Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - New York

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 422

Reports made pursuant to this title as well as any other information obtained, reports written, or photographs taken concerning such reports in the possession of the Office of Children and Family Services or local departments shall be confidential.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 422

Reports and information shall be made available to only the following:

  • A physician who reasonably suspects that a child may be abused or maltreated
  • A person authorized to place a child in protective custody when it is needed to determine whether to place the child in protective custody
  • A duly authorized agency having the responsibility for the care or supervision of a child who is reported to the central register
  • Any person who is the subject of the report or other persons named in the report
  • A court when it is necessary for the determination of an issue before it
  • A grand jury when it is necessary for the determination of charges
  • Any appropriate State legislative committee responsible for child protective legislation
  • Any person engaged in bona fide research
  • A provider agency or a licensing agency
  • The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs in connection with an investigation being conducted by the center
  • A probation service conducting an investigation in which there is reason to suspect the child or the child's sibling may have been maltreated and such child or sibling, parent, guardian, or other person legally responsible for the child is a person named in an indicated report
  • A district attorney, an assistant district attorney, investigator, an officer of the State police, the regional State park police, a city police department, or a sheriff's office when such information is necessary to conduct a criminal investigation or prosecution of a person
  • The New York City Department of Investigation
  • A provider or coordinator of services to which a child or a child's family have been referred when it is necessary to enable the provider or coordinator to establish and implement a plan of service for the child or the child's family, to monitor the provision and coordination of services, or to directly provide services
  • A disinterested person making an adoption investigation
  • A criminal justice agency conducting an investigation of a missing child where there is reason to suspect such child or such child's sibling, parent, guardian, or other person legally responsible for such child is a person named in an indicated report of child maltreatment and that such information is needed to further such investigation
  • A child protective service of another State when necessary to conduct a child abuse investigation within its jurisdiction
  • An attorney appointed to represent the child
  • A child care resource and referral program
  • Officers and employees of the State comptroller, the city comptroller of the city of New York, or the county officer for purposes of a duly authorized performance audit
  • Members of a local or regional fatality review team, a local or regional multidisciplinary investigative team, or a citizen review panel
  • A social services official who is investigating whether an adult is in need of protective services when such official has reasonable cause to believe that adult may be in need of protective services due to the conduct of an individual or individuals who had access to the adult when the adult was a child

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 422-a

A commissioner may disclose information regarding the abuse or maltreatment of a child when such disclosure shall not be 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 subject of the report has been charged with committing a crime related to a report maintained in the statewide central register.
  • The investigation of the abuse or maltreatment of the child by the local child protective service or the provision of services by such service has been publicly disclosed in a report required to be disclosed in the course of their official duties by a law enforcement agency or official, a district attorney, any other State or local investigative agency or official, or by a judge of the unified court system.
  • There has been a prior knowing, voluntary, and public disclosure by an individual concerning a report of child abuse or maltreatment in which such individual is named as the subject of the report.
  • The child named in the report has died or the report involves the near fatality of a child.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 422

Reports and information shall be made available to the following:

  • Chief executive officers of authorized agencies, directors of day care centers, and directors of facilities operated or supervised by the Department of Education, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Mental Health, or the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities in connection with a disciplinary investigation, action, or administrative or judicial proceeding instituted by any of such officers or directors against an employee of any such agency, center, or facility who is the subject of an indicated report when the incident of abuse or maltreatment contained in the report occurred in the agency, center, facility, or program and the purpose of such proceeding is to determine whether the employee should be retained or discharged
  • An entity with appropriate legal authority in another State to license, certify, or otherwise approve prospective foster and adoptive parents when disclosure of information regarding the prospective foster or adoptive parents and other persons over age 18 residing in the home of such prospective parents is required by Federal law
  • An entity with appropriate legal authority in another State to license, certify, or otherwise approve residential programs for foster children when disclosure of information regarding any prospective or current employee of such program is required by Federal law