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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Records and reports
Social Services (SOS) CHAPTER 55, ARTICLE 6, TITLE 1
§ 372. Records and reports. 1. Every court, and every public board,
commission, institution, or officer having powers or charged with duties
in relation to abandoned, delinquent, destitute, neglected or dependent
children who shall receive, accept or commit any child shall provide and
keep a record showing: (a) the full and true name of the child,

(b) his sex and date and place of birth, if ascertainable, or his
apparent age,

(c) the full and true names and places of birth of his parents, and
their actual residence if living, or their latest known residence, if
deceased or whereabouts unknown and the name and actual residence of any
other person having custody of the child, as nearly as the same can
reasonably be ascertained,

(d) the religious faith of the parents and of the child,

(e) the name and address of any person, agency, institution or other
organization to which the child is committed, placed out, boarded out,
or otherwise given into care, custody or control,

(f) the religious faith and occupation of the head or heads of the
family with whom the child is placed out or boarded out and their
relationship, if any, to the child,

(g) if any such child shall die, the date and cause of death and place
of burial,

(h) any further disposition or change in care, custody or control of
the child,

(i) the date or dates of reception and of any subsequent disposition
or change in care, custody or control and, in case of adoption, the name
and title of the judge or surrogate making the order of adoption, the
date of such order and the date and place of filing of such order,

(j) the reasons for any act performed in reference to such child
herein required to be recorded, together with such further information
as the department may require; and shall make to the department upon
blanks provided by the department reports of each such child placed out,
or boarded out, containing the information herein required to be kept;
and shall furnish such information to any authorized agency to which any
such child shall be committed or otherwise given into custody.

2. Every charitable, eleemosynary, reformatory, or correctional
institution, public or private, incorporated or unincorporated, and
every agency, association, corporation, institution, society or other
organization which shall receive, accept, or admit any child whether or
not in receipt of payments from public funds for the support of such
child shall provide and keep a record as described in subdivision one,
and also showing how, by whom and for what reason such child shall have
been given into its custody or committed to it and shall make reports of
each such child to the department upon blanks provided by the department
giving all the information required by subdivision one to be recorded
together with such further information as the department may require.
Except as to children placed out, boarded out or surrendered or for whom
guardianship is accepted or adoption provided, the requirement of this
section shall not apply to hospitals, day nurseries, eleemosynary day
schools, and summer and vacation homes and camps, or to institutions for
the care of convalescent, anaemic, under-nourished or cardiac children,
preventoria, working boys' homes, emergency shelters and schools for the
blind and for the deaf, but all such hospitals, homes and institutions
shall keep such records and make to the department such reports as the
department may require.

3. Such records maintained by the department or an authorized agency,
including a local social services district, regarding such children are
confidential, provided, however, that such records are subject to the
provisions of article thirty-one of the civil practice law and rules.
When either the subject foster child, or such child's parent, or such
child's guardian if any, is not a party to the action, a copy of the
notice or motion for discovery shall be served upon such parent,
guardian, and child and, if the child is still a minor, the child's
attorney. Such persons may thereafter appear in the action with regard
to such discovery. Where no action is pending, upon application by a
parent, relative or legal guardian of such child or by an authorized
agency, after due notice to the institution or authorized agency
affected and hearing had thereon, the supreme court may by order direct
the officers of such institution or authorized agency to furnish to such
parent, relative, legal guardian or authorized agency such extracts from
the record relating to such child as the court may deem proper. The
department through its authorized agents and employees may examine at
all reasonable times the records required by this section to be kept.

4. (a) All such records relating to such children shall be open to the
inspection of the board and the department at any reasonable time, and
the information called for under this section and such other data as may
be required by the department shall be reported to the department, in
accordance with the regulations of the department. Such records kept by
the department shall be deemed confidential and shall be safeguarded
from coming to the knowledge of and from inspection or examination by
any person other than one authorized, by the department, by a judge of
the court of claims when such records are required for the trial of a
claim or other proceeding in such court or by a justice of the supreme
court, or by a judge of the family court when such records are required
for the trial of a proceeding in such court, after a notice to all
interested persons and a hearing, to receive such knowledge or to make
such inspection or examination. No person shall divulge the information
thus obtained without authorization so to do by the department, or by
such judge or justice.

(b)(i) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law to the
contrary, records relating to children kept 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 by law or charter to perform the auditing
function in any county not wholly contained within a city, for the
purposes of a duly authorized performance audit, provided that such
comptroller 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

(ii) 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 appropriate 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 paragraph 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 paragraph
who releases data or information to persons or agencies not authorized
to receive such information shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

4-a. Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, social
services districts shall provide a written summary of services rendered
to a child upon the request of a probation service conducting an
investigation pursuant to the provisions of section 351.1 of the family
court act. Information provided to a probation service pursuant to the
provisions of this subdivision shall be maintained by such service
according to the provisions of subdivision five of section 351.1 of the
family court act.

4-b. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, foster care
information governed by this section may be released by the department
or an authorized agency 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.

5. The requirements of this section to keep records and make reports
shall not apply to the birth parent or parents, or relatives within the
second degree of such parents.

6. The provisions of this section as to records and reports to the
department shall apply also to the placing out, adoption or boarding out
of a child and the acceptance of guardianship or of surrender of a

7. An authorized agency as defined in paragraphs (a) and (b) of
subdivision ten of section three hundred seventy-one of this chapter or
any primary or secondary school or an office of the division for youth,
except agencies operating pursuant to article nineteen-H of the
executive law, who shall receive, accept, enroll or commit any child
under such circumstances as shall reasonably indicate that such child
may be a missing person shall make inquiries of each such child to the
division of criminal justice services in a manner prescribed by such
division; provided that as used in this subdivision a court shall not be
included within the definition of an authorized agency. If such child
appears to match a child registered with the statewide central register
for missing children as described in section eight hundred
thirty-seven-e of the executive law, or one registered with the national
crime information center register, such agency shall immediately contact
the local law enforcement agency.

8. In any case where a child is to be placed with or discharged to a
relative or other person legally responsible pursuant to section ten
hundred seventeen or ten hundred fifty-five of the family court act,
such relative or other person shall be provided with such information by
an authorized agency as is provided to foster parents pursuant to this
section and applicable regulations of the department.