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§ 6340.  Release of information in confidential reports.

(a)  General rule.--Reports specified in section 6339 (relating to confidentiality of reports) shall only be made available to:

(1)  An authorized official of a county agency, of a Federal agency that has a need for such information to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect or of an agency of another state that performs protective services analogous to those services performed by county agencies or the department in the course of the official's duties, multidisciplinary team members assigned to the case and duly authorized persons providing services pursuant to section 6370(a) (relating to voluntary or court-ordered services; findings of child abuse).

(2)  A physician examining or treating a child or the director or a person specifically designated in writing by the director of any hospital or other medical institution where a child is being treated when the physician or the director or the designee of the director suspects the child of being an abused child or a child alleged to be in need of protection under this chapter.

(3)  A guardian ad litem or court designated advocate for the child.

(4)  An authorized official or agent of the department in accordance with department regulations or in accordance with the conduct of a performance audit as authorized by section 6343 (relating to investigating performance of county agency).

(5)  A court of competent jurisdiction, including a magisterial district judge, a judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court and a judge of the Pittsburgh Magistrates Court, pursuant to court order or subpoena in a criminal matter involving a charge of child abuse under section 6303(b) (relating to definitions). Disclosure through testimony shall be subject to the restrictions of subsection (c).

(5.1)  A court of common pleas in connection with any matter involving custody of a child as set forth in sections 5328 (relating to factors to consider when awarding custody) and 5329.1 (relating to consideration of child abuse and involvement with protective services).

(6)  A standing committee of the General Assembly, as specified in section 6384 (relating to legislative oversight).

(7)  The Attorney General.

(8)  Federal auditors if required for Federal financial participation in funding of agencies except that Federal auditors may not remove identifiable reports or copies thereof from the department or county agencies.

(9)  Law enforcement officials of any jurisdiction, as long as the information is relevant in the course of investigating cases of:

(i)  Homicide or other criminal offense set forth in section 6344(c) (relating to employees having contact with children; adoptive and foster parents), sexual abuse or exploitation, bodily injury or serious bodily injury caused by a perpetrator or nonperpetrator.

(ii)  Child abuse other than that identified under subparagraph (i) by a nonperpetrator.

(iii)  Repeated physical injury to a child under circumstances which indicate that the child's health, safety or welfare is harmed or threatened.

(iv)  A missing child report.

(v)  Severe forms of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined under section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 1466, 22 U.S.C. § 7102).

(10)  The district attorney's office or other law enforcement official, as set forth in county protocols for multidisciplinary investigative teams required in section 6365(c) (relating to services for prevention, investigation and treatment of child abuse), shall receive, immediately after the county agency has ensured the safety of the child, reports of abuse according to regulations, from the department or county agency in which the initial report of suspected child abuse or initial inquiry into the report gives evidence that the abuse is:

(i)  a criminal offense set forth under section 6344.3 (relating to grounds for denying employment or participation in program, activity or service), not including an offense under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children) or an equivalent crime under Federal law or law of another state; or

(ii)  child abuse under section 6334.1 (relating to responsibility for investigation).

(11)  Designated county officials, in reviewing the competence of the county agency or its employees pursuant to this chapter. Officials under this paragraph are limited to the following:

(i)  The board of commissioners in counties other than counties of the first class.

(ii)  Mayor in a city of the first class under the act of April 21, 1949 (P.L.665, No.155), known as the First Class City Home Rule Act.

(iii)  An individual serving as a county chief executive as designated by a county home rule charter or optional plan form of government pursuant to the act of April 13, 1972 (P.L.184, No.62), known as the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law.

(12)  A mandated reporter of suspected child abuse under section 6311 (relating to persons required to report suspected child abuse) who made a report of abuse involving the subject child shall be limited to the following:

(i)  Whether the child abuse report is indicated, founded or unfounded.

(ii)  Any services provided, arranged for or to be provided by the county agency to protect the child.

(13)  School administrators and child-care service employers, as provided under this paragraph. The following shall apply:

(i)  If the alleged perpetrator is a school employee or child-care service employee, school administrators and child-care service employers shall receive notice of a pending allegation and the final status of the report following the investigation as to whether the report is indicated, founded or unfounded.

(ii)  Information disclosed pursuant to this paragraph shall be provided to the school administrator or child-care service employer within ten days of the completion of the investigation.

(iii)  If the perpetrator is a school employee, the notice of the final status of the report shall be sent to the Department of Education within ten days of the completion of the investigation.

(14)  A prospective adoptive parent, approved by an adoption agency, when considering adopting an abused child in the custody of a county agency. The county agency having custody of the child and the adoption agency shall determine the scope and detail of information which must be provided so that the prospective parent may make an informed decision to adopt.

(15)  Appropriate officials of another county or state regarding an investigation related to child abuse or protective services when a family has moved to that county or state. Reports under this paragraph shall include general protective service reports and related information. Reports and information under this paragraph shall be provided within seven calendar days. The department shall promulgate regulations as necessary to carry out the purposes of this paragraph.

(16)  Members of citizen review panels convened pursuant to section 6343.1 (relating to citizen review panels), provided that such members shall not disclose to any person or government official any identifying information about any specific child protective services case with respect to which the panel is provided information.

(17)  A member of a child fatality or near fatality review team under section 6365(d).

(18)  The Department of the Auditor General in conjunction with the performances of the duties designated to the Office of Auditor General, except that the Auditor General may not remove identifiable reports or copies thereof from the department or county agency.

(b)  Release of information to subject.--Upon a written request, a subject of a report may receive a copy of all information, except that prohibited from being disclosed by subsection (c), contained in the Statewide database or in any report filed pursuant to section 6313 (relating to reporting procedure).

(c)  Protecting identity.--Except for reports under subsection (a)(9) and (10) and in response to a law enforcement official investigating allegations of false reports under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4906.1 (relating to false reports of child abuse), the release of data by the department, county, institution, school, facility or agency or designated agent of the person in charge that would identify the person who made a report of suspected child abuse or who cooperated in a subsequent investigation is prohibited. Law enforcement officials shall treat all reporting sources as confidential informants.

(d)  Exclusion of information.--Except as provided under section 6341(c.2)(4) (relating to amendment or expunction of information), information maintained in the Statewide database obtained from an investigating agency in relation to an appeal request shall not be released to any person except a department official. Information in the Statewide database or a confidential report provided under section 6341(c.2)(4) shall be subject to subsection (c).

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(Dec. 16, 1994, P.L.1292, No.151, eff. July 1, 1995; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127; Nov. 30, 2004, P.L.1618, No.207, eff. 60 days; Nov. 9, 2006, P.L.1358, No.146, eff. 180 days; July 3, 2008, P.L.276, No.33, eff. 180 days; Dec. 18, 2013, P.L.1167, No.107, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; Apr. 7, 2014, P.L.388, No.29, eff. Dec. 31, 2014; Oct. 22, 2014, P.L.2529, No.153, eff. Dec. 31, 2014; July 1, 2015, P.L.94, No.15, eff. imd.; Oct. 28, 2016, P.L.966, No.115, eff. imd.)

 

2016 Amendment.  Act 115 added subsec. (a)(9)(v).

2015 Amendment.  Act 15 added subsec. (a)(18).

2014 Amendments.  Act 29 amended subsecs. (a)(9), (10), (12) and (13), (b), (c) and (d) and Act 153 amended subsecs. (a)(9)(i) and (c).

2013 Amendment.  Act 107 amended subsec. (a)(5.1). See section 6 of Act 107 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

2008 Amendment.  Act 33 added subsec. (a)(17).

2006 Amendment.  Act 146 amended subsec. (a)(1) and added subsec. (a)(16).

2004 Amendment.  Act 207 amended subsec. (a)(5). See section 29 of Act 207 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to construction of law.

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 amended subsec. (a)(5), (9) and (10) and added subsec. (a)(15), effective immediately as to subsec. (a)(5) and (15) and March 1, 1999, as to the remainder of the section.

References in Text.  The act of April 13, 1972 (P.L.184, No.62), known as the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, referred to in subsec. (a), was repealed by the act of December 19, 1996 (P.L.1158, No.177). The subject matter is now contained in Subpart E of Part III of Title 53 (Municipalities Generally).

Cross References.  Section 6340 is referred to in sections 5329.1, 6314, 6334, 6335, 6341, 6343, 6346, 6365, 6375 of this title.