ACL 08-13: Reporting And Public Release Of Records In Cases Of Child Fatality Or Near Fatality As A Result Of Abuse Or Neglect (3/14/08)

This letter clarifies the implementation of SB 39, pertaining to the disclosure of child fatality information, and includes a revised reporting form. This policy is not retroactive for cases prior to January 1, 2008. SB 39 requires that local agencies respond directly to public requests for information related to a child fatality that is the result of abuse or neglect. The Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), requires that states disclose to the public findings and information about cases of child abuse and neglect that result in fatalities or near fatalities. The SOC 826 has been revised and renamed Child Fatality/Near Fatality County Statement of Findings and Information, to reflect the reporting requirements of SB 39 and to remain in compliance with CAPTA. The county must submit the SOC 826 for ALL cases of child fatalities if there is reasonable suspicion that it is as a result of abuse or neglect within five business days of learning of the incident, with follow up within 10 days.

The ACL also covers which county is responsible for the report. If the county determines that the fatality/near fatality was the result of abuse or neglect, it must respond to a public inquiry and provide information, as listed in the ACL. If the investigation does NOT conclude that the death/injury was from abuse/neglect, the county is to provide NO information. The letter also reviews the standards and process for objections to to the release of documentation, and agency comments regarding the information released. And what’s a bureaucracy without a discussion of documentation of files issues and annual reporting? [Download]