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RULE §700.204Redaction of Records Prior to Release

(a) Except as provided by this section or otherwise permitted by law, prior to the release of confidential investigation or case records, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) shall redact the records to remove the name, address, and any other information in the record which tends to reveal the identity of any individual as a reporter. In the event that an individual who was a reporter also provided a witness statement or other evidence during the course of the investigation, that individual's identity as a witness, as well as the information provided by that individual in the role of witness, will be released, provided that any information that would identify that individual as the reporter is redacted from the record prior to its release.

(b) DFPS shall withhold the release of any records obtained from another source, if the release of that record to the requestor is prohibited under state or federal law. Information which may be withheld under this section includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  (1) "individually identifiable health information," as defined by §1171 of the Social Security Act, to the extent that DFPS is prohibited from releasing such information to the requester by Chapter 181 of the Health and Safety Code, and related regulations adopted pursuant to Chapter 181;

  (2) HIV information unless release to the requestor is authorized under Chapter 81 of the Health and Safety Code;

  (3) criminal history or arrest records obtained from a law enforcement entity unless their release to the requestor is authorized under state or federal law;

  (4) adult or juvenile probation records, as well as juvenile arrest records, unless their release to the requestor is authorized under state or federal law; and

  (5) the results of a polygraph exam, unless their release to the requestor is authorized under §1703.306 of the Occupations Code, or other state or federal law.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, DFPS may withhold any information in its records if:

  (1) in the judgment of DFPS, the release of that information would endanger the life or safety of any individual, in which event DFPS shall keep a record of any information so withheld and shall document the specific factual basis for its belief that the release of the information would be likely to endanger the life or safety of an individual; or

  (2) DFPS has been notified by a law enforcement official that release of the information to the requestor would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, in which event DFPS shall document in its records the name of the law enforcement official who notified DFPS that release of the information would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.

(d) Information withheld from a requestor under this section, as well as the documented basis for withholding information under subsection (c) of this section, may be released only upon a court order pursuant to the provisions in §261.201(b) of the Family Code.

(e) DFPS may release reporter information, including the identity of a reporter, to the following:

  (1) a court having family law jurisdiction as necessary to resolve an issue relating to the custody of, access to, or possession of a child;

  (2) a person or entity with the statutory duty to investigate or prosecute a report of child abuse or neglect, failure to report child abuse or neglect, or false reporting of child abuse or neglect;

  (3) a person or entity that provides legal representation to DFPS; or

  (4) a social study evaluator, guardian ad litem, or court-appointed volunteer advocate appointed by the court under Chapter 107 of the Family Code to make recommendations to the court concerning the best interest of a child.

Source Note: The provisions of this §700.204 adopted to be effective April 1, 1997, 22 TexReg 2877; amended to be effective September 1, 2014, 39 TexReg 6226

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