Code of the District of Columbia

§ 4–1302.03. Access to Register; release of information generally.

(a) The staff which maintains the Child Protection Register shall grant access to information contained in said Register only to the following persons:

(1) Officers of the police for the purpose of an investigation of a report;

(2) The Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia or his or her agent for the purpose of fulfilling his or her official duties concerning investigating and prosecuting cases of an allegedly abused or neglected child;

(2A) The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, or his or her agent, for the purpose of fulfilling his or her official duties concerning investigating and prosecuting cases involving an allegedly abused or neglected child.

(3) The personnel of the Agency and the Social Services Agency of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for the purpose of investigating a report or providing services to a family or child who is the subject of a report;

(4) The guardian ad litem of a child who is the subject of a report;

(5) Each person identified in a report as a person responsible for the neglect of the child or that person’s attorney;

(6) The parent, guardian, custodian, or attorney of the child who is the subject of the report;

(7) A child-placing agency licensed in the District of Columbia or the Agency’s staff who makes child placements for the purpose of checking a proposed foster care or adoptive placement for a report of abuse or neglect, upon submission of a signed consent for release of information pursuant to § 4-1407.01;

(8) The Child Fatality Review Committee, for the purpose of examining past events and circumstances surrounding child deaths in the District of Columbia and deaths of children who were either residents or wards of the District of Columbia, in an effort to reduce the number of preventable child deaths, especially those deaths attributable to child abuse and neglect and other forms of maltreatment. The Child Fatality Review Committee shall be granted, upon request, access to information contained in the files maintained on any deceased child or on the parent, guardian, custodian, kinship caregiver, day-to-day caregiver, relative/godparent caregiver, or sibling of a deceased child;

(9) Any member of a multidisciplinary investigation team (“MDT”) established pursuant to Part A-i of this subchapter for purposes of an investigation or review conducted by the MDT; and

(10) The Violence Fatality Review Committee, for the purpose of examining past events and circumstances surrounding homicides and suicides, as that term is defined in § 5-1431.01(e). The Violence Fatality Review Committee shall be granted, upon request, access to information contained in the files maintained on any deceased child or on the parent, guardian, custodian, kinship caregiver, day-to-day caregiver, relative/godparent, caregiver, or sibling of a deceased child.

(11) The Office of the Ombudsperson for Children, established by the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act of 2020, passed on 2nd reading on December 15, 2020 (Enrolled version of Bill 23-437), for the purpose of fulfilling the Ombudsperson's duties.

(a-1)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, the staff which maintains the Child Protection Register shall grant access to substantiated reports to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for the purpose of conducting background checks of employees of licensed child development facilities pursuant to section 658H of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, approved November 19, 2014 (128 Stat. 1971; 42 USC § 9858f), and to the chief executive officers or directors of child development facilities, schools, or any public or private organizations working directly with children, for the purpose of making employment decisions regarding employees and volunteers or prospective employees and volunteers, if:

(A) The request is made in writing and clearly articulates the basis for the request; and

(B) The request is accompanied by a notarized consent for release of information from the Child Protection Register signed by the employee or volunteer or prospective employee or volunteer.

(2) Information provided pursuant to this subsection shall be limited to information pertaining to the nature and disposition of the report of abuse or neglect and shall not include any identifying information regarding any person other than the employee or volunteer, or prospective employee or volunteer.

(3) The Agency shall not release any information pursuant to this subsection pertaining to a substantiated report that was received prior to October 19, 2002.

(b) The investigators of a report may divulge the information obtained from the Child Protection Register to medical professionals for the purpose of obtaining a diagnosis of the child who is the subject of the report.

(c) Each person seeking access to the Child Protection Register shall show identification satisfactory to the staff which maintains said Register before access is allowed.

(d) The staff which maintains the Child Protection Register shall not release to those persons identified in paragraphs (5), (6), and (7) of subsection (a) of this section any information that identifies the source of a report or the witnesses to the incident referred to in a report unless said staff first obtains permission from the source of the report or from the witnesses named in the report.

(e) The staff which maintains the Child Protection Register shall release only that information which is necessary for the purpose of the request and which does not violate the confidentiality of the persons identified in the report, except as is necessary to meet the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

(f) The staff which maintains the Child Protection Register shall not release the information contained in said Register to another jurisdiction unless:

(1) That jurisdiction has comparable safeguards for ensuring the confidentiality of information regarding persons identified in the report and for withholding the identity of the source of the report; or

(2) The staff obtains permission for the release of the information from each person identified in the report and from the source of the report.

(g) The staff which maintains the Child Protection Register shall maintain a record of each release of information, which record shall contain the following information:

(1) The date of the release of the information;

(2) To whom the information was released and the address of that person or institution; and

(3) The purpose for which the information was released.

(h) The information in the Child Protection Register shall be released orally only to the Metropolitan Police Department, to the Office of the Attorney General, and to personnel of the Agency and of the Social Services Agency of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia when they are investigating a report. Any release of information to other persons listed in subsection (a) of this section or pursuant to § 4-1302.04 shall be preceded by a written request from the person requesting the information.