Bill S5746-2011

Relates to access to records of the differential response program for child protection assessments or investigations

Relates to access to records of the differential response program for child protection assessments or investigations.

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  • Jun 20, 2011: SUBSTITUTED BY A8108A
  • Jun 20, 2011: ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1425
  • Jun 14, 2011: REFERRED TO RULES

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Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5746

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to access to records of the differential response program for child protection assessments or investigations

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the disclosure of information necessary to a court case or procedure in narrow instances.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill would give the subject of the FAR report access to the FAR records. The bill would also give a court access to FAR records, but only during the duration of services provided under the FAR case.

The bill would also provide for the re-disclosure of FAR records. A child protective services unit would have access to previous FAR records if such records are relevant to a subsequent child abuse investigation or Family Court action, and would be required to include such information in the investigation records in any subsequent Family Court case. The subject of the report would be authorized to present his or her FAR records in any relevant proceeding.

The bill also requires the inclusion of certain demographic information in the annual report of the Office of Children and Family Services.

JUSTIFICATION: Chapter 452 of the Laws of 2007 established the Family Assessment Response (FAR) program to provide an alternative approach to non safety related child protective reports. The FAR program has so far been successful in engaging families with services to meet the needs in the home without a full scale investigation. FAR records are confidential and may only be disclosed to a limited number of entities, not including the Court. Although strict confidentiality is appropriate to protect such records, there are instances when information contained in a FAR record is critical to the outcome of a court proceeding. This may be the case when services under FAR are not yet completed and a custody decision is pending. This may also be the case when the participant wants to demonstrate his or her compliance with services through FAR. It is therefore appropriate that limited access to such records be given in narrowly defined circumstances.

This bill would allow Courts to access FAR records during the duration of the services provided under FAR, pursuant to a judicial subpoena and a finding that such information is necessary to a determination before the court. This bill would also provide the subject of a FAR report with access to such records and the authority to disclose them in any relevant proceeding. This bill would also enable local social

services districts to disclose records from a FAR case in a subsequent child protective proceeding before the Family Court.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

The Family Assessment Response was made permanent and expanded to included the City of New York by Chapter 45 of the Laws of 2011. This legislation addresses some issues the Office of Court Administration brought to the attention of the Legislature to improve this valuable program.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately except for section 6 (additional reporting requirements for the annual report of the Office of Children and Family Services.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5746 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE June 14, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to access to records of the differential response program for child protection assessments or investigations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 4 of section 427-a of the social services law, as added by chapter 452 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows: (c) For those reports which are included in the family assessment and services track, the social services district shall not be subject to the requirements of this title concerning initial investigation of reports of suspected abuse and maltreatment of children, including notification requirements. For reports assigned to the family assessment and services track, the social services district shall be responsible for ensuring that the children are safe in their homes. Such safety [check] ASSESS- MENT shall be commenced within twenty-four hours of receipt of the report and completed within seven days. Based on the initial safety [check] ASSESSMENT, the district shall determine if the report shall continue under the family assessment and services track. This safety [check] ASSESSMENT must be documented in the manner specified by the office of children and family services. Should the children be found to be safe in the home, the social services district shall then identify service needs and family issues, if any, that should be addressed. (i) Where the social services district determines, based on the initial safety [check] ASSESSMENT, that the report is appropriate to be included in the family assessment and services track, the social services district shall document the reason for that determination in the initial safety [check] ASSESSMENT and inform the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment that the report is part of the
family assessment and services track and request that the records of the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment of such report be classified as an assessment track case and be legally sealed [in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) of subdivision five of section four hundred twenty-two of this title]. Such sealed reports shall be maintained at the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment for ten years after the report was made. ACCESS TO REPORTS ASSIGNED TO, AND RECORDS CREATED UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK AND INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORTS AND RECORDS IS GOVERNED BY PARAGRAPH (D) OF SUBDIVISION FIVE OF THIS SECTION. (ii) Where the social services district determines, based on the initial safety [check] ASSESSMENT, to investigate the report as a report of suspected child abuse or maltreatment, the social services district shall document the reason for that decision in the initial safety [check] ASSESSMENT. Where the social services district makes the deter- mination to investigate the report, all of the requirements of this title concerning investigations of reports of suspected child abuse and maltreatment shall apply, including the notification requirements. The report shall no longer be eligible to be included in the family assess- ment and services track. S 2. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 5 of section 427-a of the social services law, as added by chapter 452 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows: (b) All records created as part of the family assessment and services track shall include, but not be limited to, documentation of the initial safety [check] ASSESSMENT, the examination of the family's strengths, concerns and needs, all services offered and accepted by the family, the plan for supportive services for the family, all evaluations and assess- ments of the family's progress, and all periodic risk assessments. S 3. Subdivision 5-a of section 422 of the social services law, as added by chapter 452 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows: 5-a. Upon notification from a local social services district, that a report is part of the family assessment and services track pursuant to subparagraph (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivision four of section four hundred twenty-seven-a of this title, the central register shall forth- with identify the report as an assessment track case and legally seal such report. ACCESS TO REPORTS ASSIGNED TO, AND RECORDS CREATED UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK AND INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORTS AND RECORDS IS GOVERNED BY PARAGRAPH (D) OF SUBDIVISION FIVE OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN-A OF THIS TITLE. S 4. Paragraph (d) of subdivision 5 of section 427-a of the social services law, as added by chapter 452 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows: (d) All REPORTS ASSIGNED TO, AND records created [as part of] UNDER, the family assessment and services track, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO REPORTS MADE OR WRITTEN AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INFORMATION OBTAINED OR PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN CONCERNING SUCH REPORTS OR RECORDS shall be confiden- tial and shall be made available only to: (I) staff of the office of children and family services and persons designated by the office of children and family services; (II) the social services district responsible for the FAMILY ASSESS- MENT AND SERVICES TRACK case; (III) community-based agencies that have contracts with the social services district to carry out activities for the district under the family assessment and services track; [and]
(IV) providers of services under the family assessment and services track; [and] (V) any social services district investigating a subsequent report of abuse or maltreatment involving the same subject or the same child or children named in the report; (VI) A COURT, BUT ONLY WHILE THE FAMILY IS RECEIVING SERVICES PROVIDED UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK AND ONLY PURSUANT TO A COURT ORDER OR JUDICIAL SUBPOENA, ISSUED AFTER NOTICE AND AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE SUBJECT OF THE REPORT AND ALL PARTIES TO THE PRESENT PROCEEDING TO BE HEARD, BASED ON A JUDICIAL FINDING THAT SUCH REPORTS, RECORDS, AND ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORTS AND RECORDS, ARE NECESSARY FOR THE DETERMINATION OF AN ISSUE BEFORE THE COURT. SUCH REPORTS, RECORDS AND INFORMATION TO BE DISCLOSED PURSUANT TO A JUDICIAL SUBPOENA SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE COURT FOR INSPECTION AND FOR SUCH DIRECTIONS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO PROTECT CONFIDENTIALITY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO REDACTION OF PORTIONS OF THE REPORTS, RECORDS, AND INFORMATION AND TO DETERMINE ANY FURTHER LIMITS ON REDISCLOSURE IN ADDITION TO THE LIMITA- TIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THIS TITLE. A COURT SHALL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE SEALED FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES REPORTS, RECORDS, AND ANY INFORMA- TION CONCERNING SUCH REPORTS AND RECORDS, AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF SERVICES PROVIDED UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK; AND (VII) THE SUBJECT OF THE REPORT INCLUDED IN THE RECORDS OF THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK. S 5. Subdivision 5 of section 427-a of the social services law is amended by adding a new paragraph (e) to read as follows: (E) PERSONS GIVEN ACCESS TO SEALED REPORTS, RECORDS, AND ANY INFORMA- TION CONCERNING SUCH REPORTS AND RECORDS, PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (D) OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT REDISCLOSE SUCH REPORTS, RECORDS AND INFORMA- TION EXCEPT AS FOLLOWS: (I) THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES AND SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICTS MAY DISCLOSE AGGREGATE, NON-CLIENT IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION; (II) SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICTS, COMMUNITY-BASED AGENCIES THAT HAVE CONTRACTS WITH A SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT TO CARRY OUT ACTIVITIES FOR THE DISTRICT UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK, AND PROVID- ERS OF SERVICES UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK, MAY EXCHANGE SUCH REPORTS, RECORDS AND INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORTS AND RECORDS AS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES RELATED TO THE SAME PERSON OR PERSONS ADDRESSED IN THE RECORDS OF A FAMILY ASSESS- MENT AND SERVICES TRACK CASE; (III) THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE OF A SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT MAY UNSEAL A REPORT, RECORD AND INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORT AND RECORD OF A CASE UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK IN THE EVENT SUCH REPORT, RECORD OR INFORMATION IS RELEVANT TO A SUBSEQUENT REPORT OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT. INFORMATION FROM SUCH AN UNSEALED REPORT OR RECORD THAT IS RELEVANT TO THE SUBSEQUENT REPORT OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND MALTREATMENT MAY BE USED BY THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE FOR PURPOSES OF INVESTIGATION AND FAMILY COURT ACTION CONCERNING THE SUBSEQUENT REPORT AND MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE RECORD OF THE INVESTIGATION OF THE SUBSEQUENT REPORT. IF THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT INITIATES A PROCEEDING UNDER ARTICLE TEN OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH A SUBSEQUENT REPORT OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND MALTREATMENT AND THERE IS INFORMATION IN THE REPORT OR RECORD OF A PREVIOUS CASE UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK THAT IS RELEVANT TO THE PROCEEDING, THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT SHALL INCLUDE SUCH INFORMATION IN THE RECORD OF THE INVESTIGATION OF THE SUBSEQUENT REPORT OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT AND SHALL MAKE THAT
INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO THE FAMILY COURT AND THE OTHER PARTIES FOR USE IN SUCH PROCEEDING PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE INFORMATION INCLUDED FROM THE PREVIOUS CASE UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK SHALL THEN BE SUBJECT TO ALL LAWS AND REGULATIONS REGARDING CONFIDENTIALITY THAT APPLY TO THE RECORD OF THE INVESTIGATION OF SUCH SUBSEQUENT REPORT OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT. THE FAMILY COURT MAY CONSIDER THE INFORMATION FROM THE PREVIOUS CASE UNDER THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK THAT IS RELEVANT TO SUCH PROCEEDING IN MAKING ANY DETER- MINATIONS IN THE PROCEEDING; AND (IV) A SUBJECT OF THE REPORT MAY, AT HIS OR HER DISCRETION, PRESENT A REPORT, RECORDS AND INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORT AND RECORDS FROM THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK CASE, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY PROCEEDING UNDER ARTICLE TEN OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT IN WHICH THE SUBJECT IS A RESPONDENT. A SUBJECT OF THE REPORT ALSO MAY, AT HIS OR HER DISCRETION, PRESENT A REPORT, RECORDS AND INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORT AND RECORDS FROM THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICES TRACK, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE CUSTODY OF, OR VISITA- TION WITH THE SUBJECT'S CHILDREN, OR IN ANY OTHER RELEVANT PROCEEDING. IN MAKING ANY DETERMINATION IN SUCH A PROCEEDING, THE COURT MAY CONSIDER ANY PORTION OF THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICE TRACK REPORT, RECORDS AND ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORT AND RECORDS PRESENTED BY THE SUBJECT OF THE REPORT THAT IS RELEVANT TO THE PROCEEDING. NOTHING IN THIS SUBPARAGRAPH, HOWEVER, SHALL BE INTERPRETED TO AUTHORIZE A COURT TO ORDER THE SUBJECT TO PRODUCE SUCH REPORT, RECORDS OR INFORMATION CONCERNING SUCH REPORT AND RECORDS, IN WHOLE OR IN PART. S 6. Section 426 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 676 of the laws of 1985, is amended to read as follows: S 426. Annual reports. The commissioner shall prepare for inclusion in the annual report required by subdivision (d) of section seventeen of this chapter to be filed with the governor and the legislature prior to December fifteenth of each year, a report on the operations of the state central register of child abuse and maltreatment and the various local child protective services. The report shall include a full statistical analysis of the reports made to the central register together with a report on the implementation of this title, his evaluation of services offered under this chapter and his recommendations for additional legis- lation to fulfill the purposes of this title. Such report shall indicate the number of child abuse and maltreatment reports and cases received by the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment by each district in the preceding year, the number of such cases determined to have been indicated and the number of such cases determined to be unfounded by each district in the preceding year, the number of such cases which have not been indicated or unfounded within the time period required by subdivision seven of section four hundred twenty-four of this chapter by each district in the preceding year and the number of workers assigned to the child protective service in each district in the preceding year. SUCH REPORT SHALL INCLUDE, AMONG OTHER INFORMATION, AVAILABLE DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION AND AVAILABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING THE RACIAL AND ETHNIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FAMILY MEMBERS AND PERSONS SERVED BY THE DIFFERENTIAL RESPONSE PROGRAM PURSUANT TO SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN-A OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, AS WELL AS AVAILABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING THE RACIAL AND ETHNIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FAMILY MEMBERS AND PERSONS SERVICED UNDER THE TRADITIONAL CHILD PROTEC- TIVE SERVICES PROGRAM, IN EACH LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT IN THE STATE. The report shall also contain data on the protection of children in residential care from abuse and maltreatment, including reports
received, results of investigations by types of facilities and programs, types of corrective action taken, as well as efforts undertaken by the department, the division for youth and the state education department to provide training pursuant to standards established by section four hundred sixty-two of this chapter, section five hundred one of the exec- utive law and sections forty-four hundred three, forty-three hundred fourteen, forty-three hundred fifty-eight and forty-two hundred twelve of the education law. S 7. This act shall take effect immediately; provided that section six of this act shall take effect January 1, 2014.

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