(1) For purposes of this section:

Terms Used In Nebraska Statutes 81-3126

  • Allegation: something that someone says happened.
  • Attorney: shall mean attorney at law. See Nebraska Statutes 49-801
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Person: shall include bodies politic and corporate, societies, communities, the public generally, individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies, joint-stock companies, and associations. See Nebraska Statutes 49-801
  • Process: shall mean a summons, subpoena, or notice to appear issued out of a court in the course of judicial proceedings. See Nebraska Statutes 49-801
  • State: when applied to different states of the United States shall be construed to extend to and include the District of Columbia and the several territories organized by Congress. See Nebraska Statutes 49-801

(a) Chief executive officer means the chief executive officer of the Department of Health and Human Services;

(b) Child abuse or neglect has the same meaning as in section 28-710 ;

(c) Child fatality means the death of a child from suspected abuse, neglect, or maltreatment as determined by the county coroner or county attorney;

(d) Department means the Department of Health and Human Services;

(e) Director means the Director of Children and Family Services;

(f) Division means the Division of Children and Family Services of the Department of Health and Human Services; and

(g) Near fatality means a case in which an examining physician determines that a child is in serious or critical condition as the result of sickness or injury caused by suspected abuse, neglect, or maltreatment.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, the chief executive officer or director may disclose information regarding child abuse or neglect and the investigation of and any services related to the child abuse and neglect if the chief executive officer or director determines that such disclosure is not contrary to the best interests of the child, the child’s siblings, or other children in the household, and any one of the following factors is present:

(a) The alleged perpetrator of the child abuse or neglect has been charged with committing a crime related to the report of child abuse or neglect maintained by the division;

(b) A judge, a law enforcement agency official, a county attorney, or another state or local investigative agency or official has publicly disclosed the provision of services related to or the investigation of the child abuse or neglect;

(c) An individual who is the parent, custodian, foster parent, provider, or guardian of the victim or a child victim over fourteen years of age has made a prior knowing, voluntary, public disclosure;

(d) The information relates to a child fatality or near fatality;

(e) The information is released to confirm, clarify, or correct information concerning an allegation or actual instance of child abuse or neglect which has been made public by sources outside the department; or

(f) A child who is in the custody of the department is missing from his or her placement, in which case the chief executive officer or director may release the name and physical description of the child.

(3) Information that may be disclosed includes, but is not limited to, child placement, whether in-home or out-of-home, terms of contact, hearing dates, the reason for removal from parents or placement, the number of placements and type, permanency objectives, court-ordered services or other services provided by the division, and status of the court process. The following information shall not be released by the chief executive officer or director absent a court order: Date of birth, social security number, protected health information, the name of the person who made the report of child abuse or neglect pursuant to section 28-711, and names of foster parents, unless the foster parent is the alleged perpetrator.

(4) The chief executive officer or director may release the results of criminal history record checks that have been completed by the division as authorized by law.

(5) For purposes of this section, the best interests of the child, the child’s siblings, or other children in the household does not allow the disclosure of information that would impede a pending or current criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency.

(6) The division may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out this section.