Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Oklahoma

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, §§ 1-2-108; 1-6-102

Data and information maintained in the Oklahoma Department of Human Services information system and related to individual cases shall be confidential and shall be made available only as authorized by State or Federal law.

Except as provided by this section and except as otherwise specifically provided by State and Federal laws, the following records are confidential and shall not be open to the general public, be inspected, or have their contents disclosed:

  • Juvenile court records
  • Agency records
  • District attorney's records
  • Court-appointed special advocate records pertaining to a child welfare case
  • Law enforcement records
  • Nondirectory education records
  • Social records

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-6-103

Juvenile court records and department agency records pertaining to a child may be inspected and their contents shall be disclosed without a court order to the following persons upon showing of proper credentials and pursuant to their lawful duties:

  • The court, including a Tribal court, having jurisdiction over the child
  • Employees and officers of the court, including, but not limited to, guardians ad litem and court-appointed special advocates
  • A district attorney, U. S. attorney, or attorney general of this or another State
  • The attorney representing the child
  • Employees of juvenile bureaus and of the department
  • Employees of a law enforcement agency, military enclave, and child protective service of this or another State
  • The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth
  • The Office of Juvenile Affairs
  • A federally recognized Indian Tribe in which the child who is the subject of the record is a member or is eligible to become a member of the Tribe
  • The governor
  • Any Federal official of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Any member of the legislature
  • A foster parent with regard to records concerning the social, medical, psychological, or educational needs of a child currently placed with that foster parent or of a child being considered for placement
  • An employee of any State or Federal corrections or law enforcement agency concerning presentence investigations or supervision of a parent of an alleged or adjudicated deprived child or the legal guardian, custodian, or any other adult member of the child's home who is responsible for the health, safety, or welfare of the child
  • An employee of a State agency of this or another State concerning the establishment of paternity or the establishment or enforcement of a child support order
  • Any member of a city-county Health Department Fetal Infant Mortality Review
  • Any designated Federal authorities at the Federal military installation where a service member is assigned when the child is a member of an active-duty military family
  • Any member of the Child Welfare Review Committee for the Death and Near Death of Children With Disabilities

Department agency records may be inspected, and their contents shall be disclosed without a court order to the following persons upon showing of proper credentials and pursuant to their lawful duties:

  • Postadjudicatory review boards, court-appointed special advocates, and members of the Child Death Review Board
  • Any district court that has ordered a home study by the department in an action for divorce, annulment, custody of a child, or appointment of a legal guardian of a child
  • Members of multidisciplinary teams or multidisciplinary personnel designated by the department 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
  • A physician who has before them a child who they reasonably suspect may be abused or neglected
  • Any public or private agency or person authorized by the department to diagnose or provide care, treatment, supervision, or other services to a child who is the subject of a report
  • Any person or agency for research purposes
  • The Oklahoma Health Care Authority
  • A medical examiner when such person is determining the cause of death of a child

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-6-105

When the department has reasonable cause to suspect that a child death or near death is the result of abuse or neglect, the department shall, upon request, release to the public the following information:

  • The child's age and sex
  • The date of death or near-death incident
  • Whether the child was in the department's custody at the time of the incident
  • Whether the child resided with or was under the supervision of the child's parent at the time of the incident

If, after an investigation is completed, the department determines a child's death or near death was the result of abuse or neglect, the department shall, upon request, release additional information to the public, including the following:

  • The child's name
  • The offender's name
  • If the child was living with the child's parent:
    • The circumstances of the child's death or near death
    • A summary of the child's involvement with the department
    • A description of the services, if any, that were provided by the department
    • The results of any risk or safety assessments
    • Whether abuse or neglect was confirmed
    • Whether there were any judicial proceedings prior to the incident and the rulings of the court
    • A summary of the status of the child's case
    • Whether the child's case was closed by the department before the incident

In cases in which the child's death or near death occurred while the child was in the custody of the department and the person responsible for the supervision of the child was the suspected perpetrator, the following information shall be released:

  • The circumstances of the child's death or near death
  • Information regarding the training and certification of the caregiver
  • A summary of any previous reports of abuse or neglect regarding the caregiver
  • Any policy violations, including any action taken by the department regarding a violation

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, §§ 1-6-102; 1-6-103

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting any of the following:

  • The department from providing a summary of allegations and findings of an investigation involving a child care facility that does not disclose identities but that permits parents to evaluate the facility
  • The department from providing records to a federally recognized Indian Tribe for any individual who has applied for foster care placement, adoptive placement, or guardianship placement through the Tribe; provided, that the Tribe shall be required to maintain the confidentiality of the records
  • The department from providing records to the Office of Juvenile Affairs for any individual who has applied for foster care

The court may disclose to an employee of an out-of-State entity, licensed to perform adoption home studies in that State, whether the prospective adoptive parent has had parental rights to a child terminated or has relinquished parental rights to a child in Oklahoma.