Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 210
Child Protection and Reformation
Section 210.150

August 28, 2013


Confidentiality of reports and records, exceptions--violations, penalty.

210.150. 1. The children's division shall ensure the confidentiality of all reports and records made pursuant to sections 210.109 to 210.183 and maintained by the division, its local offices, the central registry, and other appropriate persons, officials, and institutions pursuant to sections 210.109 to 210.183. To protect the rights of the family and the child named in the report as a victim, the children's division shall establish guidelines which will ensure that any disclosure of information concerning the abuse and neglect involving that child is made only to persons or agencies that have a right to such information. The division may require persons to make written requests for access to records maintained by the division. The division shall only release information to persons who have a right to such information. The division shall notify persons receiving information pursuant to subdivisions (2), (7), (8) and (9) of subsection 2 of this section of the purpose for which the information is released and of the penalties for unauthorized dissemination of information. Such information shall be used only for the purpose for which the information is released.

2. Only the following persons shall have access to investigation records contained in the central registry:

(1) Appropriate federal, state or local criminal justice agency personnel, or any agent of such entity, with a need for such information under the law to protect children from abuse or neglect;

(2) A physician or a designated agent who reasonably believes that the child being examined may be abused or neglected;

(3) Appropriate staff of the division and of its local offices, including interdisciplinary teams which are formed to assist the division in investigation, evaluation and treatment of child abuse and neglect cases or a multidisciplinary provider of professional treatment services for a child referred to the provider;

(4) Any child named in the report as a victim, or a legal representative, or the parent, if not the alleged perpetrator, or guardian of such person when such person is a minor, or is mentally ill or otherwise incompetent, but the names of reporters shall not be furnished to persons in this category. Prior to the release of any identifying information, the division shall determine if the release of such identifying information may place a person's life or safety in danger. If the division makes the determination that a person's life or safety may be in danger, the identifying information shall not be released. The division shall provide a method for confirming or certifying that a designee is acting on behalf of a subject;

(5) Any alleged perpetrator named in the report, but the names of reporters shall not be furnished to persons in this category. Prior to the release of any identifying information, the division shall determine if the release of such identifying information may place a person's life or safety in danger. If the division makes the determination that a person's life or safety may be in danger, the identifying information shall not be released. However, the investigation reports will not be released to any alleged perpetrator with pending criminal charges arising out of the facts and circumstances named in the investigation records until an indictment is returned or an information filed;

(6) A grand jury, juvenile officer, prosecuting attorney, law enforcement officer involved in the investigation of child abuse or neglect, juvenile court or other court conducting abuse or neglect or child protective proceedings or child custody proceedings, and other federal, state and local government entities, or any agent of such entity, with a need for such information in order to carry out its responsibilities under the law to protect children from abuse or neglect;

(7) Any person engaged in a bona fide research purpose, with the permission of the director; provided, however, that no information identifying the child named in the report as a victim or the reporters shall be made available to the researcher, unless the identifying information is essential to the research or evaluation and the child named in the report as a victim or, if the child is less than eighteen years of age, through the child's parent, or guardian provides written permission;

(8) Any child-care facility; child-placing agency; residential-care facility, including group homes; juvenile courts; public or private elementary schools; public or private secondary schools; or any other public or private agency exercising temporary supervision over a child or providing or having care or custody of a child who may request an examination of the central registry from the division for all employees and volunteers or prospective employees and volunteers, who do or will provide services or care to children. Any agency or business recognized by the division or business which provides training and places or recommends people for employment or for volunteers in positions where they will provide services or care to children may request the division to provide an examination of the central registry. Such agency or business shall provide verification of its status as a recognized agency. Requests for examinations shall be made to the division director or the director's designee in writing by the chief administrative officer of the above homes, centers, public and private elementary schools, public and private secondary schools, agencies, or courts. The division shall respond in writing to that officer. The response shall include information pertaining to the nature and disposition of any report or reports of abuse or neglect revealed by the examination of the central registry. This response shall not include any identifying information regarding any person other than the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect;

(9) Any parent or legal guardian who inquires about a child abuse or neglect report involving a specific person or child-care facility who does or may provide services or care to a child of the person requesting the information. Request for examinations shall be made to the division director or the director's designee, in writing, by the parent or legal guardian of the child and shall be accompanied with a signed and notarized release form from the person who does or may provide care or services to the child. The notarized release form shall include the full name, date of birth and Social Security number of the person who does or may provide care or services to a child. The response shall include information pertaining to the nature and disposition of any report or reports of abuse or neglect revealed by the examination of the central registry. This response shall not include any identifying information regarding any person other than the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect. The response shall be given within ten working days of the time it was received by the division;

(10) Any person who inquires about a child abuse or neglect report involving a specific child-care facility, child-placing agency, residential-care facility, public and private elementary schools, public and private secondary schools, juvenile court or other state agency. The information available to these persons is limited to the nature and disposition of any report contained in the central registry and shall not include any identifying information pertaining to any person mentioned in the report;

(11) Any state agency acting pursuant to statutes regarding a license of any person, institution, or agency which provides care for or services to children;

(12) Any child fatality review panel established pursuant to section 210.192 or any state child fatality review panel established pursuant to section 210.195;

(13) Any person who is a tenure-track or full-time research faculty member at an accredited institution of higher education engaged in scholarly research, with the permission of the director. Prior to the release of any identifying information, the director shall require the researcher to present a plan for maintaining the confidentiality of the identifying information. The researcher shall be prohibited from releasing the identifying information of individual cases.

3. Only the following persons shall have access to records maintained by the division pursuant to section 210.152 for which the division has received a report of child abuse and neglect and which the division has determined that there is insufficient evidence or in which the division proceeded with the family assessment and services approach:

(1) Appropriate staff of the division;

(2) Any child named in the report as a victim, or a legal representative, or the parent or guardian of such person when such person is a minor, or is mentally ill or otherwise incompetent. The names or other identifying information of reporters shall not be furnished to persons in this category. Prior to the release of any identifying information, the division shall determine if the release of such identifying information may place a person's life or safety in danger. If the division makes the determination that a person's life or safety may be in danger, the identifying information shall not be released. The division shall provide for a method for confirming or certifying that a designee is acting on behalf of a subject;

(3) Any alleged perpetrator named in the report, but the names of reporters shall not be furnished to persons in this category. Prior to the release of any identifying information, the division shall determine if the release of such identifying information may place a person's life or safety in danger. If the division makes the determination that a person's life or safety may be in danger, the identifying information shall not be released. However, the investigation reports will not be released to any alleged perpetrator with pending criminal charges arising out of the facts and circumstances named in the investigation records until an indictment is returned or an information filed;

(4) Any child fatality review panel established pursuant to section 210.192 or any state child fatality review panel established pursuant to section 210.195;

(5) Appropriate criminal justice agency personnel or juvenile officer;

(6) Multidisciplinary agency or individual including a physician or physician's designee who is providing services to the child or family, with the consent of the parent or guardian of the child or legal representative of the child;

(7) Any person engaged in bona fide research purpose, with the permission of the director; provided, however, that no information identifying the subjects of the reports or the reporters shall be made available to the researcher, unless the identifying information is essential to the research or evaluation and the subject, or if a child, through the child's parent or guardian, provides written permission.

4. Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this section, or who permits or encourages the unauthorized dissemination of information contained in the information system or the central registry and in reports and records made pursuant to sections 210.109 to 210.183, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

5. Nothing in this section shall preclude the release of findings or information about cases which resulted in a child fatality or near fatality. Such release is at the sole discretion of the director of the department of social services, based upon a review of the potential harm to other children within the immediate family.

(L. 1975 H.B. 578 9, A.L. 1980 S.B. 574, A.L. 1982 H.B. 1171, et al., A.L. 1985 S.B. 401, A.L. 1986 H.B. 953, A.L. 1988 S.B. 719, A.L. 1991 H.B. 185, A.L. 1994 S.B. 595, A.L. 1997 S.B. 358, A.L. 1999 S.B. 387, et al., A.L. 2000 S.B. 757 & 602, A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453)


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