senate Bill S7127

Relates to the disclosure of information pertaining to a child abuse and neglect investigation

download pdf

Sponsor

Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
view actions

actions

  • 30 / Apr / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • 28 / May / 2014
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.1005
  • 29 / May / 2014
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 02 / Jun / 2014
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 20 / Jun / 2014
    • COMMITTED TO RULES

Summary

Relates to the disclosure of information pertaining to a child abuse and neglect investigation.

do you support this bill?

Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A9437
Versions:
S7127
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง422-a, Soc Serv L

Votes

5
0
5
Aye
0
Nay
1
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Children and Families committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7127

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation
to disclosure of information pertaining to a child abuse and neglect
investigation

PURPOSE:

This bill would prohibit prosecuting any city or county social
services commissioner for disclosing information pertaining to a child
abuse or maltreatment investigation if done so in good faith adherence
to New York State law.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS OF BILL:

Section 1 of the bill adds a new paragraph 8 to Section 422-a of the
Social Services Law to prohibit prosecuting any city or county social
services commissioner for disclosing information pertaining to a child
abuse or maltreatment investigation if done in good faith adherence to
the standards contained in Section 422-a of such law.

Section 2: Effective Date.

JUSTIFICATION:

Section 422-a of Social Services law provides criteria that, if met,
allows a city or county social services commissioner to disclose
information pertaining to a child abuse or maltreatment investigation.

In enacting Section 422-a in Section 1 of Chapter 12 of the Laws of
1996 the Legislature stated:

"Legislative Intent. The legislature finds that the deaths of children
due to abuse, neglect and maltreatment, despite the involvement of
government agencies charged with protecting children is intolerable
and unacceptable, and finds equally unacceptable laws which bar
legitimate and appropriate inquiries about activities of such agencies
in these cases, for they frustrate the ability of the legislature to
set informed policy and act in an appropriate oversight capacity;
impair the ability of independent government agencies to determine the
effectiveness of services, staff and funding; corrode public trust;
and undermine the right of the public to determine whether abused
children are being adequately protected.

"The legislature therefore finds a compelling need to reform the
confidentiality laws and declares its intent, by enactment of this
act, to increase the capacity for oversight and monitoring of the
child welfare system, and to increase information available to the
public and to increase accountability among the agencies involved in
the system.

"The legislature finds that the privacy of children and their families
in abuse, neglect and maltreatment cases must be safeguarded, but that
the interests of children, their families and the public are best
protected by increased knowledge and oversight concerning the system,
and by greater accountability, and therefore declares that such


privacy must be balanced with appropriate release of information
concerning such cases."

The legislative intent to allow a balancing of privacy issues with the
need for the legislature and public to know what occurred in certain
cases has never been realized. The criminal penalty for improper
disclosure contained in Section 422 of the Social Services Law along
with the interpretation of the law by the Office of Children and
Families has created a chilling effect that thwarts the intent of
Section 422-a.

By removing the threat of criminal prosecution, Commissioners of
Social Services who make a good faith effort to comply with Section
422-a of the Social Services Law will be able to exercise their own
best judgment regarding the balancing that is called for by the
Legislature without fear of being prosecuted.

This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of
the Erie County Executive upon the recommendation of the county's
Commissioner of Social Services to improve the provision of child
protective services to New York's children and families.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

    S. 7127                                                  A. 9437

                      S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y

                             April 30, 2014
                               ___________

IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. KENNEDY -- read twice and ordered print-
  ed,  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and
  Families

IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. PEOPLES-STOKES --  read  once  and
  referred to the Committee on Children and Families

AN  ACT  to  amend the social services law, in relation to disclosure of
  information pertaining to a child abuse and neglect investigation

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Section  422-a  of  the social services law is amended by
adding a new subdivision 8 to read as follows:
  8. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY INCONSISTENT PROVISION OF LAW TO THE  CONTRARY,
ANY  DISCLOSURE  OF INFORMATION MADE BY A CITY OR COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES
COMMISSIONER PURSUANT TO A GOOD FAITH BASIS UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL NOT
BE SUBJECT TO PROSECUTION PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWELVE OF SECTION FOUR
HUNDRED TWENTY-TWO OF THIS TITLE.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.






 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD14765-01-4

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.