26.44.170  <<  26.44.175 >>   26.44.180

Multidisciplinary child protection teamsInformation sharingConfidentialityImmunity from liability.

(1) The legislature finds that the purpose of multidisciplinary child protection teams as described in RCW 26.44.180 (1) and (2) is to ensure the protection and well-being of the child and to advance and coordinate the prompt investigation of suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to reduce the trauma of any child victim.
(2)(a) When a case as described in RCW 26.44.180 (1) or (2) is referred to the team, records pertaining to the case must be made available to team members. Any member of the team may use or disclose records made available by the team members under this subsection only as necessary for the performance of the member's duties as a member of the multidisciplinary child protection team.
(b) Team members may share information about criminal child abuse investigations and case planning following such investigations with other participants in the multidisciplinary coordination to the extent necessary to protect a child from abuse or neglect. This section is not intended to permit, direct, or compel team members to share information if sharing would constitute a violation of their professional ethical obligations or disclose privileged communications as described in RCW 5.60.060, or if sharing is otherwise impermissible under chapter 13.50 RCW or other applicable statutes.
(3)(a) Every member of the multidisciplinary child protection team who receives information or records regarding children and families in his or her capacity as a member of the team is subject to the same privacy and confidentiality obligations and confidentiality penalties as the person disclosing or providing the information or records. The information or records obtained by any team member must be maintained in a manner that ensures the maximum protection of privacy and confidentiality rights.
(b) Multidisciplinary child protection team members must execute a confidentiality agreement every year.
(c) This section must not be construed to restrict guarantees of confidentiality provided under state or federal law.
(4) As convened by the county prosecutor, or his or her designee, a multidisciplinary child protection team should meet regularly, at least monthly, unless the needs and resources of each team dictate less frequent meetings. Team meetings are closed to the public and are not subject to chapter 42.30 RCW.
(5) Information and records communicated or provided to the multidisciplinary child protection team members by all providers and agencies, as well as information and records created in the course of a child abuse or neglect case investigation, are deemed private and confidential and are protected from discovery and disclosure by all applicable statutory and common law protections. Existing civil and criminal penalties apply to the inappropriate disclosure of information held by team members. To the extent that the records communicated or provided are confidential under RCW 13.50.100, these records may only be further released as authorized by RCW 13.50.100 or other applicable law.
(6) Any person who presented information before the multidisciplinary child protection team or who is a team member may testify as to matters within the person's knowledge. However, in a civil or criminal proceeding, such person or team member may not be questioned about opinions formed as a result of the case consultation meetings.
(7) Any multidisciplinary child protection team member whose action in facilitating the exchange and sharing of information in serving any child in the course of the member's profession, specialties, interests, or occupation, for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the child and the community and providing early intervention to avert more serious problems, is immune from any civil liability arising out of any good faith act relevant to participation on the team that might otherwise be incurred or imposed under this section. In a proceeding regarding immunity from liability, there is a rebuttable presumption of good faith.
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