Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - West Virginia

Date: February 2022

Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-5-101

Except as otherwise provided below or by order of the court, all records and information concerning a child or juvenile that are maintained by the Division of Juvenile Services, the Department of Health and Human Resources, a child agency or facility, court, or law enforcement agency are confidential and shall not be released or disclosed to anyone, including any Federal or State agency.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-5-101

Notwithstanding the provisions above or any other provision of law to the contrary, records concerning a child or juvenile, except adoption records and records disclosing the identity of a person making a complaint of child abuse or neglect, shall be made available as follows:

  • Where otherwise authorized by this chapter
  • To the child, a parent whose parental rights have not been terminated, or the attorney of the child or parent
  • With the written consent of the child or of someone authorized to act on the child's behalf
  • Pursuant to an order of a court of record

The court shall review the record or records for relevancy and materiality to the issues in the proceeding and safety and may issue an order to limit the examination and use of the records or any part thereof.

In addition to those persons or entities listed above, information related to child abuse or neglect proceedings, except information relating to the identity of the person reporting or making a complaint of child abuse or neglect, shall be made available, upon request, to the following:

  • Federal, State, or local government entities or any agent of such entities, including law enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys, having a need for such information in order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect
  • The child fatality review team
  • Child abuse citizen review panels
  • Multidisciplinary investigative and treatment teams
  • A grand jury, circuit court, or family court, upon a finding that information in the records is necessary for the determination of an issue

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-5-101

In the event of a child fatality or near fatality due to child abuse and neglect, information relating to such fatality or near fatality shall be made public by the Department of Health and Human Resources and to the entities described above. Information released by the department shall not include the identity of a person reporting or making a complaint of child abuse or neglect.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.