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Georgia State Code
Title      49
Chapter       5  
Section Navigation     1 ... 10       10.1 ... 18    
      19 ... 44         45 ... 66    
    67 ... 90         91 ... 132   
   133 ... 156       160 ... 183.1 
   184 ... 205       206 ... 225   
   226 ... 252       253 ... 262   
   263 ... 273     
Section<<< 19 20 21 22 40 41 41.1 42 43 44 >>>  
Title 49, Chapter 5, Section 41 (49-5-41)

(a) Notwithstanding Code Section 49-5-40, the following persons or agencies shall have reasonable access to such records concerning reports of child abuse:

(1) A legally mandated, public or private, child protective agency of this state or any other state bound by similar confidentiality provisions and requirements which is investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse or treating a child or family which is the subject of a report or record;

(2) A court, by subpoena, upon its finding that access to such records may be necessary for determination of an issue before such court; provided, however, that the court shall examine such record in camera, unless the court determines that public disclosure of the information contained therein is necessary for the resolution of an issue then before it and the record is otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence;

(3) A grand jury by subpoena upon its determination that access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its official business;

(4) A district attorney of any judicial circuit in this state or any assistant district attorney who may seek such access in connection with official duty;

(5) Any adult who makes a report of suspected child abuse as required by Code Section 19-7-5, but such access shall include only notification regarding the child concerning whom the report was made, shall disclose only whether the investigation by the department or governmental child protective agency of the reported abuse is ongoing or completed and, if completed, whether child abuse was confirmed or unconfirmed, and shall only be disclosed if requested by the person making the report;

(6) Any adult requesting information regarding investigations by the department or a governmental child protective agency regarding a deceased child when such person specifies the identity of the child, but such access shall be limited to a disclosure regarding whether there is such an ongoing or completed investigation of such death and, if completed, whether child abuse was confirmed or unconfirmed;

(7) The State Personnel Board, by administrative subpoena, upon a finding by an administrative law judge appointed by the chief state administrative law judge pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 50, that access to such records may be necessary for a determination of an issue involving departmental personnel and that issue involves the conduct of such personnel in child related employment activities, provided that only those parts of the record relevant to the child related employment activities shall be disclosed. The name of any complainant or client shall not be identified or entered into the record;

(7.1) A child advocacy center which is certified by the Child Abuse Protocol Committee of the county where the principal office of the center is located as participating in the Georgia Network of Children's Advocacy Centers or a similar accreditation organization and which is operated for the purpose of investigation of known or suspected child abuse and treatment of a child or a family which is the subject of a report of abuse, and which has been created and supported through one or more intracommunity compacts between such advocacy center and one or more police agencies, the office of the district attorney, a legally mandated public or private child protective agency, a mental health board, and a community health service board; provided, however, any child advocacy center which is granted access to records concerning reports of child abuse shall be subject to the confidentiality provisions of subsection (b) of Code Section 49-5-40 and shall be subject to the penalties imposed by Code Section 49-5-44 for authorizing or permitting unauthorized access to or use of such records;

(8) Police or any other law enforcement agency of this state or any other state or any medical examiner or coroner investigating a report of known or suspected abuse or any child abuse protocol committee or subcommittee thereof created pursuant to Chapter 15 of Title 19, it being found by the General Assembly that the disclosure of such information is necessary in order for such entities to carry out their legal responsibilities to protect children from abuse and neglect, which protective actions include bringing criminal actions for such abuse or neglect, and that such disclosure is therefore permissible and encouraged under the 1992 amendments to Section 107(b)(4) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 5106(A)(b)(4); and

(9) The Governor, the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives when such officer makes a written request to the commissioner of the department which specifies the name of the child for which such access is sought and which describes such officer's need to have access to such records in order to determine whether the laws of this state are being complied with to protect children from abuse and neglect and whether such laws need to be changed to enhance such protection, for which purposes the General Assembly finds such disclosure is permissible and encouraged under the 1992 amendments to Section 107(b)(4) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 5106(A)(b)(4).

(b)(1) Notwithstanding Code Section 49-5-40, the juvenile court in the county in which are located any department or county board records concerning reports of child abuse, after application for inspection and a hearing on the issue, shall permit inspection of such records by or release of information from such records to individuals or entities who are engaged in legitimate research for educational, scientific, or public purposes and who comply with the provisions of this subsection. When those records are located in more than one county, the application may be made to the juvenile court of any one such county. A copy of any application authorized by this subsection shall be served on the nearest office of the department. In cases where the location of the records is unknown to the applicant, the application may be made to the Juvenile Court of Fulton County.

(2) The juvenile court to which an application is made pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not grant the application unless:

(A) The application includes a description of the proposed research project, including a specific statement of the information required, the purpose for which the project requires that information, and a methodology to assure the information is not arbitrarily sought;

(B) The applicant carries the burden of showing the legitimacy of the research project; and

(C) Names and addresses of individuals, other than officials, employees, or agents of agencies receiving or investigating a report of abuse or treating a child or family which is the subject of a report, shall be deleted from any information released pursuant to this subsection unless the court determines that having the names and addresses open for review is essential to the research and the child, through his or her representative, gives permission to release the information.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, access to the child abuse registry created pursuant to Article 8 of this chapter shall not be permitted except as allowed by Article 8 of this chapter.

(c) The department or a county or other state or local agency may permit access to records concerning reports of child abuse and may release information from such records to the following persons or agencies when deemed appropriate by such department:

(1) A physician who has before him a child whom he reasonably suspects may be abused;

(2) Reserved;

(3) A person legally authorized to place a child in protective custody when such person has before him a child he reasonably suspects may be abused and such person requires the information in the record or report in order to determine whether to place the child in protective custody;

(4) An agency or person having the legal custody, responsibility, or authorization to care for, treat, or supervise the child who is the subject of a report or record;

(5) An agency, facility, or person having responsibility or authorization to assist in making a judicial determination for the child who is the subject of the report or record of child abuse, including but not limited to members of officially recognized citizen review panels, court appointed guardians ad litem, certified Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers who are appointed by a judge of a juvenile court to act as advocates for the best interest of a child in a juvenile proceeding, and members of a county child abuse protocol committee or task force;

(6) A legally mandated public child protective agency or law enforcement agency of another state bound by similar confidentiality provisions and requirements when, during or following the department's investigation of a report of child abuse, the alleged abuser has left this state;

(7) A child welfare agency, as defined in Code Section 49-5-12, or a school where the department has investigated allegations of child abuse made against any employee of such agency or school and any child remains at risk from exposure to that employee, except that such access or release shall protect the identity of:

(A) Any person reporting the child abuse; and

(B) Any other person whose life or safety has been determined by the department or agency likely to be endangered if the identity were not so protected;

(8) An employee of a school or employee of a child welfare agency, as defined in Code Section 49-5-12, against whom allegations of child abuse have been made, when the department has been unable to determine the extent of the employee's involvement in alleged child abuse against any child in the care of that school or agency. In those instances, upon receiving a request and signed release from the employee, the department may report its findings to the employer, except that such access or release shall protect the identity of:

(A) Any person reporting the child abuse; and

(B) Any other person whose life or safety has been determined by the department or agency likely to be endangered if the identity were not so protected;

(9) Any person who has an ongoing relationship with the child named in the record or report of child abuse any part of which is to be disclosed to such person but only if that person is required to report suspected abuse of that child pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 19-7-5, as that subsection existed on January 1, 1990; and

(10) Any school principal or any school guidance counselor, school social worker, or school psychologist who is certified under Chapter 2 of Title 20 and who is counseling a student as a part of such counseling person's school employment duties, but those records shall remain confidential and information obtained therefrom by that counseling person may not be disclosed to any person, except that student, not authorized under this Code section to obtain those records, and such unauthorized disclosure shall be punishable as a misdemeanor.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any child-caring agency, child-placing agency, or identified foster parent shall have reasonable access to nonidentifying information from the placement or child protective services record compiled by any state department or agency having custody of a child with respect to any child who has been placed in the care or custody of such agency or foster parent or for whom foster care is being sought, excluding all documents obtained from outside sources which cannot be redisclosed under state or federal law. A department or agency shall respond to a request for access to a child's record within 14 days of receipt of such written request. Any child-caring agency, child-placing agency, or identified foster parent who is granted access to a child's record shall be subject to the penalties imposed by Code Section 49-5-44 for unauthorized access to or use of such records. Such record shall include reports of abuse of such child and the social history of the child and the child's family, the medical history of such child, including psychological or psychiatric evaluations, or educational records as allowed by state or federal law and any plan of care or placement plan developed by the department, provided that no identifying information is disclosed regarding such child.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, with the exception of medical and mental health records made confidential by other provisions of law, child abuse and deprivation records applicable to a child who at the time of his or her death was:

(1) In the custody of a state department or agency or foster parent;

(2) A child as defined in paragraph (3) of Code Section 15-11-171; or

(3) The subject of an investigation, report, referral, or complaint under Code Section 15-11-173

shall not be confidential and shall be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records.

Saturday May 23 16:51 EDT


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