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Substitute House Bill No. 5346

Public Act No. 12-35

AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR AND TECHNICAL REVISIONS TO STATUTES AFFECTING CHILDREN AND YOUTH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsections (g) and (h) of section 17a-28 of the 2012 supplement to the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):

(g) The department shall disclose records, subject to subsections (b) and (c) of this section, without the consent of the person who is the subject of the record, to:

(1) The person named in the record or such person's authorized representative, provided such disclosure shall be limited to information (A) contained in the record about such person or about such person's biological or adoptive minor child, if such person's parental rights to such child have not been terminated; and (B) [information] identifying an individual who reported abuse or neglect of the person, including any tape recording [or] of an oral report pursuant to section 17a-103, if a court determines that there is reasonable cause to believe the reporter knowingly made a false report or that the interests of justice require disclosure;

(2) An employee of the department for any purpose reasonably related to the [business of the department] performance of such employee's duties;

(3) A guardian ad litem or attorney appointed to represent a child or youth in litigation affecting the best interests of the child or youth;

(4) The Attorney General, any assistant attorney general or any other legal counsel retained to represent the department during the course of a legal proceeding involving the department or an employee of the department;

(5) The Child Advocate or the Child Advocate's designee;

(6) The Chief Public Defender or the Chief Public Defender's designee;

(7) The Chief State's Attorney or the Chief State's Attorney's designee for purposes of investigating or prosecuting an allegation of child abuse or neglect, provided such prosecuting authority shall have access to records of a [delinquency defendant] child charged with the commission of a delinquent act, who is not being charged with an offense related to child abuse, only while the case is being prosecuted and after obtaining a release;

(8) A state or federal law enforcement officer for purposes of investigating an allegation of child abuse or neglect;

(9) Any foster or prospective adoptive parent, if the records pertain to a child or youth currently placed with the foster or prospective adoptive parent, or a child or youth being considered for placement with the foster or prospective adoptive parent, and the records are necessary to address the social, medical, psychological or educational needs of the child or youth, provided no information identifying a biological parent is disclosed without the permission of such biological parent;

(10) The Governor, when requested in writing in the course of the Governor's official functions, the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, the joint standing [committees] committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services, [and] the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary [and] or the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children, when requested in writing in the course of said [committees'] committee's official functions, and upon a majority vote of said [committees] committee, provided no [names] name or other identifying information is disclosed unless [it] such information is essential to the gubernatorial or legislative purpose;

(11) The Department of Public Health for the purpose of (A) determining the suitability of a person to care for children in a facility licensed pursuant to section 19a-77, 19a-80 or 19a-87b; (B) determining the suitability of such person for licensure; or (C) an investigation conducted pursuant to section 19a-80f;

(12) The Department of Developmental Services, to allow said department to determine eligibility, facilitate enrollment and plan for the provision of services to a child who is a client of said department and who is applying to enroll in or is enrolled in said department's voluntary services program. At the time that a parent or guardian completes an application for enrollment of a child in the Department of Developmental Services' voluntary services program, or at the time that said department updates a child's annual individualized plan of care, said department shall notify such parent or guardian that the Department of Children and Families may provide records to the Department of Developmental Services for the purposes specified in this subdivision without the consent of such parent or guardian;

(13) A state agency that licenses or certifies [a person] an individual to educate or care for children or youth;

(14) A judge or employee of a probate court who requires access to such records in order to perform such judge's or employee's official duties;

(15) A judge of the Superior Court for purposes of determining the appropriate disposition of a child convicted as delinquent or a child who is a member of a family with service needs; [, or a]

(16) A judge of the Superior Court in a criminal prosecution for purposes of in-camera inspection whenever (A) the court has ordered that the record be provided to the court; or (B) a party to the proceeding has issued a subpoena for the record;

[(16)] (17) A judge of the Superior Court and all necessary parties in a family violence proceeding when such records concern family violence with respect to the child who is the subject of the proceeding or the parent of such child who is the subject of the proceeding;

[(17)] (18) The Auditors of Public Accounts, or their representative, provided no information identifying the subject of the record is disclosed unless such information is essential to an audit conducted pursuant to section 2-90;

[(18)] (19) A local or regional board of education, provided the records are limited to educational records created or obtained by the state or Connecticut Unified School District #2, established pursuant to section 17a-37;

[(19)] (20) The Department of Motor Vehicles for the purpose of criminal history records checks pursuant to subsection (e) of section 14-44, provided information disclosed pursuant to this subdivision shall be limited to information obtained in an investigation conducted pursuant to section 17a-101g and information contained in the abuse and neglect registry pursuant to section 17a-101k; and

[(20)] (21) The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the purpose of treatment planning for young adults who have transitioned from the care of the Department of Children and Families.

(h) The department may, subject to subsections (b) and (c) of this section, disclose records without the consent of the person who is the subject of the record, to:

(1) An employee or former employee of the department or such employee or former employee's authorized representative for purposes of participating in any court, administrative or disciplinary proceeding, provided such disclosure shall be limited to records that are necessary to the proceeding, as determined by the department;

(2) Multidisciplinary teams, as described in section 17a-106a;

(3) A provider of professional services for a child, youth or parent referred to such provider, provided such disclosure is limited to information necessary to provide services to the child, youth or parent;

(4) An individual or agency under contract with the department for the purposes of identifying and assessing a potential foster or adoptive home for a child or youth, provided no information identifying a biological parent of a child or youth is disclosed without the permission of such biological parent;

(5) The Department of Social Services for the purpose of (A) determining the suitability of a person for payment from the Department of Social Services for providing child care; or (B) promoting the health, safety and welfare of the child or youth;

(6) A physician examining a child with respect to whom abuse or neglect is suspected and who is authorized pursuant to section 17a-101f to keep the child in the custody of a hospital when such physician requires the information in a record of the department to determine whether to keep the child [or youth] in protective custody;

(7) An individual who reports child abuse or neglect pursuant to sections 17a-101a to 17a-101c, inclusive, or section 17a-103, who made a report of abuse or neglect, provided the information disclosed is limited to (A) the status of the investigation conducted pursuant to section 17a-101g resulting from the individual's report; and (B) in general terms, the action taken by the department as a result of such investigation;

(8) An individual or organization engaged in the business of medical, psychological or psychiatric diagnosis and treatment and who is treating an individual who has perpetrated abuse or neglect, as determined in an investigation conducted pursuant to section 17a-101g, or who is unwilling or unable to protect a child or youth from abuse or neglect, as determined in an investigation conducted pursuant to section 17a-101g, when the commissioner, or the commissioner's designee, determines that the disclosure is necessary to accomplish the objectives of diagnosis or treatment;

(9) A court or public agency in another state or a federally recognized Indian tribe, that is responsible for investigating child abuse or neglect, preventing child abuse and neglect or providing services to families at risk for child abuse or neglect, for the purpose of such investigation, prevention or providing services to such families;

(10) An individual conducting bona fide research, provided no information identifying the subject of the record is disclosed unless (A) such information is essential to the purpose of the research; and (B) the department has given written approval for the use of such information;

(11) An individual or agency involved in the collection of fees for services, provided such information is limited to the name and address of the person who received the services and the fees for services, except as provided in section 17b-225. In cases where a dispute arises over such fees or claims or where additional information is needed to substantiate the fee or claim, the Department of Children and Families may disclose the following: (A) That the person was, in fact, provided services by the department; (B) the dates and duration of [service] such services; and (C) a general description of the [service] types of services, including evidence that a service or treatment plan exists and has been carried out and evidence to substantiate the necessity for admission and length of stay in an institution or facility;

(12) A law enforcement officer or state's attorney if there is reasonable cause to believe that a child or youth is being abused or neglected or at risk of being abused or neglected as a result of any suspected criminal activity by any [person] individual;

(13) Any individual interviewed as part of an investigation conducted pursuant to section 17a-101g, who is not otherwise entitled to such information, provided such disclosure [of information] is limited to: (A) The general nature of the allegations contained in the reports; (B) the identity of the child or youth alleged to have been abused or neglected; and (C) information necessary to effectively conduct the investigation;

(14) Any individual, when information concerning an incident of child abuse or neglect has been made public or the commissioner reasonably believes publication of such information is likely, provided such disclosure is limited to: (A) Whether the department has received any report in accordance with sections 17a-101a to 17a-101c, inclusive, or section 17a-103; (B) in general terms, any action taken by the department, provided: (i) Names or other individually identifiable information of the [minor victim] child or other family members is not disclosed, regardless of whether such individually identifiable information is otherwise available, and (ii) the name or other individually identifiable information of the person suspected to be responsible for the abuse or neglect is not disclosed unless such person has been arrested for a crime due to such abuse or neglect; (C) confirmation or denial of the accuracy of information that has been made public; and (D) notwithstanding the provisions of section 46b-124, in general terms, the legal status of the case;

(15) Any individual for the purpose of locating [a] such individual's missing parent, child or youth, provided such disclosure is limited to information that assists in locating such missing parent, child or youth;

(16) Any individual, when the information [or findings] concern an incident of abuse or neglect that resulted in a child or youth fatality or near fatality of a child or youth, provided disclosure of such information [or findings] is in general terms and does not jeopardize a pending investigation;

(17) A court of competent jurisdiction whenever an employee of the department is subpoenaed and ordered to testify about such records;

(18) An individual who is not employed by the department who arranges, performs or assists in performing functions or activities on behalf of the department, including, but not limited to, data analysis, processing or administration, utilization reviews, quality assurance, practice management, consultation, data aggregation and accreditation services.

Sec. 2. Subsection (k) of section 17a-28 of the 2012 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):

(k) All written records disclosed to [another individual or] an individual who is not the subject of the record, an agency, an entity or an organization shall bear a stamp requiring confidentiality in accordance with the provisions of this section. Such records shall not be disclosed to [anyone] another individual, agency, entity or an organization without the written consent of the person who is the subject of the record or as provided by this section. A copy of the consent form, specifying to whom and for what specific use the record is disclosed or a statement setting forth any other statutory authorization for disclosure and the limitations imposed on such disclosure, shall accompany the record. In cases where the disclosure is made orally, the individual disclosing the information shall inform the recipient that such information is governed by the provisions of this section.

Approved May 14, 2012