Records, confidential — Exceptions — Penalty.
(1)(a) For the protection of applicants and recipients, the department, the authority, and the county offices and their respective officers and employees are prohibited, except as hereinafter provided, from disclosing the contents of any records, files, papers and communications, except for purposes directly connected with the administration of the programs of this title. In any judicial proceeding, except such proceeding as is directly concerned with the administration of these programs, such records, files, papers and communications, and their contents, shall be deemed privileged communications and except for the right of any individual to inquire of the office whether a named individual is a recipient of welfare assistance and such person shall be entitled to an affirmative or negative answer.
(b) Upon written request of a parent who has been awarded visitation rights in an action for divorce or separation or any parent with legal custody of the child, the department shall disclose to him or her the last known address and location of his or her natural or adopted children. The secretary shall adopt rules which establish procedures for disclosing the address of the children and providing, when appropriate, for prior notice to the custodian of the children. The notice shall state that a request for disclosure has been received and will be complied with by the department unless the department receives a copy of a court order which enjoins the disclosure of the information or restricts or limits the requesting party's right to contact or visit the other party or the child. Information supplied to a parent by the department shall be used only for purposes directly related to the enforcement of the visitation and custody provisions of the court order of separation or decree of divorce. No parent shall disclose such information to any other person except for the purpose of enforcing visitation provisions of the said order or decree.
(c) The department shall review methods to improve the protection and confidentiality of information for recipients of welfare assistance who have disclosed to the department that they are past or current victims of domestic violence or stalking.
(2) The county offices shall maintain monthly at their offices a report showing the names and addresses of all recipients in the county receiving public assistance under this title, together with the amount paid to each during the preceding month.
(3) The provisions of this section shall not apply to duly designated representatives of approved private welfare agencies, public officials, members of legislative interim committees and advisory committees when performing duties directly connected with the administration of this title, such as regulation and investigation directly connected therewith: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That any information so obtained by such persons or groups shall be treated with such degree of confidentiality as is required by the federal social security law.
(4) It shall be unlawful, except as provided in this section, for any person, body, association, firm, corporation or other agency to solicit, publish, disclose, receive, make use of, or to authorize, knowingly permit, participate in or acquiesce in the use of any lists or names for commercial or political purposes of any nature. The violation of this section shall be a gross misdemeanor.
[2011 1st sp.s. c 15 § 66; 2006 c 259 § 5; 1987 c 435 § 29; 1983 1st ex.s. c 41 § 32; 1973 c 152 § 1; 1959 c 26 § 74.04.060. Prior: 1953 c 174 § 7; 1950 ex.s. c 10 § 1; 1941 c 128 § 5; Rem. Supp. 1941 § 10007-106b.]
| Effective date -- Findings -- Intent -- Report -- Agency transfer -- References to head of health care authority -- Draft legislation -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 15: See notes following RCW 74.09.010.|
Effective date -- 1987 c 435: See RCW 26.23.900.
Severability -- 1983 1st ex.s. c 41: See note following RCW 26.09.060.
Severability -- 1973 c 152: "If any provision of this 1973 act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1973 c 152 § 3.]
Child support, department may disclose information to internal revenue department: RCW 74.20.160.