Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Vermont

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, §§ 4916; 4921(a)

The commissioner of the Department for Children and Families shall adopt rules to permit use of the registry records while preserving confidentiality of the registry and other departmental records.

The commissioner shall maintain all records of all investigations, assessments, reviews, and responses initiated under this subchapter. The department may use and disclose information from such records in the usual course of its business, including to assess future risk to children, to provide appropriate services to the child or members of the child's family, or for other legal purposes.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4921

Upon request, the redacted investigation file shall be disclosed to the following:

  • The child's parents, foster parent, or guardian, absent good cause shown by the department, provided that the child's parent, foster parent, or guardian is not the subject of the investigation
  • The person alleged to have abused or neglected the child
  • The attorney representing the child in a child custody proceeding

Upon request, department records shall be disclosed to the following:

  • The court, parties to the juvenile proceeding, and the child's guardian ad litem if there is a pending juvenile proceeding or if the child is in the custody of the commissioner
  • The commissioner or person designated by the commissioner to receive such records
  • Persons assigned by the commissioner to conduct investigations
  • Law enforcement officers engaged in a joint investigation with the department, an assistant attorney general, or a State's attorney
  • Other State agencies conducting related inquiries or proceedings
  • The probate division of the superior court involved in guardianship proceedings

Upon request, relevant department records created under this subchapter may be disclosed to the following:

  • A person, agency, or organization, including a multidisciplinary team, authorized to diagnose, care for, treat, or supervise a child or family who is the subject of a report or record or who is responsible for the child's health or welfare
  • Health and mental health-care providers working directly with the child or family who is the subject of the report or record
  • Educators working directly with the child or family who is the subject of the report or record
  • Licensed or approved foster caregivers for the child
  • Mandated reporters making a report in accordance with the provisions of § 4914 of this subchapter and engaging in an ongoing working relationship with the child or family who is the subject of the report
  • A family division of the superior court involved in a proceeding in which any of the following is at issue:
    • Custody of a child or parent-child contact is at issue.
    • A parent of a child challenges a presumption of parentage.
    • A parent of a child contests an allegation that they fostered or supported a bonded and dependent relationship between the child and a person seeking to be adjudicated a de facto parent.
  • A probate division of the superior court involved in guardianship proceedings
  • Other governmental entities for purposes of child protection

Any persons or agencies authorized to receive confidential information under this section may share such information with other persons or agencies authorized to receive confidential information for the purposes of providing services and benefits to the children and families those persons or agencies mutually serve.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4919

The commissioner may disclose a registry record only as follows:

  • To the owner or operator of a facility regulated by the department for the purpose of informing the owner or operator that employment of a specific individual may result in loss of license, registration, or certification
  • To an employer if such information is used to determine whether to hire or retain a specific individual providing care, custody, treatment, transportation, or supervision of children or vulnerable adults
  • To the commissioners of disabilities, aging, independent living, and mental health for purposes related to the licensing or registration of facilities regulated by those departments
  • To the commissioners of health, disabilities, aging, independent living, and mental health for purposes related to oversight and monitoring of persons who are served by or compensated with funds provided by those departments, including persons to whom a conditional offer of employment has been made
  • To the board of medical practice for the purpose of evaluating an applicant, licensee, or holder of certification pursuant to title 26, § 1353

An employer providing transportation services to children or vulnerable adults may disclose registry records to the Agency of Human Services for the sole purpose of auditing the records to ensure compliance with this subchapter. An employer shall provide such records at the request of the agency or its designee. Only registry records regarding individuals who provide direct transportation services or otherwise have direct contact with children or vulnerable adults may be disclosed. Volunteers shall be considered employees for purposes of this section.

In no event shall registry records be made available for employment purposes other than as set forth in this subsection or for credit purposes.