Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - South Dakota

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 26-8A-13

All investigative case records and files relating to reports of child abuse or neglect are confidential, and no disclosure of any such records, files, or other information may be made except as authorized in chapter 26-7A or this chapter.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 26-8A-13

The Department of Social Services may release records to the following parties when it is necessary in the performance of official functions relating to child abuse or neglect:

  • The attorney general, the State's attorneys, law enforcement agencies, protective services workers, and judges of the courts investigating reports of known or suspected child abuse or neglect
  • The attorney or guardian ad litem of the child who is the subject of the information
  • Public officials who require the information in connection with their official duties
  • Institutions and agencies that have legal responsibility or authorization to care for, treat, or supervise a child who is the subject of the information
  • A parent or guardian of the child who is the subject of the information or report
  • A foster parent, kinship provider, or prospective adoptive parent who is or may be caring for a child in the custody of the Department of Social Services who is the subject of the report
  • A State, regional, or national registry of child abuse and neglect cases and courts of record of other States
  • A child protection team
  • A physician who is caring for a child who is suspected or found to be abused or neglected
  • State hearing examiners and any person who is the subject of the report
  • A person eligible to submit an adoptive home study report for the purpose of screening applicants

Information received by an authorized receiving party shall be held confidential by the receiving party. However, the court may order the release of the information or any portion of it necessary for determination of an issue before the court.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 26-8A-13

Upon written request, the department shall release findings or information regarding the abuse or neglect of a child that resulted in a fatality or near fatality of the child unless the release of the findings or information would jeopardize a pending criminal investigation or proceeding. The findings or information to be released shall relate to the acts of child abuse or neglect that caused the fatality or near fatality of the child. However, the identity of the child may never be released. For the purpose of this chapter, near fatality means an act that, as certified by a physician, placed the child in serious or critical condition.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 26-8A-12.1; 26-8A-12.2; 26-8A-12.3

Upon receipt of a list of names of current or potential employees from a Head Start program director or the name of any person being considered as an adoptive or foster parent from a certified social worker, the Department of Social Services shall compare the list to the central registry for abuse and neglect and report any findings to the requesting program director or social worker.

Upon receipt of names of current or potential employees or volunteers from the Juvenile Division of the Department of Corrections, any adolescent treatment program, any entity administering a court-appointed special advocate program, an accredited child advocacy center, or a court considering appointment of a guardian ad litem for a child, the department shall compare the names to the central registry for abuse and neglect and report any findings to the requesting program director, to the Bureau of Human Resources human resource manager, or to the court.

Upon the receipt of a written request from a child welfare agency, the department shall conduct a check of the central registry for child abuse and neglect for foster care, adoption, or employment applicants and shall provide the results to the requesting agency. Further, upon written request from an agency that provides child welfare services or child-placing services for a federally recognized Tribe, the department shall conduct a check of the central registry for child abuse and neglect for foster care or adoption applicants and shall provide the results to the requesting Tribal agency.

Before the department conducts any check of the central registry for child abuse and neglect, the requesting agency shall provide to the department a consent signed by the applicant for kinship, foster care, adoption, or employment.