Categories of Parties
The following is a list of categories used in the analysis of the state statutes. The
categories consist of the parties permitted access to child abuse records by the federal regulation,
state statute, or both. Many categories are self-defining; however, for those categories that are
not, a definition as developed by the author during the analysis has been provided.
Accused—the suspected perpetrator of child abuse and/or neglect.
Adoption administration—agencies that certify prospective adoptive parents.
Attorneys—attorney of all parties involved in the child abuse investigation, including the
agencies’ attorneys, state prosecutors, the child’s parents’ attorneys, and, if the alleged
perpetrator is not a parent, the perpetrator’s attorney.
Authorized agencies—agencies that “diagnose, care for, treat, or supervise a child who
is the subject of a report;” 231 this was interpreted to include education facilities and
Child advocacy centers—agencies that advocate on behalf of children whom are
suspected to have suffered abuse. Services may include assistance to state agencies in
investigations, counseling, court advocacy, and training of child-welfare investigators.
These agencies are usually non-profit organizations, recognized or certified by some state
or local government agency and may receive funding from the state to continue their
Child-welfare agency—the state agency authorized to receive and investigate reports of
Child/guardian ad litem—the child that is the subject of the abuse report, or his/her
guardian ad litem, a “guardian, [usually] a lawyer, appointed by the court to appear in a
lawsuit on behalf of an incompetent or minor party.” 232
Coroners or medical examiners
Courts—this includes judges and all court officials in their official capacity.
Court determined—any additional parties that the court declares have the right to access
the child abuse reports; this could include the media and general public.
Director of the department—release of the records is at the discretion of the director of
the child welfare department or agency.
Federal programs—the administration of federal programs or federally assisted
programs that provide assistance on the basis of need.
Foster-care review boards—teams developed for the purpose of auditing the child-welfare agency; this includes child fatality review boards and citizen review panels.
Grand juries—a body of people that decides whether to issue indictments. 233
Health-care providers—includes general practitioners, dentists, psychiatrists, and
Investigating or service-providing authority—an entity that investigates reports of
abuse or provides services to children and families, including a person who is legally
authorized to place a child in protective custody.
Law enforcement and corrections—includes police departments, sheriff departments,
parole and probation boards, intake and assessment workers, and the department of
231 45 C.F.R. § 1340.14( i)(2)(vii) (2014).