1. With respect to each child described in subdivision one of section four hundred nine-e of this title, the social services district shall establish and maintain a uniform case record, consisting of the assessment, the family service plan, descriptions of care, maintenance or services provided to such child and family and the dates provided, essential data relating to the identification and history of such child and family, all official documents and records of any judicial or administrative proceedings relating to the district’s contact with the child and family, and such other records as the department may by regulation require to adequately review case management by the districts. The department shall by regulation specify the format and contents of the uniform case record. Such regulation shall be developed in consultation with public and voluntary authorized agencies, citizens’ groups and concerned individuals and organizations, including the state council on children and families. The uniform case record shall be maintained by the district in a manner consistent with the confidential nature of such records and shall be made available in accordance with applicable provisions of law. When a hearing has been requested in accordance with section twenty-two of this chapter, a copy of the portions of the record relevant to the hearing shall also be made available to the child’s parent or guardian, counsel for the parent or guardian, and, if participating in the hearing, the child’s attorney.
2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, uniform case record information governed by this section may be released by the department, social services district or other provider of child welfare services to a person, agency or organization for purposes of a bona fide research project. Identifying information shall not be made available, however, unless it is absolutely essential to the research purpose and the department gives prior approval. Information released pursuant to this subdivision shall not be re-disclosed except as otherwise permitted by law and upon the approval of the department.
3. (a) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law to the contrary, records relating to children pursuant to this section shall be made available to officers and employees of the state comptroller or of the city comptroller of the city of New York, or of the county officer designated bylaw or charter to perform the auditing function in any county not wholly contained within a city, for purposes of a duly authorized performance audit; provided, however, that such comptroller or officer shall have certified to the keeper of such records that he or she has instituted procedures developed in consultation with the department to limit access to client-identifiable information to persons requiring such information for purposes of the audit, that such persons shall not use such information in any way except for purposes of the audit and that appropriate controls and prohibitions are imposed on the dissemination of client-identifiable information obtained in the conduct of the audit. Information pertaining to the substance or content of any psychological, psychiatric, therapeutic, clinical or medical reports, evaluations or like materials or information pertaining to such child or the child’s family shall not be made available to such officers and employees unless disclosure of such information is absolutely essential to the specific audit activity and the department gives prior written approval.
(b) Any failure to maintain the confidentiality of client-identifiable information shall subject such comptroller or officer to denial of any further access to records until such time as the audit agency has reviewed its procedures concerning controls and prohibitions imposed on the dissemination of such information and has taken all reasonable and
steps to eliminate such lapses in maintaining confidentiality to the satisfaction of the department. The department shall establish the grounds for denial of access to records contained under this section and shall recommend as necessary a plan of remediation to the audit agency. Except as provided in this section, nothing in this subdivision shall be construed as limiting the powers of such comptroller or officer to access records which he is otherwise authorized to audit or obtain under any other applicable provision of law. Any person given access to information pursuant to this subdivision who releases data or information to persons or agencies not authorized to receive such information shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.