations involving a prospective approved home provider or any adult household member to a child's parent when the information is necessary for the parent to make a decision concerning the placement of the child in an appropriate child care arrangement.