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AB-597 Child abuse and neglect: information: computerized database system.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 10/09/2017 09:00 PM
AB597:v92#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 597
CHAPTER 581

An act to amend Section 18961.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to child abuse and neglect.

[ Approved by Governor  October 08, 2017. Filed with Secretary of State  October 08, 2017. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 597, Mark Stone. Child abuse and neglect: information: computerized database system.
Existing law allows the Office of Child Abuse Prevention to fund, through allocations provided to local counties, child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention programs. Existing law provides the criteria under which a county selects agency projects and services to be funded under these provisions, including giving priority to private, nonprofit agencies. Existing law authorizes a county to establish a computerized database system within the county to allow designated provider agencies, which include schools, among other entities, to share identifying information regarding families at risk for child abuse or neglect for the purpose of forming multidisciplinary personnel teams for the prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse or neglect or to provide child welfare services. Existing law makes this information confidential and accessible only to authorized persons.
This bill would authorize the Counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo to jointly establish a computerized database system to be used between and among those counties, and would authorize that system to also share specified identifying information regarding families at risk for child abuse or neglect for research purposes. The bill would authorize the sharing of personal identifying information for research purposes only upon approval by an institutional review board. The bill would set forth various conditions for the review and approval of a research project for the purpose of protecting personal identifying information. The bill would provide that, for purposes of this jointly established system, a provider agency also includes local educational agencies. The bill would require the counties to decommission the computerized database system if the ability to share identifying information regarding families at risk for child abuse or neglect between and among the counties and for research purposes becomes available within the statewide child welfare information system. The bill would require any county that establishes a computerized database system under the provisions described above to decommission any duplicative functionality within its computerized database system if any functionality of the county’s computerized database system becomes fully available and deployed within the statewide child welfare information system.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 18961.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

18961.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, any county may establish a computerized database system within that county to allow provider agencies, as defined in subdivision (h), to share identifying information, as specified in subdivision (c), regarding families at risk for child abuse or neglect for all of the following purposes:
(1) Forming a multidisciplinary personnel team, as defined in either subdivision (d) of Section 18951 or paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 18961.7.
(2) The prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse or neglect.
(3) The provision of child welfare services to a child or child’s family.
(b) Each county shall develop its own standards for defining “at risk” before establishing this system. Only information about children, the families of children, and persons living in the child’s home, at risk for child abuse or neglect, may be entered into a computerized database system established pursuant to this section.
(c) When a child or family has been identified as at risk for child abuse or neglect under this section, only the following information shall be entered into the system:
(1) The name, address, telephone number, and date and place of birth of family members and persons living in the child’s home.
(2) The number assigned to the case by each provider agency.
(3) The name and telephone number of each employee assigned to the case, or a contact person, from each provider agency.
(4) The date or dates of contact between each provider agency and a family member or a person living in the child’s home.
(d) The information may only be entered into the system by, or disclosed to, provider agency employees designated by the director of each participating provider agency. Members of the multidisciplinary personnel teams shall be drawn from these designated employees, or other persons, as specified in Section 18961. The heads of provider agencies shall establish a system by which unauthorized personnel cannot access the data contained in the system.
(e) The information obtained pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be used solely for the prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse, child neglect, or both, or for the provision of child welfare services. Any person knowingly and intentionally violating this subdivision shall be subject to any administrative or civil penalties set forth in the respective statutes governing the confidentiality of the records maintained by the provider agencies.
(f) This section shall not supplant any duties required by the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code).
(g) No employee of a provider agency that serves children and their families shall be civilly or criminally liable for furnishing or sharing information as authorized by this section.
(h) For the purposes of this section, “provider agency” means any governmental or other agency that has as one of its purposes the prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse or neglect. The provider agencies serving children and their families that may share information under this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following entities or service agencies:
(1) Social services.
(2) Children’s services.
(3) Health services.
(4) Mental health services.
(5) Probation.
(6) Law enforcement.
(7) Schools.
(i) A county that establishes a computerized database system pursuant to this section shall install system controls to monitor system use and to detect any violations of the system controls.
(j) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the Counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo may jointly establish a computerized database system to be used between and among those counties pursuant to this section.
(2) (A) A computerized database system established pursuant to this subdivision may, in addition to the purposes specified in subdivision (a), share identifying information, as specified in subdivision (c), regarding families at risk for child abuse or neglect for research purposes, the intent of which is to identify ways to better serve these families and to prevent abuse and neglect. The counties may enter into a memorandum of understanding with a research entity for the research purposes. The memorandum of understanding shall include an information sharing agreement. Personal identifying information may only be shared upon approval by an institutional review board. The approval required under this paragraph shall include a review and determination that all of the following criteria have been satisfied:
(i) The researcher has provided a plan sufficient to protect personal identifying information from improper use and disclosures, including sufficient administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect personal identifying information from reasonably anticipated threats to the security or confidentiality of the information.
(ii) The researcher has provided a sufficient plan to destroy or return all personal identifying information as soon as it is no longer needed for the research project, unless the researcher has demonstrated an ongoing need for the personal identifying information for the research project and has provided a long-term plan sufficient to protect the confidentiality of that information.
(iii) The researcher has provided sufficient written assurances that the personal identifying information will not be reused or disclosed to any other person or entity, or used in any manner, not approved in the research protocol, except as required by law or for authorized oversight of the research project.
(B) The institutional review board shall, at a minimum, accomplish all of the following as part of its review and approval of the research project for the purpose of protecting personal identifying information held in the databases established under this section:
(i) Determine whether the requested personal identifying information is needed to conduct the research.
(ii) Permit access to personal identifying information only if it is needed for the research project.
(iii) Permit access only to the minimum necessary personal identifying information needed for the research project.
(iv) Require the assignment of unique subject codes that are not derived from personal identifying information in lieu of social security numbers if the research can still be conducted without social security numbers.
(v) If feasible, and if cost, time, and technical expertise permit, require the county to conduct a portion of the data processing for the researcher to minimize the release of personal identifying information.
(C) Reasonable costs to the county associated with the county’s process of protecting personal identifying information under the conditions of institutional review board approval may be billed to the researcher, including, but not limited to, an agency’s costs for conducting a portion of the data processing for the researcher, removing personal identifying information, encrypting or otherwise securing personal identifying information, or assigning subject codes.
(3) The counties jointly establishing and using a computerized database system pursuant to this subdivision shall install, and be jointly responsible for, agreed-upon system controls to monitor system use and information security to detect any violations that may cause intentional or unintentional disclosure of information to unauthorized users of the system.
(4) For the purposes of a computerized database system established pursuant to this subdivision, “provider agency” includes local educational agencies in addition to the entities or agencies listed in subdivision (h).
(5) If the ability to share identifying information, as described in this subdivision, becomes available within the statewide child welfare information system, the counties shall decommission the computerized database system established pursuant to this subdivision.
(k) If any functionality of a county’s computerized database system developed pursuant to this section becomes fully available and deployed to all counties within the statewide child welfare information system, the county shall decommission the duplicative functionality within its computerized database system.