(A) Each referral,
assessment/investigation and provision of services related to reports of child
abuse, neglect, dependency, or family in need of services (FINS) is
confidential. Information contained in the statewide automated child welfare
information system (SACWIS) is confidential pursuant to section 5101.131 of the
Revised Code. This information may be shared only when dissemination is
authorized by this rule.
(B) If any information is disseminated,
the public children services agency (PCSA) shall notify the receiver of the
information that all of the following apply:
(1) The information is
confidential and is not subject to disclosure pursuant to section 149.43 or
1347.08 of the Revised Code by the agency to whom the information was
dissemination of the contents of the information is in violation of section
2151.421 of the Revised Code.
(3) Anyone who permits or
encourages unauthorized dissemination of the contents of the information
violates section 2151.99 of the Revised Code and such a violation is a
misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(C) The PCSA shall document in SACWIS
that the dissemination of information occurred. Documentation shall include a
summary of all of the following:
(1) The specific
(2) The date the
information was disseminated.
(3) The agency,
organization, or individual to whom the information was
(4) The reason for the
dissemination of information.
(5) If required, written
authorization to disseminate information pursuant to paragraphs (H) and (R) of
(D) When any person commits, causes,
permits, or encourages unauthorized dissemination of information, the PCSA
shall give written notification of such unauthorized dissemination to the
county prosecutor or city director of law and the Ohio department of job and
family services (ODJFS). A copy of the written notification shall be maintained
in the case record.
(E) The PCSA shall not release the
identities of the referent/reporter, and any person providing information
during the course of an assessment/investigation shall remain confidential. The
identities of these individuals shall not be released or affirmed by the PCSA
to any party without the written consent of the individual(s) involved, except
to those individuals outlined in paragraph (F) of this rule.
(F) The PCSA shall release child welfare
information to the following persons or entities:
(1) ODJFS staff with
supervisory responsibility in the administration of Ohio's child welfare
(2) Law enforcement
officials who are investigating a report of child abuse or neglect or that a
person violated section 2921.14 of the Revised Code by knowingly making or
causing another person to make a false report.
(3) The county prosecutor
who is investigating a report of child abuse or neglect or that a person
violated section 2921.14 of the Revised Code by knowingly making or causing
another person to make a false report.
(4) Any PCSA or children
services agency (CSA) assessing/investigating a child abuse or neglect report
involving a principal of the case.
(5) The court, for the
purpose of the issuance of a subpoena to the referent/reporter.
(G) The PCSA shall promptly disseminate
all information determined to be relevant, except as specified in paragraph (E)
of this rule, to any federal, state, or local governmental entity, or any agent
of such entity, with a need for such information in order to carry out its
responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect including
but not limited to:
(1) Law enforcement
officials, as set forth in the child abuse and neglect memorandum of
understanding, to investigate a PCSA report of child abuse or neglect, a report
of a missing child, or a report that a person has violated section 2921.14 of
the Revised Code, by knowingly making or causing another person to make a false
report of child abuse or neglect.
(2) The county
prosecutor, to provide legal advice or initiate legal action on behalf of an
alleged child victim; and to prosecute any person who has violated section
2921.14 of the Revised Code, by knowingly making or causing another person to
make a false report of child abuse or neglect.
(3) A guardian ad litem
or court appointed special advocate pursuant to section 2151.281 of the Revised
Code and the Ohio rules of superintendence rule 48.
(4) Any PCSA or CSA as
defined in rule 5101:2-1-01 of the Administrative Code, which is currently
assessing/investigating a report of child abuse or neglect involving a
principal of the case or providing services to a principal of the case. In an
emergency situation, the requested information may be released by telephone to
a verified representative of a CSA. The PCSA releasing information will verify
the identity, job title and authority/job duties of the CSA representative
prior to releasing any information. All of the following information shall be
(a) The name and role of each principal of the case registered in
any prior report.
(b) The date, allegation and disposition of each report or
(c) The name and telephone number of the county PCSA that
conducted an assessment/investigation or provided services for each
(5) A coroner, to assist
in the evaluation of a child's death due to alleged child abuse and/or
(6) Child abuse and
neglect multidisciplinary team members, for consultation regarding
investigative findings or the development and monitoring of a case
(7) Public service
providers working with a parent, guardian, custodian or caretaker or children
of the family about whom the information is being provided, including but not
(a) Probation officers and caseworkers employed by the court,
adult parole authority, rehabilitation and corrections, or the department of
(b) Employees of the local county boards of developmental
disabilities and employees of the local county boards of alcohol drug addiction
and mental health.
(8) A school
administrator or designee for any child in the custody of the PCSA pursuant to
rule 5101:2-42-90 of the Administrative Code and the Every Student Succeeds Act
of 2015, 20 U.S.C. 6311(g)(1)(E).
(9) The licensing and
supervising authorities of a public or non-public out-of-home care setting in
which child abuse or neglect is alleged to have occurred.
(10) The approving
authority of a kinship care setting in which child abuse or neglect is alleged
to have occurred.
(11) Administrators of
public out-of-home care settings in which child abuse or neglect is alleged to
have occurred including but not limited to:
(a) Psychiatric hospitals managed by the Ohio department of
(b) Institutions managed by county courts for unruly or
(c) Institutions managed by the Ohio department of youth
(d) Institutions or programs managed by the Ohio department of
developmental disabilities or local boards of developmental
(12) Child abuse citizen
review boards upon request.
(13) A child fatality
review board recognized by the Ohio department of health, upon request except
when a county prosecutor intends to prosecute or a judge prohibits release
according to procedures contained in sections 5153.171, 5153.172 and 5153.173
of the Revised Code.
(14) A grand jury or
court, as ordered.
(15) A children's
advocacy center, as set forth in the PCSA child abuse and neglect memorandum of
understanding, to comply with the protocols and procedures for receiving
referrals and conducting investigations, to coordinate activities, and to
provide services for reports alleging sexual abuse or other types of
(16) A CDJFS, for child
care licensure pursuant to section 5153.175 of the Revised Code and for joint
planning and sharing of information pursuant to rule 5101:2-33-28 of the
(H) Except as specified in paragraph (E) of this rule or if
disclosure would jeopardize a criminal investigation or proceeding, the PCSA
shall promptly disseminate all information it determines to be relevant to an
individual or agency, with written authorization from the PCSA director or
designee, when it is believed to be in the best interest of any of the
(1) An alleged child
victim, a child subject of the report, the family, or the
(2) Any child residing
within, or participating in an activity conducted by an out-of-home care
setting when necessary to protect children in that setting.
(3) A child who is an
(I) Upon receiving a request for disclosure to the public
regarding the findings or information about a case of child abuse or neglect
which has resulted in either a child fatality or a near fatality that, as
certified by a physician, placed the child in serious or critical condition,
the PCSA shall prohibit disclosure of such information if it is determined by
the PCSA that any of the following would occur:
(1) Harm to the child or
the child's family.
(2) Jeopardize a criminal
investigation or proceeding.
(3) Interfere with the
protection of those who report child abuse or neglect.
(J) If the PCSA has determined to disclose to the public
information pursuant to paragraph (I) of this rule, the PCSA shall provide all
of the following:
(1) The cause of and
circumstances regarding the fatality or near fatality.
(2) The age and gender of
describing and the findings of any previous reports of child abuse or neglect
assessment/investigations that are pertinent to the child abuse or neglect that
led to the fatality or near fatality.
(4) Any services provided
by the PCSA on behalf of the child that are pertinent to the child abuse or
neglect that led to the fatality or near fatality.
(5) Any actions,
including but not limited to court filings, removals or implementation of
safety plans on behalf of the child that are pertinent to the child abuse or
neglect that led to the fatality or near fatality.
(K) Upon request, the PCSA shall promptly disseminate to a
mandated reporter, who makes a report of child abuse or neglect, information
pursuant to section 2151.421 of the Revised Code.
(1) Whether the PCSA has
initiated an investigation.
(2) Whether the PCSA is
continuing to investigate.
(3) Whether the PCSA is
otherwise involved with the child who is the subject of the
(4) The general status of
the health and safety of the child who is the subject of the
(5) Whether the report
has resulted in the filing of a complaint in juvenile court or of criminal
charges in another court.
(L) The PCSA shall promptly disseminate all information it
determines to be relevant to the principals of the case, in accordance with
Chapter 5101:2-36 of the Administrative Code, to inform them of the
(1) Each allegation
contained in the report.
(2) All report
dispositions resulting from the assessment/investigation.
(3) All case decisions
resulting from the alternative response assessment.
(M) The PCSA shall promptly disseminate all information
determined to be relevant, except as specified in paragraph (E) of this rule,
to all of the following persons or entities:
(1) The non-custodial
parent of the alleged child victim or child subject of the report, and children
being provided services by the PCSA when the PCSA believes such sharing would
be in the best interest of the child.
(2) A physician, for the
diagnostic assessment of a child where there is reason to believe the child may
be a victim of abuse or neglect.
(3) A private service
provider, for diagnostic evaluations of and service provision to the alleged
child victim or child subject of the report and his family.
(4) The administrator of
a non-public out-of-home care setting in which child abuse or neglect is
alleged to have occurred.
(5) A foster, relative
and non-relative caregiver, as required by rule 5101:2-42-90 of the
(6) The superintendent of
public instruction, pursuant to section 5153.176 of the Revised Code, when the
report involves a person who holds a license issued by the state board of
education where the agency has determined that child abuse or neglect occurred
and that abuse or neglect is related to the person's duties and
responsibilities under the license.
(N) The PCSA shall utilize information outlined in paragraph (O)
of this rule obtained from the alleged perpetrator search within SACWIS for the
purpose of a background check for any of the following:
(1) Foster care
licensure, pursuant to Chapters 5101:2-5 and 5101:2-7 of the Administrative
(2) An adoption
homestudy, pursuant to Chapter 5101:2-48 of the Administrative
(3) A relative or
non-relative caregiver approval for placement, pursuant to rule 5101:2-42-18 of
the Administrative Code.
(O) The PCSA shall consider reports that meet the following
criteria when the information is being used for a background check in
accordance with paragraphs (N) and (G) (16) of this rule:
(1) Substantiated reports
where the subject of the search was the alleged perpetrator.
(2) Indicated reports
where the subject of the search was the alleged perpetrator.
(P) If releasing information pursuant to
paragraphs (N) and (G) (16) of this rule, the PCSA shall not release any
information pertaining to an unsubstantiated report or an alternative response
(Q) The PCSA shall refer any individual who inquires whether his
or her name has been placed or remains within SACWIS as the alleged perpetrator
of child abuse and/or neglect to ODJFS. An individual may submit a request to
ODJFS. The request must contain the following:
(1) The individual's
full name, including maiden and any other names utilized; address; date of
birth and social security number.
(2) A copy of two of the
following forms of identification, with at least one containing the
individual's social security number:
(a) Social security card.
(b) Driver license.
(c) State identification card.
(d) Birth certificate.
(e) Passport or travel visa.
(R) At his or her sole discretion, a PCSA director or designee
may disseminate information to a researcher in the area of child welfare, if
the information is determined to be relevant to the researcher, and the results
of the research will be beneficial to the county PCSA in administering child
welfare programs/services. Authorization of the dissemation shall be
documented. No direct access to SACWIS or any other state of Ohio database
shall be requested by or on behalf of, nor approved for or granted to, any
researcher pursuant to rule 5101:2-33-70 of the Administrative Code. The PCSA
shall disclose only the minimum information needed by the researcher to perform
the study, and, prior to disseminating information to any researcher, the PCSA
shall require the researcher to sign an agreement which addresses all of the
(1) The researcher shall
not disseminate confidential information containing names or data by which any
individual or out-of-home care setting could be identified or deductively
(2) The PCSA shall review
the research prior to its dissemination or publication to ensure that the
research is void of names or data by which any individual or out-of-home care
setting could be identified or deductively inferred.
(3) The researcher shall
accept liability for unauthorized dissemination of information.