Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Washington

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Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.50.100

Records covered by this section shall be confidential and shall be released only pursuant to this section.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.50.100

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families may release information retained in the course of conducting child protective services investigations to a family or juvenile court. Information that may be released shall be limited to information regarding investigations in which the child was an alleged victim of abandonment or abuse or neglect.

Additional information may be released only with the written consent of the subject of the investigation and the child alleged to be the victim of abandonment or abuse and neglect or the parent, custodian, guardian, or personal representative of the child or by court order obtained with notice to all interested parties.

A contracting agency or service provider of the department that provides counseling, psychological, psychiatric, or medical services may release to the Office of the Family and Children's Ombuds information or records relating to services provided to a child who is dependent without the consent of the parent or guardian of the child if the child is under age 13, unless such release is otherwise specifically prohibited by law.

A child, his or her parents, the child's attorney, and the child's parent's attorney shall, upon request, be given access to all records and information collected or retained by a juvenile justice or care agency that pertain to the child except for the following:

  • If it is determined by the agency that release of this information is likely to cause severe psychological or physical harm to the child or his or her parents, the agency may withhold the information subject to an order of the court.
  • If the information or record has been obtained by a juvenile justice or care agency in connection with the provision of counseling, psychological, psychiatric, or medical services to the child; when the services have been sought voluntarily by the child; and the child has a legal right to receive those services without the consent of any person or agency, then the information or record may not be disclosed to the child's parents without the informed consent of the child unless otherwise authorized by law.
  • The department may delete the name and identifying information regarding persons or organizations who have reported alleged child abuse or neglect.

Subject to the rules of discovery in civil cases, any party to a proceeding seeking a declaration of dependency or a termination of the parent-child relationship, any party's counsel, and the guardian ad litem of any party shall have access to the records of any natural or adoptive child of the parent. Information about reports, reviews, and hearings may be disclosed only in accordance with Federal and State laws pertaining to child welfare records and child protective services reports.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 13.50.100; 26.44.125

Information that may be released shall be limited to information regarding investigations in which the petitioner for custody of the juvenile or any individual aged 16 or older residing in the petitioner's household is the subject of a founded or currently pending child protective services investigation made by the Department of Social and Health Services or the Department of Children, Youth, and Families subsequent to October 1, 1998.

No unfounded allegation of child abuse or neglect may be disclosed to a child-placing agency, private adoption agency, or any other licensed provider.

Founded allegations of child abuse or neglect may be used by the department in determining if a person is qualified for the following:

  • To be licensed or approved to care for children or vulnerable adults
  • To be employed by the department in a position having unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults