Records not relating to commission of juvenile offenses — Maintenance and access — Release of information for child custody hearings — Disclosure of unfounded allegations prohibited.
(1) This section governs records not covered by RCW 13.50.050, 13.50.260, and 13.50.270.
(2) Records covered by this section shall be confidential and shall be released only pursuant to this section and RCW 13.50.010.
(3) Records retained or produced by any juvenile justice or care agency may be released to other participants in the juvenile justice or care system only when an investigation or case involving the juvenile in question is being pursued by the other participant or when that other participant is assigned the responsibility of supervising the juvenile. Records covered under this section and maintained by the juvenile courts which relate to the official actions of the agency may be entered in the statewide judicial information system. However, truancy records associated with a juvenile who has no other case history, and records of a juvenile's parents who have no other case history, shall be removed from the judicial information system when the juvenile is no longer subject to the compulsory attendance laws in chapter 28A.225 RCW. A county clerk is not liable for unauthorized release of this data by persons or agencies not in his or her employ or otherwise subject to his or her control, nor is the county clerk liable for inaccurate or incomplete information collected from litigants or other persons required to provide identifying data pursuant to this section.
(4) Subject to (a) of this subsection, the department of social and health services may release information retained in the course of conducting child protective services investigations to a family or juvenile court hearing a petition for custody under chapter 26.10 RCW.
(a) Information that may be released shall be limited to information regarding investigations in which: (i) The juvenile was an alleged victim of abandonment or abuse or neglect; or (ii) the petitioner for custody of the juvenile, or any individual aged sixteen or older residing in the petitioner's household, is the subject of a founded or currently pending child protective services investigation made by the department subsequent to October 1, 1998.
(b) Additional information may only be released with the written consent of the subject of the investigation and the juvenile alleged to be the victim of abandonment or abuse and neglect, or the parent, custodian, guardian, or personal representative of the juvenile, or by court order obtained with notice to all interested parties.
(5) Any disclosure of records or information by the department of social and health services pursuant to this section shall not be deemed a waiver of any confidentiality or privilege attached to the records or information by operation of any state or federal statute or regulation, and any recipient of such records or information shall maintain it in such a manner as to comply with such state and federal statutes and regulations and to protect against unauthorized disclosure.
(6) A contracting agency or service provider of the department of social and health services that provides counseling, psychological, psychiatric, or medical services may release to the office of the family and children's ombuds information or records relating to services provided to a juvenile who is dependent under chapter 13.34 RCW without the consent of the parent or guardian of the juvenile, or of the juvenile if the juvenile is under the age of thirteen years, unless such release is otherwise specifically prohibited by law.
(7) A juvenile, his or her parents, the juvenile's attorney, and the juvenile's parent's attorney, shall, upon request, be given access to all records and information collected or retained by a juvenile justice or care agency which pertain to the juvenile except:
(a) If it is determined by the agency that release of this information is likely to cause severe psychological or physical harm to the juvenile or his or her parents the agency may withhold the information subject to other order of the court: PROVIDED, That if the court determines that limited release of the information is appropriate, the court may specify terms and conditions for the release of the information; or
(b) If the information or record has been obtained by a juvenile justice or care agency in connection with the provision of counseling, psychological, psychiatric, or medical services to the juvenile, when the services have been sought voluntarily by the juvenile, and the juvenile has a legal right to receive those services without the consent of any person or agency, then the information or record may not be disclosed to the juvenile's parents without the informed consent of the juvenile unless otherwise authorized by law; or
(c) That the department of social and health services may delete the name and identifying information regarding persons or organizations who have reported alleged child abuse or neglect.
(8) A juvenile or his or her parent denied access to any records following an agency determination under subsection (7) of this section may file a motion in juvenile court requesting access to the records. The court shall grant the motion unless it finds access may not be permitted according to the standards found in subsection (7)(a) and (b) of this section.
(9) The person making a motion under subsection (8) of this section shall give reasonable notice of the motion to all parties to the original action and to any agency whose records will be affected by the motion.
(10) Subject to the rules of discovery in civil cases, any party to a proceeding seeking a declaration of dependency or a termination of the parent-child relationship and any party's counsel and the guardian ad litem of any party, shall have access to the records of any natural or adoptive child of the parent, subject to the limitations in subsection (7) of this section. A party denied access to records may request judicial review of the denial. If the party prevails, he or she shall be awarded attorneys' fees, costs, and an amount not less than five dollars and not more than one hundred dollars for each day the records were wrongfully denied.
(11) No unfounded allegation of child abuse or neglect as defined in RCW 26.44.020(1) may be disclosed to a child-placing agency, private adoption agency, or any other licensed provider.
[2014 c 175 § 8; 2013 c 23 § 7; 2003 c 105 § 2; 2001 c 162 § 2; 2000 c 162 § 18; 1999 c 390 § 3; 1997 c 386 § 22; 1995 c 311 § 16; 1990 c 246 § 9; 1983 c 191 § 20; 1979 c 155 § 10.]
| Findings -- Intent -- 2014 c 175: See note following RCW 13.50.010.|
Application -- Effective date -- 1997 c 386: See notes following RCW 13.50.010.
Severability -- 1990 c 246: See note following RCW 13.34.060.
Effective date -- Severability -- 1979 c 155: See notes following RCW 13.04.011.