Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home

West Virginia Code

Search

Chapter 49     Entire Code
‹ Chapter 48C  |  Chapter 50 › Printer Friendly Versions
Chapter 49  |  Article 49 - 5  |  Section 11A
WVC 49- CHAPTER 49. CHILD WELFARE.

WVC 49 - 5 - ARTICLE 5. RECORD KEEPING AND DATABASE.

WVC 49 - 5 - 101 §49-5-101. Confidentiality of records; nonrelease of records; exceptions; penalties.

     (a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or by order of the court, all records and information concerning a child or juvenile which are maintained by the Division of Juvenile Services, the Department of Health and Human Resources, a child agency or facility, court or law-enforcement agency is confidential and shall not be released or disclosed to anyone, including any federal or state agency.

     (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section or any other provision of this code to the contrary, records concerning a child or juvenile, except adoption records and records disclosing the identity of a person making a complaint of child abuse or neglect may be made available:

     (1) Where otherwise authorized by this chapter;

     (2) To:

     (A) The child;

     (B) A parent whose parental rights have not been terminated; or

     (C) The attorney of the child or parent;

     (3) With the written consent of the child or of someone authorized to act on the child's behalf; or

     (4) Pursuant to an order of a court of record. However, the court shall review the record or records for relevancy and materiality to the issues in the proceeding and safety, and may issue an order to limit the examination and use of the records or any part thereof.

     (c) In addition to those persons or entities to whom information may be disclosed under subsection (b) of this section, information related to child abuse or neglect proceedings, except information relating to the identity of the person reporting or making a complaint of child abuse or neglect, shall be made available, upon request, to:

     (1) Federal, state or local government entities, or any agent of those entities, including law-enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys, having a need for that information in order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect;

     (2) The child fatality review team;

     (3) Child abuse citizen review panels;

     (4) Multidisciplinary investigative and treatment teams; or

     (5) A grand jury, circuit court or family court, upon a finding that information in the records is necessary for the determination of an issue before the grand jury, circuit court or family court.

     (d) In the event of a child fatality or near fatality due to child abuse and neglect, information relating to a fatality or near fatality shall be made public by the Department of Health and Human Resources and to the entities described in subsection (c) of this section, all under the circumstances described in that subsection. However, information released by the Department of Health and Human Resources pursuant to this subsection may not include the identity of a person reporting or making a complaint of child abuse or neglect. For purposes of this subsection, "near fatality" means any medical condition of the child which is certified by the attending physician to be life threatening.

     (e) Except in juvenile proceedings which are transferred to criminal proceedings, law-enforcement records and files concerning a child or juvenile shall be kept separate from the records and files of adults and not included within the court files. Law-enforcement records and files concerning a child or juvenile shall only be open to inspection pursuant to section one hundred three of this article.

     (f) Any person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in jail for not more than six months, or both fined and confined. A person convicted of violating this section is also liable for damages in the amount of $300 or actual damages, whichever is greater.

     (g) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, or any other provision of this code to the contrary, the name and identity of any juvenile adjudicated or convicted of a violent or felonious crime shall be made available to the public;

     (h)(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, or any other provision of this code to the contrary, the Division of Juvenile Services may provide access to and the confidential use of a treatment plan, court records or other records of a juvenile to an agency in another state which:

     (A) Performs the same functions in that state that are performed by the Division of Juvenile Services in this state;

     (B) Has a reciprocal agreement with this state; and

     (C) Has legal custody of the juvenile.

     (2) A record which is shared under this subsection may only provide information which is relevant to the supervision, care, custody and treatment of the juvenile.

     (3) The Division of Juvenile Services is authorized to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states and to propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement this subsection.

     (4) Other than the authorization explicitly given in this subsection, this subsection may not be construed to enlarge or restrict access to juvenile records as provided elsewhere in this code.

WVC 49 - 5 - 102 §49-5-102. Preservation of records.

     The proceedings, records, reports, case histories, and all other papers or documents of or received by the state department in the administration of this chapter shall be filed of record and preserved.

WVC 49 - 5 - 103 §49-5-103. Confidentiality of juvenile records; permissible disclosures; penalties; damages.

     (a) Any findings or orders of the court in a juvenile proceeding shall be known as the juvenile record and shall be maintained by the clerk of the court.

     (b) Records of a juvenile proceeding conducted under this chapter are not public records and shall not be disclosed to anyone unless disclosure is otherwise authorized by this section.

     (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a copy of a juvenile's records shall automatically be disclosed to certain school officials, subject to the following terms and conditions:

     (1) Only the records of certain juveniles shall be disclosed. These include, and are limited to, cases in which:

     (A) The juvenile has been charged with an offense which:

     (i) Involves violence against another person;

     (ii) Involves possession of a dangerous or deadly weapon; or

     (iii) Involves possession or delivery of a controlled substance as that term is defined in section one hundred one, article one, chapter sixty-a of this code; and

     (B) The juvenile's case has proceeded to a point where one or more of the following has occurred:

     (i) A circuit court judge or magistrate has determined that there is probable cause to believe that the juvenile committed the offense as charged;

     (ii) A circuit court judge or magistrate has placed the juvenile on probation for the offense;

     (iii) A circuit court judge or magistrate has placed the juvenile into a preadjudicatory community supervision period in accordance with section seven hundred eight, article four of this chapter; or

     (iv) Some other type of disposition has been made of the case other than dismissal.

     (2) The circuit court for each judicial circuit in West Virginia shall designate one person to supervise the disclosure of juvenile records to certain school officials.

     (3) If the juvenile attends a West Virginia public school, the person designated by the circuit court shall automatically disclose all records of the juvenile's case to the county superintendent of schools in the county in which the juvenile attends school and to the principal of the school which the juvenile attends, subject to the following:

     (A) At a minimum, the records shall disclose the following information:

     (i) Copies of the arrest report;

     (ii) Copies of all investigations;

     (iii) Copies of any psychological test results and any mental health records;

     (iv) Copies of any evaluation reports for probation or facility placement; and

     (v) Any other material that would alert the school to potential danger that the juvenile may pose to himself, herself or others;

     (B) The disclosure of the juvenile's psychological test results and any mental health records shall only be made in accordance with subdivision (14) of this subsection;

     (C) If the disclosure of any record to be automatically disclosed under this section is restricted in its disclosure by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, PL 104-191, and any amendments and regulations under the act, the person designated by the circuit court shall provide the superintendent and principal any notice of the existence of the record that is permissible under the act and, if applicable, any action that is required to obtain the record; and

     (D) When multiple disclosures are required by this subsection, the person designated by the circuit court is required to disclose only material in the juvenile record that had not previously been disclosed to the county superintendent and the principal of the school which the juvenile attends.

     (4) If the juvenile attends a private school in West Virginia, the person designated by the circuit court shall determine the identity of the highest ranking person at that school and shall automatically disclose all records of a juvenile's case to that person.

     (5) If the juvenile does not attend school at the time the juvenile's case is pending, the person designated by the circuit court may not transmit the juvenile's records to any school. However, the person designated by the circuit court shall transmit the juvenile's records to any school in West Virginia which the juvenile subsequently attends.

     (6) The person designated by the circuit court may not automatically transmit juvenile records to a school which is not located in West Virginia. Instead, the person designated by the circuit court shall contact the out-of-state school, inform it that juvenile records exist and make an inquiry regarding whether the laws of that state permit the disclosure of juvenile records. If so, the person designated by the circuit court shall consult with the circuit judge who presided over the case to determine whether the juvenile records should be disclosed to the out-of-state school. The circuit judge has discretion in determining whether to disclose the juvenile records and shall consider whether the other state's law regarding disclosure provides for sufficient confidentiality of juvenile records, using this section as a guide. If the circuit judge orders the juvenile records to be disclosed, they shall be disclosed in accordance with subdivision (7) of this subsection.

     (7) The person designated by the circuit court shall transmit the juvenile's records to the appropriate school official under cover of a letter emphasizing the confidentiality of those records and directing the official to consult this section of the code. A copy of this section of the code shall be transmitted with the juvenile's records and cover letter.

     (8) Juvenile records are absolutely confidential by the school official to whom they are transmitted and nothing contained within the juvenile's records may be noted on the juvenile's permanent educational record. The juvenile records are to be maintained in a secure location and are not to be copied under any circumstances. However, the principal of a school to whom the records are transmitted shall have the duty to disclose the contents of those records to any teacher who teaches a class in which the subject juvenile is enrolled and to the regular driver of a school bus in which the subject juvenile is regularly transported to or from school, except that the disclosure of the juvenile's psychological test results and any mental health records may only be made in accordance with subdivision (14) of this subsection. Furthermore, any school official to whom the juvenile's records are transmitted may disclose the contents of those records to any adult within the school system who, in the discretion of the school official, has the need to be aware of the contents of those records.

     (9) If for any reason a juvenile ceases to attend a school which possesses that juvenile's records, the appropriate official at that school shall seal the records and return them to the circuit court which sent them to that school. If the juvenile has changed schools for any reason, the former school shall inform the circuit court of the name and location of the new school which the juvenile attends or will be attending. If the new school is located within West Virginia, the person designated by the circuit court shall forward the juvenile's records to the juvenile's new school in the same manner as provided in subdivision (7) of this subsection. If the new school is not located within West Virginia, the person designated by the circuit court shall handle the juvenile records in accordance with subdivision (6) of this subsection.

     If the juvenile has been found not guilty of an offense for which records were previously forwarded to the juvenile's school on the basis of a finding of probable cause, the circuit court may not forward those records to the juvenile's new school. However, this does not affect records related to other prior or future offenses. If the juvenile has graduated or quit school or will otherwise not be attending another school, the circuit court shall retain the juvenile's records and handle them as otherwise provided in this article.

     (10) Under no circumstances may one school transmit a juvenile's records to another school.

     (11) Under no circumstances may juvenile records be automatically transmitted to a college, university or other post-secondary school.

     (12) No one may suffer any penalty, civil or criminal, for accidentally or negligently attributing certain juvenile records to the wrong person. However, that person has the affirmative duty to promptly correct any mistake that he or she has made in disclosing juvenile records when the mistake is brought to his or her attention. A person who intentionally attributes false information to a certain person shall be subjected to both criminal and civil penalties in accordance with subsection (e) of this section.

     (13) If a circuit judge or magistrate has determined that there is probable cause to believe that a juvenile has committed an offense but there has been no final adjudication of the charge, the records which are transmitted by the circuit court shall be accompanied by a notice which clearly states in bold print that there has been no determination of delinquency and that our legal system requires a presumption of innocence.

     (14) The county superintendent shall designate the school psychologist or psychologists to receive the juvenile's psychological test results and any mental health records. The psychologist designated shall review the juvenile's psychological test results and any mental health records and, in the psychologist's professional judgment, may disclose to the principal of the school that the juvenile attends and other school employees who would have a need to know the psychological test results, mental health records and any behavior that may trigger violence or other disruptive behavior by the juvenile. Other school employees include, but are not limited to, any teacher who teaches a class in which the subject juvenile is enrolled and the regular driver of a school bus in which the subject juvenile is regularly transported to or from school.

     (d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, juvenile records may be disclosed, subject to the following terms and conditions:

     (1) If a juvenile case is transferred to the criminal jurisdiction of the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of subsection (c) or (d), section seven hundred ten, article four of this chapter, the juvenile records are open to public inspection.

     (2) If a juvenile case is transferred to the criminal jurisdiction of the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of subsection (e), (f) or (g), section seven hundred ten, article four of this chapter, the juvenile records are open to public inspection only if the juvenile fails to file a timely appeal of the transfer order, or the Supreme Court of Appeals refuses to hear or denies an appeal which has been timely filed.

     (3) If a juvenile is fourteen years of age or older and a court has determined there is a probable cause to believe the juvenile committed an offense set forth in subsection (g), section seven hundred ten, article four of this chapter, but the case is not transferred to criminal jurisdiction, the juvenile records are open to public inspection pending trial only if the juvenile is released on bond and no longer detained or adjudicated delinquent of the offense.

     (4) If a juvenile is younger than fourteen years of age and a court has determined there is probable cause to believe that the juvenile committed the crime of murder under section one, two or three, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code, or the crime of sexual assault in the first degree under section three, article eight-b of chapter sixty-one, but the case is not transferred to criminal jurisdiction, the juvenile records shall be open to public inspection pending trial only if the juvenile is released on bond and no longer detained or adjudicated delinquent of the offense.

     (5) Upon a written petition and pursuant to a written order, the circuit court may permit disclosure of juvenile records to:

     (A) A court, in this state or another state, which has juvenile jurisdiction and has the juvenile before it in a juvenile proceeding;

     (B) A court, in this state or another state, exercising criminal jurisdiction over the juvenile which requests records for the purpose of a presentence report or disposition proceeding;

     (C) The juvenile, the juvenile's parents or legal guardian, or the juvenile's counsel;

     (D) The officials of a public institution to which the juvenile is committed if they require those records for transfer, parole or discharge; or

     (E) A person who is conducting research. However, juvenile records may be disclosed for research purposes only upon the condition that information which would identify the subject juvenile or the juvenile's family may not be disclosed.

     (6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, juvenile records shall be disclosed, or copies made available, to a probation officer upon his or her request. Any probation officer may access relevant juvenile case information contained in any electronic database maintained by or for the Supreme Court of Appeals and share it with any other probation officer.

     (7) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, juvenile records shall be disclosed, or copies made available, in response to any lawfully issued subpoena from a federal court or federal agency.

     (8) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, juvenile records shall be disclosed, or copies made available, to the department or the Division of Juvenile Services for purposes of case planning for the juvenile and his or her parents, custodians or guardians.

     (e) Any records open to public inspection pursuant to this section are subject to the same requirements governing the disclosure of adult criminal records.

     (f) Any person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in jail for not more than six months, or both fined and confined. A person who violates this section is also liable for damages in the amount of $300 or actual damages, whichever is greater.

WVC 49 - 5 - 104 §49-5-104. Confidentiality of juvenile records for children who become of age while a ward of the state or who have been transferred to adult criminal jurisdiction; separate and secure location; penalties; damages.

     (a) One year after the juvenile's eighteenth birthday, or one year after personal or juvenile jurisdiction has terminated, whichever is later, the records of a juvenile proceeding conducted under this chapter, including, but not limited to, law-enforcement files and records, may be kept in a separate secure confidential place and the records may not be inspected except by order of the circuit court.

     (b) The records of a juvenile proceeding in which a juvenile was transferred to criminal jurisdiction pursuant to section seven hundred ten, article four of this chapter shall be kept in a separate secure confidential place and the records may not be inspected except by order of the circuit court if the juvenile is subsequently acquitted or found guilty only of an offense other than an offense upon which the waiver or order of transfer was based, or if the offense upon which the waiver or order of transfer was based is subsequently dismissed.

     (c) To keep the confidentiality of juvenile records, they shall be returned to the circuit court in which the case was pending and be kept in a separate confidential file. The records shall be physically marked to show that they are to remain confidential and shall be securely kept and filed in a manner so that no one can have access to determine the identity of the juvenile, except upon order of the circuit court.

     (d) Marking the juvenile records to show they are to remain confidential has the legal effect of extinguishing the offense as if it never occurred.

     (e) The records of a juvenile convicted under the criminal jurisdiction of the circuit court pursuant to subdivision (1), subsection (d), section seven hundred ten, article four of this chapter may not be marked and kept as confidential.

     (f) Any person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in jail for not more than six months, or both so fined and confined, and is liable for damages in the amount of $300 or actual damages, whichever is greater.

WVC 49 - 5 - 105 §49-5-105. Juvenile justice database; individual records confidential.

     The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is responsible for collecting, compiling and disseminating information in the juvenile justice database. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the court shall grant the Division of Justice and Community Services access to confidential juvenile records for the limited purpose of the collection and analysis of statistical data. However, the division shall keep the records confidential and not publish any information that would identify any individual juvenile.

WVC 49 - 5 - 106 §49-5-106. Data collection.

     (a) The Division of Juvenile Services, the department and the Supreme Court of Appeals shall establish procedures to jointly collect and compile data necessary to calculate juvenile recidivism and the outcome of programs.

     (b) For each juvenile who enters into a diversion agreement, is placed on an improvement period, is placed on probation or is placed in an out-of-home placement as defined by section two hundred six, article one of this chapter, the data and procedures developed in subsection (a) shall include:

     (1) New offense referrals to juvenile court or criminal court within three years of completion of the diversion agreement, release from court jurisdiction or release from agency custody;

     (2) Adjudications for a delinquent or status offense by a juvenile or a conviction by a criminal court within three years of completion of the diversion agreement, release from court jurisdiction or release from agency custody;

     (3) Commitments to the Division of Juvenile Services, the department, excluding out-of-home placements made for child welfare or abuse and neglect purposes, or incarceration with the Division of Corrections within three years of completion of the diversion agreement, release from court jurisdiction or release from agency custody; and

     (4) The number of out-of-home placements ordered where the judge found by clear and convincing evidence the existence of a significant and likely risk of harm to the juvenile, a family member or the public.

     (c) For youth placed in programs operated or funded by the Division of Juvenile Services, the department or the Supreme Court of Appeals, including youth reporting centers, juvenile drug courts, restorative justice programs and teen courts, the division, department and Supreme Court shall develop procedures using, at a minimum, the measures in subsection (b) of this section to track and record outcomes of each program, and to demonstrate that the program reduces the likelihood of reoffending for the youth referred to the program.

     (d) For youth referred to truancy diversion specialists or other truancy diversion programs operated or funded by the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Division of Juvenile Services, the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Department of Education or other political subdivisions, that branch of government or agency shall develop procedures to track and record outcomes of each program, and to evaluate the effectiveness in reducing unexcused absences for the youth referred to the program. At a minimum, this outcome data shall include:

     (1) The number of youth successfully completing the truancy diversion program;

     (2) The number of youth who are referred to the court system after failing to complete a truancy diversion program; and

     (3) The number of youth who, after successfully completing a truancy diversion program, accumulate five or more unexcused absences in the current or subsequent school year.

     (e) The Supreme Court of Appeals, the Division of Juvenile Services, the Department of Health and Human Resources and the Department of Education shall also establish procedures to jointly collect and compile data relating to disproportionate minority contact, which is defined as the proportion of minority youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system in relation to the proportion of minority youth in the general population, and the compilation shall include data indicating the prevalence of such disproportionality in each county. Data shall include, at a minimum, the race and gender of youth arrested or referred to court, entered into a diversion program, adjudicated and disposed.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.
This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2015 West Virginia Legislature **