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After a child abuse or neglect investigation is completed, and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) determines a child’s death was caused by abuse or neglect, current law requires DFPS to release certain non-identifying information. SB 949 would require DFPS to include information on whether a child’s near fatality was caused by abuse or neglect. The bill would also require additional disclosure requirements of whether a family was offered services by Child Protective Services (CPS), whether they accepted or took advantage of those services, and if any criminal investigations resulted from a child’s fatality or near fatality.
The bill would require DFPS to publish an annual aggregated report using information compiled from each child fatality investigation for which DFPS made a finding regarding abuse or neglect, including cases in which DFPS determined the fatality was not the result of abuse or neglect. The report would be required to be made available to the public on the department’s website. At least once every 10 years, DFPS would be required to utilize the data in the report to provide guidance for potential department policy changes.
The purpose of this legislation is to mandate DFPS to disclose as much information as currently authorized by the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) statute. We support SB 949 because it enhances governmental transparency.