2015 ORS 409.225¹
Confidentiality of child welfare records, files, papers and communications
  • when disclosure required

(1) In the interest of family privacy and for the protection of children, families and other recipients of services, the Department of Human Services shall not disclose or use the contents of any child welfare records, files, papers or communications that contain any information about an individual child, family or other recipient of services for purposes other than those directly connected with the administration of child welfare laws or unless required or authorized by ORS 419A.255 (Maintenance) or 419B.035 (Confidentiality of records). The records, files, papers and communications are confidential and are not available for public inspection. General information, policy statements, statistical reports or similar compilations of data are not confidential unless such information is identified with an individual child, family or other recipient of services or protected by other provision of law.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, unless exempt from disclosure under ORS chapter 192, the department shall disclose child welfare records:

(a) About a recipient of services, to the recipient if the recipient is 18 years of age or older or is legally emancipated, unless prohibited by court order;

(b) Regarding a specific individual if the individual gives written authorization to release confidential information;

(c) Concerning a child receiving services on a voluntary basis, to the child’s parent or legal guardian;

(d) To the juvenile court in proceedings regarding the child; and

(e) Concerning a child who is or has been in the custody of the department, to the child’s parent or legal guardian except:

(A) When the child objects; or

(B) If disclosure would be contrary to the best interests of any child or could be harmful to the person caring for the child.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, unless exempt from disclosure under ORS chapter 192, the department shall disclose child welfare records, if in the best interests of the child, to:

(a) Treatment providers, foster parents, adoptive parents, school officials or other persons providing services to the child or family to the extent that such disclosure is necessary to provide services to the child or family; or

(b) A person designated as a member of a sensitive review committee convened by the Director of Human Services when the purpose of the committee is to determine whether the department acted appropriately and to make recommendations to the department regarding policy and practice.

(4) Any record disclosed under subsection (1), (2) or (3) of this section shall be kept confidential by the person or entity to whom the record is disclosed and shall be used only for the purpose for which disclosure was made.

(5) Unless exempt from disclosure under ORS chapter 192, when an adult who is the subject of information made confidential by subsection (1) of this section publicly reveals or causes to be revealed any significant part of the confidential matter or information, the protections afforded by subsection (1) of this section are presumed voluntarily waived and confidential information about the person making or causing the public disclosure, not already disclosed but related to the information made public, may be disclosed if disclosure is in the best interests of the child or necessary to the administration of the child welfare laws.

(6) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, unless exempt from disclosure under ORS chapter 192, the department shall disclose information related to the department’s activities and responsibilities in a case where child abuse or neglect has resulted in a child fatality or near fatality or where an adult has been charged with a crime related to child abuse or neglect.

(7) Notwithstanding subsections (2), (3), (5) and (6) of this section, ORS 192.501 (Public records conditionally exempt from disclosure) (3) shall apply to investigatory information compiled for criminal law purposes that may be in the possession of the department.

(8) As used in this section, "adult" means a person who is 18 years of age or older. [1997 c.415 §1; 2001 c.900 §69]

Notes of Decisions

Reports and other ma­te­ri­al relating to child's history and prognosis within meaning of ORS 419A.255 (Maintenance) are privileged against discovery under ORCP 36, whereas other reports and ma­te­ri­al are confidential but not privileged. Kahn v. Pony Express Courier Corp., 173 Or App 127, 20 P3d 837 (2001), Sup Ct review denied

Chapter 409

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Use of division's client records by an­oth­er depart­mental division, (1974) Vol 37, p 186


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 409—Department of Human Services, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors409.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 409, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano409.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.