§5 ch2: Documentation And Record Maintenance
2.3 Family-Centered Out-of-Home Case Records
The following persons may have access to information contained in out-of-home case records:
- A parent may have access to their own record (the case record that is established under their name);
- A parent may have access to the record which has been established for their child in out-of-home care;
- The child in the custody of CD in whose name a case record has been established. If there is a particular concern regarding the child’s access to the record, the Children’s Service Worker shall seek guidance through supervisory channels;
- The child in the legal custody of another person where the court has ordered CD to supervise. The Children’s Service Worker shall contact the legal custodian to determine if it is appropriate for the child to view the record;
- The out-of-home care provider may have access to the record which has been established for a child in the custody of CD when the child is placed in the out-of-home care provider’s home or facility;
- An emancipated minor, or person over age 18, may have access to the record that was established for him/her while in out-of-home care; and
- This person may also have information from the parent’s records for the time period the child received services prior to, during, and following the placement.
Supreme Court Rule 123.08 requires the Children’s Division and the Juvenile Officer to provide access to records and information within specific time frames without a formal discovery request. Within ten (10) days of the protective custody hearing or within fourteen (14) days of the filing of the petition or motion to modify, the Children’s Division and Juvenile Officer must allow for certain records to be made available to all parties. The records may include the following and should be relevant to the allegations in the petition:
- Medical records of the juvenile;
- Law enforcement records, including incident reports. If information regarding an active investigation is requested, CD staff should request permission from law enforcement to release the information. If law enforcement will not approve the release due to an active investigation, CD should notify all parties that the information cannot be released at this time;
- Written statements, videotapes, and audiotapes regarding the juvenile and or parents/guardians;
- Reports and affidavits submitted by the Children’s Division to the juvenile office recommending protective custody or a petition to be filed;
- Completed CD reports and safety plans;
- Written service agreements; and
- Completed hotline reports, redacted as required by law. If the hotline report is not completed by the timeframes set forth in the initial court hearing, the report should be made available upon completion.
CD must also make available to all parties any new relevant information related to the allegations obtained within ten (10) days of receipt of the request. This rule only requires CD to make available completed documents in their case record. The rule does not require CD to request additional records not currently in its possession for any other party.
Staff are not required to have a release of information form signed by the parents to release information related to the allegations pursuant to a request made under this rule as long as there is an order of appointment by the court or entry of appearance made by the attorney. However, a signed release of information form is required to release confidential materials regarding the parents’ protected health information or materials not covered in the rule. When receiving drug and alcohol treatment material, staff will need to ask the provider if the information is covered under the federal drug and alcohol statutes.
The rule does not require CD to make copies of the information. Staff may schedule an appointment for the party to review the relevant information in the record. If the party or attorney would like copies of the documents, they may provide a written or verbal request. If copies of the information are requested, the Children’s Division must follow the timeframes established in this rule as this rule supersedes the CD policy which allows ten (10) days to prepare the case file. Only one copy per party will be made. Any additional copies will be made at the expense of the person requesting the copy.