The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 33: Human Services

Chapter 49: CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

Sub-Chapter 02: Reporting Abuse Of Children

33 V.S.A. § 4921. Department's records of abuse and neglect



§ 4921. Department's records of abuse and neglect

(a) The Commissioner shall maintain all records of all investigations, assessments, reviews, and responses initiated under this subchapter. The Department may use and disclose information from such records in the usual course of its business, including to assess future risk to children, to provide appropriate services to the child or members of the child's family, or for other legal purposes.

(b) The Commissioner shall promptly inform the parents, if known, or guardian of the child that a report has been accepted as a valid allegation pursuant to subsection 4915(b) of this title and the Department's response to the report. The Department shall inform the parent or guardian of his or her ability to request records pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. This section shall not apply if the parent or guardian is the subject of the investigation.

(c) Upon request, the redacted investigation file shall be disclosed to:

(1) the child's parents, foster parent, or guardian, absent good cause shown by the Department, provided that the child's parent, foster parent, or guardian is not the subject of the investigation; and

(2) the person alleged to have abused or neglected the child, as provided for in subsection 4916a(d) of this title.

(d) Upon request, Department records created under this subchapter shall be disclosed to:

(1) the court, parties to the juvenile proceeding, and the child's guardian ad litem if there is a pending juvenile proceeding or if the child is in the custody of the Commissioner;

(2) the Commissioner or person designated by the Commissioner to receive such records;

(3) persons assigned by the Commissioner to conduct investigations;

(4) law enforcement officers engaged in a joint investigation with the Department, an assistant attorney general, or a state's attorney;

(5) other State agencies conducting related inquiries or proceedings; and

(6) a Probate Division of the Superior Court involved in guardianship proceedings. The Probate Division of the Superior Court shall provide a copy of the record to the respondent, the respondent's attorney, the petitioner, the guardian upon appointment, and any other individual, including the proposed guardian, determined by the Court to have a strong interest in the welfare of the respondent.

(e)(1) Upon request, relevant Department records created under this subchapter may be disclosed to:

(A) service providers working with a person or child who is the subject of the report; and

(B) other governmental entities for purposes of child protection.

(2) Determinations of relevancy shall be made by the Department. (Added 2007, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011.)