S-0744.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5145



State of Washington      55th Legislature     1997 Regular Session


By Senators Stevens, Long, Schow and Anderson


Read first time 01/16/97.  Referred to Committee on Human Services & Corrections.


Requiring that department of social and health services records of children who have died from abuse or neglect be provided to legislative committees.

    AN ACT Relating to department of social and health services records of children who have died from abuse or neglect; and amending RCW 74.04.060.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 74.04.060 and 1987 c 435 s 29 are each amended to read as follows:

    For the protection of applicants and recipients, the department and the county offices and their respective officers and employees are prohibited, except as hereinafter provided, from disclosing the contents of any records, files, papers and communications, except for purposes directly connected with the administration of the programs of this title.  In any judicial proceeding, except such proceeding as is directly concerned with the administration of these programs, such records, files, papers and communications, and their contents, shall be deemed privileged communications and except for the right of any individual to inquire of the office whether a named individual is a recipient of welfare assistance and such person shall be entitled to an affirmative or negative answer.  However, upon written request of a parent who has been awarded visitation rights in an action for divorce or separation or any parent with legal custody of the child, the department shall disclose to him or her the last known address and location of his or her natural or adopted children.  The secretary shall adopt rules which establish procedures for disclosing the address of the children and providing, when appropriate, for prior notice to the custodian of the children.  The notice shall state that a request for disclosure has been received and will be complied with by the department unless the department receives a copy of a court order which enjoins the disclosure of the information or restricts or limits the requesting party's right to contact or visit the other party or the child.  Information supplied to a parent by the department shall be used only for purposes directly related to the enforcement of the visitation and custody provisions of the court order of separation or decree of divorce.  No parent shall disclose such information to any other person except for the purpose of enforcing visitation provisions of the said order or decree.

    The county offices shall maintain monthly at their offices a report showing the names and addresses of all recipients in the county receiving public assistance under this title, together with the amount paid to each during the preceding month.

    If the death certificate of a child subject to agency authority under chapter 13.34, 74.13, 74.14A, 74.14B, or 74.14C RCW states that the child died from abuse or neglect, all records of the agency pertinent to the case must be made available to the Washington state senate human services and corrections committee and the Washington state house of representatives children and family services committee.

    The provisions of this section shall not apply to duly designated representatives of approved private welfare agencies, public officials, members of legislative interim committees and advisory committees when performing duties directly connected with the administration of this title, such as regulation and investigation directly connected therewith:  PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That any information so obtained by such persons or groups shall be treated with such degree of confidentiality as is required by the federal social security law.

    It shall be unlawful, except as provided in this section, for any person, body, association, firm, corporation or other agency to solicit, publish, disclose, receive, make use of, or to authorize, knowingly permit, participate in or acquiesce in the use of any lists or names for commercial or political purposes of any nature.  The violation of this section shall be a gross misdemeanor.


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