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7.2 TITLE IV-B, Confidentiality

Items with a star (*) and gray background have been modified from previous record.

Question Number 6:
06/19/2008 - Current
Question*Some States have enacted laws that allow open courts for juvenile protection proceedings, including child in need of protection or services hearings, termination of parental rights hearings, long-term foster care hearings and in courts where dependency petitions are heard. Questions have arisen about whether courts that are open to the public and allow a verbal exchange of confidential information meet the confidentiality requirements under title IV-B. Do the confidentiality provisions for title IV-B restrict the information that can be discussed in open court?
Answer*No. Section 471(c) of the Social Security Act allows States to set their own policies relating to public access to court proceedings to determine child abuse and neglect or other court hearings held pursuant to titles IV-B or IV-E. Such policies must, at a minimum, ensure the safety and well-being of the child, his or her parents and family.
Source/Date*06/19/08
Legal and Related References*Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(8) and (c)

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04/01/2001 - 06/19/2008 (Original Record)
QuestionSome States have enacted laws that allow open courts for juvenile protection proceedings, including child in need of protection or services hearings, termination of parental rights hearings, long-term foster care hearings and in courts where dependency petitions are heard. Questions have arisen about whether courts that are open to the public and allow a verbal exchange of confidential information meet the confidentiality requirements under title IV-B. Do the confidentiality provisions for title IV-B restrict the information that can be discussed in open court?
AnswerYes. The purpose of the confidentiality provision is to protect the privacy rights of individuals receiving services or assistance under this program and to assure that confidential information is not disclosed to unauthorized recipients. Although, under title IV-B, confidential information may be shared with the courts, there is no provision which allows for public disclosure of such information. The confidentiality requirements of title IV-B do not prohibit open courts per se. However, to the extent that the proceedings involve discussion of confidential information concerning a child or family who is receiving the title IV-B child welfare services, the confidentiality requirements apply. Accordingly, such information cannot be discussed in a public forum, including an open court. To the extent that confidential information is relevant to the proceedings, it must be discussed in the court''s chambers or some other restricted setting, and the pertinent sections of the transcript must be kept confidential as well.

Violation of the Federal confidentiality provision is a State plan compliance issue under title IV-B.

Source/DateACYF-CB-PIQ-98-01 (6/29/98)
Legal and Related ReferencesSocial Security Act - section 471 (a)(8); Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106; 45 CFR 205.50; 45 CFR 1355.21 (a)

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