Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 4.4. Office of the Children's Ombudsman

§ 2.2-446. Confidentiality of record of Children's Ombudsman; disclosure; limitations; release of certain information.

A. Subject to subsections B through F, a record of the Office is confidential, shall only be used for purposes set forth in this chapter, is not subject to court subpoena, and is not discoverable in a legal proceeding. If the Ombudsman identifies action or inaction by the state through its agencies or services that failed to protect children, the Ombudsman shall provide any findings and recommendations to the agency affected by those findings, and make those findings and recommendations available to the complainant and the General Assembly upon request, to the extent consistent with state or federal law. The Ombudsman shall not disclose any information that impairs the rights of the child or the child's parents or guardians.

B. Unless otherwise part of the public record, the Office shall not release any of the following confidential information to the general public:

1. Records relating to a mental health evaluation or treatment of a parent or child;

2. Records relating to the evaluation or treatment of a substance abuse-related disorder of a parent or child;

3. Records relating to a medical diagnosis or treatment of a parent or child;

4. Records relating to domestic violence-related services and sexual assault services provided to a parent or child; or

5. Records relating to educational services provided to a parent or child.

C. Notwithstanding subsection B, if the Ombudsman determines that disclosure of confidential information is necessary to identify, prevent, or respond to the abuse or neglect of a child, the Ombudsman may disclose such information to the Department or local department, a court, a law-enforcement agency, or a prosecuting attorney investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse or child neglect. The Ombudsman shall not release the address, telephone number, or other information regarding the whereabouts of a victim or suspected victim of domestic violence unless ordered to by a court.

D. Except as provided in subsection C, the Ombudsman shall not disclose information relating to an ongoing law-enforcement investigation or an ongoing child protective services investigation. The Ombudsman may release the results of its investigation to a complainant, or an individual not meeting the definition of complainant, if the Ombudsman receives notification that releasing the results of its investigation is not related to and will not interfere with an ongoing law-enforcement investigation or ongoing child protective services investigation.

E. The Ombudsman shall not disclose the identity of an individual making a child abuse or child neglect complaint unless that individual's written permission is obtained first or a court has ordered the Ombudsman to release such information.

F. The Ombudsman may release an individual's identity who makes an intentionally false report of child abuse or child neglect, subject to other laws relating to such disclosure.

2020, c. 1090.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.