Wis. Stat. § 48.981


Wisconsin Statutes

Social Services

Chapter 48. Children's Code

Subchapter XX. Miscellaneous Provisions


§ 48.981. Abused or neglected children and abused unborn children


(1) Definitions. In this section:


(ag) "Agency" means a county department, the department in a county having a population of 500,000 or more or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with a county department or the department in a county having a population of 500,000 or more to perform investigations under this section.


(am) "Caregiver" means, with respect to a child who is the victim or alleged victim of abuse or neglect or who is threatened with abuse or neglect, any of the following persons:


1. The child's parent, grandparent, greatgrandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister.


2. The child's guardian.


3. The child's legal custodian.


4. A person who resides or has resided regularly or intermittently in the same dwelling as the child.


5. An employee of a residential facility or residential care center for children and youth in which the child was or is placed.


6. A person who provides or has provided care for the child in or outside of the child's home.


7. Any other person who exercises or has exercised temporary or permanent control over the child or who temporarily or permanently supervises or has supervised the child.


8. Any relative of the child other than a relative specified in subd. 1.


<Text of subsec. (1)(b) eff. until July 1, 2008>

 

(b) "Community placement" means probation; extended supervision; parole; aftercare; conditional transfer into the community under s. 51.35(1); conditional transfer or discharge under s. 51.37(9); placement in a Type 2 child caring institution or a Type 2 secured correctional facility authorized under s. 938.539(5); conditional release under s. 971.17; supervised release under s. 980.06 or 980.08; participation in the community residential confinement program under s. 301.046, the halfway house program under s. 301.0465, the intensive sanctions program under s. 301.048, the corrective sanctions program under s. 938.533, the intensive supervision program under s. 938.534 or the serious juvenile offender program under s. 938.538; or any other placement of an adult or juvenile offender in the community under the custody or supervision of the department of corrections, the department of health and family services, a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, 46.23, 51.42 or 51.437 or any other person under contract with the department of corrections, the department of health and family services or a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, 46.23, 51.42 or 51.437 to exercise custody or supervision over the offender.


<Text of subsec. (1)(b) eff. July 1, 2008>

 

(b) "Community placement" means probation; extended supervision; parole; aftercare; conditional transfer into the community under s. 51.35(1); conditional transfer or discharge under s. 51.37(9); placement in a Type 2 child caring institution or a Type 2 secured correctional facility authorized under s. 938.539(5); conditional release under s. 971.17; supervised release under s. 980.06 or 980.08; participation in the community residential confinement program under s. 301.046, the intensive sanctions program under s. 301.048, the corrective sanctions program under s. 938.533, the intensive supervision program under s. 938.534 or the serious juvenile offender program under s. 938.538; or any other placement of an adult or juvenile offender in the community under the custody or supervision of the department of corrections, the department of health and family services, a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, 46.23, 51.42 or 51.437 or any other person under contract with the department of corrections, the department of health and family services or a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, 46.23, 51.42 or 51.437 to exercise custody or supervision over the offender.


(cs) "Indian child" means any unmarried person who is under the age of 18 years and is affiliated with an Indian tribe or band in any of the following ways:


1. As a member of the tribe or band.


2. As a person who is both eligible for membership in the tribe or band and is the biological child of a member of the tribe or band.


(ct) "Indian unborn child" means an unborn child who, when born, may be eligible for affiliation with an Indian tribe or band in any of the following ways:


1. As a member of the tribe or band.


2. As a person who is both eligible for membership in the tribe or band and the biological child of a member of the tribe or band.


(cv) "Member of a religious order" means an individual who has taken vows devoting himself or herself to religious or spiritual principles and who is authorized or appointed by his or her religious order or organization to provide spiritual or religious advice or service.


(cx) "Member of the clergy" has the meaning given in s. 765.002(1) or means a member of a religious order, and includes brothers, ministers, monks, nuns, priests, rabbis, and sisters.


(d) "Neglect" means failure, refusal or inability on the part of a parent, guardian, legal custodian or other person exercising temporary or permanent control over a child, for reasons other than poverty, to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care or shelter so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child.


(f) "Record" means any document relating to the investigation, assessment and disposition of a report under this section.


(fm) "Relative" means a parent, grandparent, greatgrandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, first cousin, 2nd cousin, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, stepgrandparent, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepuncle, or stepaunt.


(g) "Reporter" means a person who reports suspected abuse or neglect or a belief that abuse or neglect will occur under this section.


(h) "Subject" means a person or unborn child named in a report or record as any of the following:


1. A child who is the victim or alleged victim of abuse or neglect or who is threatened with abuse or neglect.


1m. An unborn child who is the victim or alleged victim of abuse or who is at substantial risk of abuse.


2. A person who is suspected of abuse or neglect or who has been determined to have abused or neglected a child or to have abused an unborn child.


(i) "Tribal agent" means the person designated under 25 CFR 23.12 by an Indian tribe or band to receive notice of involuntary child custody proceedings under the Indian child welfare act, 25 USC 1901 to 1963.


(2) Persons required to report. (a) Any of the following persons who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by the person in the course of professional duties has been abused or neglected or who has reason to believe that a child seen by the person in the course of professional duties has been threatened with abuse or neglect and that abuse or neglect of the child will occur shall, except as provided under sub. (2m), report as provided in sub. (3):


1. A physician.


2. A coroner.


3. A medical examiner.


4. A nurse.


5. A dentist.


6. A chiropractor.


7. An optometrist.


8. An acupuncturist.


9. A medical or mental health professional not otherwise specified in this paragraph.


10. A social worker.


11. A marriage and family therapist.


12. A professional counselor.


13. A public assistance worker, including a financial and employment planner, as defined in s. 49.141(1)(d).


14. A school teacher.


15. A school administrator


16. A school counselor.


17. A mediator under s. 767.11.


18. A child-care worker in a day care center, group home, as described in s. 48.625(1m), or residential care center for children and youth.


19. A day care provider.


20. An alcohol or other drug abuse counselor.


21. A member of the treatment staff employed by or working under contract with a county department under s. 46.23, 51.42, or 51.437 or a residential care center for children and youth.


22. A physical therapist.


22m. A physical therapist assistant.


23. An occupational therapist.


24. A dietitian.


25. A speech-language pathologist.


26. An audiologist.


27. An emergency medical technician.


28. A first responder.


29. A police or law enforcement officer.


(b) A court-appointed special advocate who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen in the course of activities under s. 48.236(3) has been abused or neglected or who has reason to believe that a child seen in the course of those activities has been threatened with abuse and neglect and that abuse or neglect of the child will occur shall, except as provided in sub. (2m), report as provided in sub. (3).


(bm)1. Except as provided in subd. 3. and sub. (2m), a member of the clergy shall report as provided in sub. (3) if the member of the clergy has reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by the member of the clergy in the course of his or her professional duties:


a. Has been abused, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b) to (f); or


b. Has been threatened with abuse, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b) to (f), and abuse of the child will likely occur.


2. Except as provided in subd. 3. and sub. (2m), a member of the clergy shall report as provided in sub. (3) if the member of the clergy has reasonable cause, based on observations made or information that he or she receives, to suspect that a member of the clergy has done any of the following:


a. Abused a child, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b) to (f).


b. Threatened a child with abuse, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b) to (f), and abuse of the child will likely occur.


3. A member of the clergy is not required to report child abuse information under subd. 1. or 2. that he or she receives solely through confidential communications made to him or her privately or in a confessional setting if he or she is authorized to hear or is accustomed to hearing such communications and, under the disciplines, tenets, or traditions of his or her religion, has a duty or is expected to keep those communications secret. Those disciplines, tenets, or traditions need not be in writing.


(c) Any person not otherwise specified in par. (a) , (b), or (bm), including an attorney, who has reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or who has reason to believe that a child has been threatened with abuse or neglect and that abuse or neglect of the child will occur may report as provided in sub. (3).


(d) Any person, including an attorney, who has reason to suspect that an unborn child has been abused or who has reason to believe that an unborn child is at substantial risk of abuse may report as provided in sub. (3).


(e) No person making a report under this subsection may be discharged from employment for so doing.


(2m) Exception to reporting requirement. (a) The purpose of this subsection is to allow children to obtain confidential health care services.


(b) In this subsection:


1. "Health care provider" means a physician, as defined under s. 448.01(5), a physician assistant, as defined under s. 448.01(6), or a nurse holding a certificate of registration under s. 441.06(1) or a license under s. 441.10(3).


2. "Health care service" means family planning services, as defined in s. 253.07(1)(b), 1995 stats., pregnancy testing, obstetrical health care or screening, diagnosis and treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.


(c) Except as provided under pars. (d) and (e), the following persons are not required to report as suspected or threatened abuse, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b), sexual intercourse or sexual contact involving a child:


1. A health care provider who provides any health care service to a child.


4. A person who obtains information about a child who is receiving or has received health care services from a health care provider.


(d) Any person described under par. (c)1. or 4. shall report as required under sub. (2) if he or she has reason to suspect any of the following:


1. That the sexual intercourse or sexual contact occurred or is likely to occur with a caregiver.


2. That the child suffered or suffers from a mental illness or mental deficiency that rendered or renders the child temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding or evaluating the consequences of his or her actions.


3. That the child, because of his or her age or immaturity, was or is incapable of understanding the nature or consequences of sexual intercourse or sexual contact.


4. That the child was unconscious at the time of the act or for any other reason was physically unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in sexual intercourse or sexual contact.


5. That another participant in the sexual contact or sexual intercourse was or is exploiting the child.


(e) In addition to the reporting requirements under par. (d), a person described under par. (c)1. or 4. shall report as required under sub. (2) if he or she has any reasonable doubt as to the voluntariness of the child's participation in the sexual contact or sexual intercourse.


(3) Reports; investigation. (a) Referral of report. 1. A person required to report under sub. (2) shall immediately inform, by telephone or personally, the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department or the sheriff or city, village, or town police department of the facts and circumstances contributing to a suspicion of child abuse or neglect or of unborn child abuse or to a belief that abuse or neglect will occur.


2. The sheriff or police department shall within 12 hours, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, refer to the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department all cases reported to it. The county department, department, or licensed child welfare agency may require that a subsequent report be made in writing.


3. A county department, the department, or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall within 12 hours, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, refer to the sheriff or police department all cases of suspected or threatened abuse, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b) to (f), reported to it. For cases of suspected or threatened abuse, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(a), (am), (g), or (gm), or neglect, each county department, the department, and a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall adopt a written policy specifying the kinds of reports it will routinely report to local law enforcement authorities.


4. If the report is of suspected or threatened abuse, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b) to (f), the sheriff or police department and the county department, department, or licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall coordinate the planning and execution of the investigation of the report.


(b) Duties of local law enforcement agencies. 1. Any person reporting under this section may request an immediate investigation by the sheriff or police department if the person has reason to suspect that the health or safety of a child or of an unborn child is in immediate danger. Upon receiving such a request, the sheriff or police department shall immediately investigate to determine if there is reason to believe that the health or safety of the child or unborn child is in immediate danger and take any necessary action to protect the child or unborn child.


2. If the investigating officer has reason under s. 48.19 (1) (c) or (cm) or (d) 5. or 8. to take a child into custody, the investigating officer shall take the child into custody and deliver the child to the intake worker under s. 48.20.


2m. If the investigating officer has reason under s. 48.193 (1) (c) or (d) 2. to take the adult expectant mother of an unborn child into custody, the investigating officer shall take the adult expectant mother into custody and deliver the adult expectant mother to the intake worker under s. 48.203.


3. If the sheriff or police department determines that criminal action is necessary, the sheriff or police department shall refer the case to the district attorney for criminal prosecution. Each sheriff and police department shall adopt a written policy specifying the kinds of reports of suspected or threatened abuse, as defined in s. 48.02(1)(b) to (f), that the sheriff or police department will routinely refer to the district attorney for criminal prosecution.


(bm) Notice of report to Indian tribal agent. In a county which has wholly or partially within its boundaries a federally recognized Indian reservation or a bureau of Indian affairs service area for the Ho-Chunk tribe, if a county department which receives a report under par. (a) pertaining to a child or unborn child knows that the child is an Indian child who resides in the county or that the unborn child is an Indian unborn child whose expectant mother resides in the county, the county department shall provide notice, which shall consist only of the name and address of the child or expectant mother and the fact that a report has been received about that child or unborn child, within 24 hours to one of the following:


1. If the county department knows with which tribe or band the child is affiliated, or with which tribe or band the unborn child, when born, may be eligible for affiliation, and it is a Wisconsin tribe or band, the tribal agent of that tribe or band.


2. If the county department does not know with which tribe or band the child is affiliated, or with which tribe or band the unborn child, when born, may be eligible for affiliation, or the child or expectant mother is not affiliated with a Wisconsin tribe or band, the tribal agent serving the reservation or Ho-Chunk service area where the child or expectant mother resides.


3. If neither subd. 1. nor 2. applies, any tribal agent serving a reservation or Ho-Chunk service area in the county.


(c) Duties of county departments. 1. Within 24 hours after receiving a report under par. (a), the agency shall, in accordance with the authority granted to the department under s. 48.48(17)(a)1. or the county department under s. 48.57(1)(a), initiate a diligent investigation to determine if the child or unborn child is in need of protection or services. The investigation shall be conducted in accordance with standards established by the department for conducting child abuse and neglect investigations or unborn child abuse investigations. If the investigation is of a report of child abuse or neglect or of threatened child abuse or neglect by a caregiver specified in sub. (1)(am)5. to 8. who continues to have access to the child or a caregiver specified in sub. (1)(am)1. to 4., or of a report that does not disclose who is suspected of the child abuse or neglect and in which the investigation does not disclose who abused or neglected the child, the investigation shall also include observation of or an interview with the child, or both, and, if possible, an interview with the child's parents, guardian or legal custodian. If the investigation is of a report of child abuse or neglect or threatened child abuse or neglect by a caregiver who continues to reside in the same dwelling as the child, the investigation shall also include, if possible, a visit to that dwelling. At the initial visit to the child's dwelling, the person making the investigation shall identify himself or herself and the agency involved to the child's parents, guardian or legal custodian. The agency may contact, observe or interview the child at any location without permission from the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian if necessary to determine if the child is in need of protection or services, except that the person making the investigation may enter a child's dwelling only with permission from the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian or after obtaining a court order to do so.


2. a. If the person making the investigation is an employee of the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department and he or she determines that it is consistent with the child's best interest in terms of physical safety and physical health to remove the child from his or her home for immediate protection, he or she shall take the child into custody under s. 48.08(2) or 48.19(1)(c) and deliver the child to the intake worker under s. 48.20.


b. If the person making the investigation is an employee of a licensed child welfare agency which is under contract with the county department and he or she determines that any child in the home requires immediate protection, he or she shall notify the county department of the circumstances and together with an employee of the county department shall take the child into custody under s. 48.08(2) or 48.19(1)(c) and deliver the child to the intake worker under s. 48.20.


2m. a. If the person making the investigation is an employee of the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department and he or she determines that it is consistent with the best interest of the unborn child in terms of physical safety and physical health to take the expectant mother into custody for the immediate protection of the unborn child, he or she shall take the expectant mother into custody under s. 48.08 (2), 48.19 (1) (cm) or 48.193 (1) (c) and deliver the expectant mother to the intake worker under s. 48.20 or 48.203.


b. If the person making the investigation is an employee of a licensed child welfare agency which is under contract with the county department and he or she determines that any unborn child requires immediate protection, he or she shall notify the county department of the circumstances and together with an employee of the county department shall take the expectant mother of the unborn child into custody under s. 48.08 (2), 48.19 (1) (cm) or 48.193 (1) (c) and deliver the expectant mother to the intake worker under s. 48.20 or 48.203.


3. If the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department determines that a child, any member of the child's family or the child's guardian or legal custodian is in need of services or that the expectant mother of an unborn child is in need of services, the county department, department or licensed child welfare agency shall offer to provide appropriate services or to make arrangements for the provision of services. If the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian or the expectant mother refuses to accept the services, the county department, department or licensed child welfare agency may request that a petition be filed under s. 48.13 alleging that the child who is the subject of the report or any other child in the home is in need of protection or services or that a petition be filed under s. 48.133 alleging that the unborn child who is the subject of the report is in need of protection or services.


4. The county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall determine, within 60 days after receipt of a report, whether abuse or neglect has occurred or is likely to occur. The determination shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence produced by the investigation. A determination that abuse or neglect has occurred may not be based solely on the fact that the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian in good faith selects and relies on prayer or other religious means for treatment of disease or for remedial care of the child. In making a determination that emotional damage has occurred, the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall give due regard to the culture of the subjects. This subdivision does not prohibit a court from ordering medical services for the child if the child's health requires it.


5. The agency shall maintain a record of its actions in connection with each report it receives. The record shall include a description of the services provided to any child and to the parents, guardian or legal custodian of the child or to any expectant mother of an unborn child. The agency shall update the record every 6 months until the case is closed.


5m. If the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department determines under subd. 4. that a specific person has abused or neglected a child, the county department, department or licensed child welfare agency, within 15 days after the date of the determination, shall notify the person in writing of the determination, the person's right to appeal the determination and the procedure by which the person may appeal the determination, and the person may appeal the determination in accordance with the procedures established by the department under this subdivision. The department shall promulgate rules establishing procedures for conducting an appeal under this subdivision. Those procedures shall include a procedure permitting an appeal under this subdivision to be held in abeyance pending the outcome of any criminal proceedings or any proceedings under s. 48.13 based on the alleged abuse or neglect or the outcome of any investigation that may lead to the filing of a criminal complaint or a petition under s. 48.13 based on the alleged abuse or neglect.


6. The agency shall, within 60 days after it receives a report from a person required under sub. (2) to report, inform the reporter what action, if any, was taken to protect the health and welfare of the child or unborn child who is the subject of the report.


6m. If a person who is not required under sub. (2) to report makes a report and is a relative of the child, other than the child's parent, or is a relative of the expectant mother of the unborn child, that person may make a written request to the agency for information regarding what action, if any, was taken to protect the health and welfare of the child or unborn child who is the subject of the report. An agency that receives a written request under this subdivision shall, within 60 days after it receives the report or 20 days after it receives the written request, whichever is later, inform the reporter in writing of what action, if any, was taken to protect the health and welfare of the child or unborn child, unless a court order prohibits that disclosure, and of the duty to keep the information confidential under sub. (7) (e) and the penalties for failing to do so under sub. (7) (f). The agency may petition the court ex parte for an order prohibiting that disclosure and, if the agency does so, the time period within which the information must be disclosed is tolled on the date the petition is filed and remains tolled until the court issues a decision. The court may hold an ex parte hearing in camera and shall issue an order granting the petition if the court determines that disclosure of the information would not be in the best interests of the child or unborn child.


7. The county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall cooperate with law enforcement officials, courts of competent jurisdiction, tribal governments and other human services agencies to prevent, identify and treat child abuse and neglect and unborn child abuse. The county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall coordinate the development and provision of services to abused and neglected children, to abused unborn children to families in which child abuse or neglect has occurred, to expectant mothers who have abused their unborn children, to children and families when circumstances justify a belief that abuse or neglect will occur and to the expectant mothers of unborn children when circumstances justify a belief that unborn child abuse will occur.


8. Using the format prescribed by the department, each county department shall provide the department with information about each report that the county department receives or that is received by a licensed child welfare agency that is under contract with the county department and about each investigation that the county department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the county department conducts. Using the format prescribed by the department, a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department shall provide the department with information about each report that the child welfare agency receives and about each investigation that the child welfare agency conducts. This information shall be used by the department to monitor services provided by county departments or licensed child welfare agencies under contract with county departments or the department. The department shall use nonidentifying information to maintain statewide statistics on child abuse and neglect and on unborn child abuse, and for planning and policy development purposes.


9. The agency may petition for child abuse restraining orders and injunctions under s. 48.25(6).


(cm) Contract with licensed child welfare agencies. A county department may contract with a licensed child welfare agency to fulfill the county department's duties specified under par. (c) 1., 2. b., 2m. b., 5., 6., 6m. and 8. The department may contract with a licensed child welfare agency to fulfill the department's duties specified under par. (c) 1., 2. a., 2m. b., 3., 4., 5., 5m., 6., 6m., 7., 8. and 9. in a county having a population of 500,000 or more. The confidentiality provisions specified in sub. (7) shall apply to any licensed child welfare agency with which a county department or the department contracts.


(d) Independent investigation. 1. In this paragraph, "agent" includes, but is not limited to, a foster parent, treatment foster parent or other person given custody of a child or a human services professional employed by a county department under s. 51.42 or 51.437 or by a child welfare agency who is working with a child or an expectant mother of an unborn child under contract with or under the supervision of the department in a county having a population of 500,000 or more or a county department under s. 46.22.


2. If an agent or employee of an agency required to investigate under this subsection is the subject of a report, or if the agency determines that, because of the relationship between the agency and the subject of a report, there is a substantial probability that the agency would not conduct an unbiased investigation, the agency shall, after taking any action necessary to protect the child or unborn child, notify the department. Upon receipt of the notice, the department, in a county having a population of less than 500,000 or a county department or child welfare agency designated by the department in any county shall conduct an independent investigation. If the department designates a county department under s. 46.22, 46.23, 51.42 or 51.437, that county department shall conduct the independent investigation. If a licensed child welfare agency agrees to conduct the independent investigation, the department may designate the child welfare agency to do so. The powers and duties of the department or designated county department or child welfare agency making an independent investigation are those given to county departments under par. (c).


(4) Immunity from liability. Any person or institution participating in good faith in the making of a report, conducting an investigation, ordering or taking of photographs or ordering or performing medical examinations of a child or of an expectant mother under this section shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that results by reason of the action. For the purpose of any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of any person reporting under this section shall be presumed. The immunity provided under this subsection does not apply to liability for abusing or neglecting a child or for abusing an unborn child.


(5) Coroner's report. Any person or official required to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child died as a result of child abuse or neglect shall report the fact to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner. The medical examiner or coroner shall accept the report for investigation and shall report the findings to the appropriate district attorney; to the department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, to a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department; to the county department and, if the institution making the report initially is a hospital, to the hospital.


(6) Penalty. Whoever intentionally violates this section by failure to report as required may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.


(7) Confidentiality. (a) All reports made under this section, notices provided under sub. (3)(bm) and records maintained by an agency and other persons, officials and institutions shall be confidential. Reports and records may be disclosed only to the following persons:


1. The subject of a report, except that the person or agency maintaining the record or report may not disclose any information that would identify the reporter.


1m. A reporter described in sub. (3) (c) 6m. who makes a written request to an agency for information regarding what action, if any, was taken to protect the health and welfare of the child or unborn child who is the subject of the report, unless a court order under sub. (3) (c) 6m. prohibits disclosure of that information to that reporter, except that the only information that may be disclosed is information in the record regarding what action, if any, was taken to protect the health and welfare of the child or unborn child who is the subject of the report.


2. Appropriate staff of an agency or a tribal social services department.


2m. A person authorized to provide or providing intake or dispositional services for the court under s. 48.067, 48.069 or 48.10.


2r. A person authorized to provide or providing intake or dispositional services under s. 938.067, 938.069 or 938.10.


3. An attending physician for purposes of diagnosis and treatment.


3m. A child's parent, guardian or legal custodian or the expectant mother of an unborn child, except that the person or agency maintaining the record or report may not disclose any information that would identify the reporter.


4. A child's foster parent, treatment foster parent or other person having physical custody of the child or a person having physical custody of the expectant mother of an unborn child, except that the person or agency maintaining the record or report may not disclose any information that would identify the reporter.


5. A professional employee of a county department under s. 51.42 or 51.437 who is working with the child or the expectant mother of the unborn child under contract with or under the supervision of the county department under s. 46.22 or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department.


6. A multidisciplinary child abuse and neglect or unborn child abuse team recognized by the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department.


6m. A person employed by a child advocacy center recognized by the county board, the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department, to the extent necessary to perform the services for which the center is recognized by the county board, the county department, the department or the licensed child welfare agency.


8. A law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency or a district attorney for purposes of investigation or prosecution.


8m. The department of corrections, the department of health and family services, a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, 46.23, 51.42 or 51.437 or any other person under contract with the department of corrections, the department of health and family services or a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, 46.23, 51.42 or 51.437 to exercise custody or supervision over a person who is subject to community placement for purposes of investigating or providing services to a person who is subject to community placement and who is the subject of a report. In making its investigation, the department of corrections, department of health and family services, county department or other person shall cooperate with the agency making the investigation under sub. (3)(c) or (d).


9. A court or administrative agency for use in a proceeding relating to the licensing or regulation of a facility regulated under this chapter.


10. A court conducting proceedings under s. 48.21 or 48.213, a court conducting proceedings related to a petition under s. 48.13, 48.133 or 48.42 or a court conducting dispositional proceedings under subch. VI or VIII in which abuse or neglect of the child who is the subject of the report or record or abuse of the unborn child who is the subject of the report or record is an issue.


10g. A court conducting proceedings under s. 48.21, a court conducting proceedings related to a petition under s. 48.13(3m) or (10m) or a court conducting dispositional proceedings under subch. VI in which an issue is the substantial risk of abuse or neglect of a child who, during the time period covered by the report or record, was in the home of the child who is the subject of the report or record.


10j. A court conducting proceedings under s. 938.21, a court conducting proceedings relating to a petition under ch. 938 or a court conducting dispositional proceedings under subch. VI of ch. 938 in which abuse or neglect of the child who is the subject of the report or record is an issue.


10m. A tribal court, or other adjudicative body authorized by a tribe or band to perform child welfare functions, that exercises jurisdiction over children and unborn children alleged to be in need of protection or services for use in proceedings in which abuse or neglect of the child who is the subject of the report or record or abuse of the unborn child who is the subject of the report or record is an issue.


10r. A tribal court, or other adjudicative body authorized by a tribe or band to perform child welfare functions, that exercises jurisdiction over children alleged to be in need of protection or services for use in proceedings in which an issue is the substantial risk of abuse or neglect of a child who, during the time period covered by the report or record, was in the home of the child who is the subject of the report or record.


11. The county corporation counsel or district attorney representing the interests of the public, the agency legal counsel and the counsel or guardian ad litem representing the interests of a child in proceedings under subd. 10., 10g or 10j and the guardian ad litem representing the interests of an unborn child in proceedings under subd. 10.


11m. An attorney representing the interests of an Indian tribe or band in proceedings under subd. 10m. or 10r., of an Indian child in proceedings under subd. 10m. or 10r, or of an Indian unborn child in proceedings under subd. 10m.


11r. A volunteer court-appointed special advocate designated under s. 48.236(1) or person employed by a court-appointed special advocate program recognized by the chief judge of a judicial administrative district under s. 48.07(5), to the extent necessary for the court-appointed special advocate to perform the advocacy services specified in s. 48.236(3) that the court-appointed special advocate was designated to perform in proceedings related to a petition under s. 48.13.


12. A person engaged in bona fide research, with the permission of the department. Information identifying subjects and reporters may not be disclosed to the researcher.


13. The department, a county department under s. 48.57(1)(e) or (hm) or a licensed child welfare agency ordered to conduct a screening or an investigation of a stepparent under s. 48.88(2)(c).


14. A grand jury if it determines that access to specified records is necessary for the conduct of its official business.


14m. A judge conducting proceedings under s. 968.26.


15. A child fatality review team recognized by the county department or, in a county having a population of 500,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department.


15g. A citizen review panel established or designated by the department or a county department.


15m. A coroner, medical examiner or pathologist or other physician investigating the cause of death of a child whose death is unexplained or unusual or is associated with unexplained or suspicious circumstances.


17. A federal agency, state agency of this state or any other state or local governmental unit located in this state or any other state that has a need for a report or record in order to carry out its responsibility to protect children from abuse or neglect or to protect unborn children from abuse.


(am) Notwithstanding par. (a)(intro.), a tribal agent who receives notice under sub. (3)(bm) may disclose the notice to a tribal social services department.


(b) Notwithstanding par. (a), either parent of a child may authorize the disclosure of a record for use in a child custody proceeding under s. 767.24 or 767.325 or in an adoption proceeding under s. 48.833, 48.835, 48.837 or 48.839 when the child has been the subject of a report. Any information that would identify a reporter shall be deleted before disclosure of a record under this paragraph.


(c) Notwithstanding par. (a), the subject of a report may authorize the disclosure of a record to the subject's attorney. The authorization shall be in writing. Any information that would identify a reporter shall be deleted before disclosure of a record under this paragraph.


(cm) Notwithstanding par. (a), an agency may disclose information from its records for use in proceedings under s. 48.25(6), 813.122 or 813.125.


(cr)1. Notwithstanding par. (a) and subject to subd. 3., an agency may disclose to the general public a written summary of the information specified in subd. 2. relating to any child who has died or been placed in serious or critical condition, as determined by a physician, as a result of any suspected abuse or neglect that has been reported under this section if any of the following circumstances apply:


a. A person has been charged with a crime for causing the death or serious or critical condition of the child as a result of the suspected abuse or neglect, or the district attorney indicates that a person who is deceased would have been charged with a crime for causing the death or serious or critical condition of the child as a result of the suspected abuse or neglect, but for the fact that the person is deceased.


b. A judge, district attorney, law enforcement officer, law enforcement agency or any other officer or agency whose official duties include the investigation or prosecution of crime has previously disclosed to the public, in the performance of the official duties of the officer or agency, that the suspected abuse or neglect of the child has been investigated under sub. (3) or that child welfare services have been provided to the child or the child's family under this chapter.


c. A parent, guardian or legal custodian of the child or the child, if 14 years of age or over, has previously disclosed or authorized the disclosure of the information specified in subd. 2.


2. If an agency is permitted to disclose information under subd. 1. relating to a child who has died or been placed in serious or critical condition as a result of any suspected abuse or neglect that has been reported under this section, the agency may disclose all of the following information from its records:


a. A description of any investigation made by the agency in response to the report of the suspected abuse or neglect, a statement of the determination made by the agency under sub. (3)(c)4. with respect to the report and the basis for that determination, a statement of whether any services were offered or provided to the child, the child's family or the person suspected of the abuse or neglect and a statement of whether any other action was taken by the agency to protect the child who is the subject of the report or any other child residing in the same dwelling as the child who is the subject of the report.


b. Whether any previous report of suspected or threatened abuse or neglect of the child has been made to the agency and the date of the report, a statement of the determination made by the agency under sub. (3)(c)4. with respect to the report and the basis for that determination, a statement of whether any services were offered or provided to the child, the child's family or the person suspected of the abuse or neglect and a statement of whether any other action was taken by the agency to protect the child who is the subject of the report or any other child residing in the same dwelling as the child who is the subject of the report.


c. Whether the child or the child's family has received any services under this chapter prior to the report of suspected abuse or neglect that caused the child's death or serious or critical condition or any previous report of suspected or threatened abuse or neglect.


3. An agency may not disclose any of the information described in subd. 2. if any of the following applies:


a. The agency determines that disclosure of the information would be contrary to the best interests of the child who is the subject of the report, the child's siblings or any other child residing in the same dwelling as the child who is the subject of the report or that disclosure of the information is likely to cause mental, emotional or physical harm or danger to the child who is the subject of the report, the child's siblings, any other child residing in the same dwelling as the child who is the subject of the report or any other person.


b. The district attorney determines that disclosure of the information would jeopardize any ongoing or future criminal investigation or prosecution or would jeopardize a defendant's right to a fair trial.


c. The agency determines that disclosure of the information would jeopardize any ongoing or future civil investigation or proceeding or would jeopardize the fairness of such a proceeding.


d. Disclosure of the information is not authorized by state law or rule or federal law or regulation.


e. The investigation under sub. (3) of the report of the suspected abuse or neglect has not been completed, in which case the agency may only disclose that the report is under investigation.


f. Disclosure of the information would reveal the identity of the child who is the subject of the report, the child's siblings, the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian or any other person residing in the same dwelling as the child, and information that would reveal the identity of those persons has not previously been disclosed to the public.


g. Disclosure of the information would reveal the identity of a reporter or any other person who provides information relating to the suspected abuse or neglect of the child.


4. Any person who requests the information specified in subd. 2. under the circumstances specified in subd. 1. and whose request is denied may petition the court to order the disclosure of that information. On receiving a petition under this subdivision, the court shall notify the agency, the district attorney, the child and the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian of the petition. If any person notified objects to the disclosure, the court may hold a hearing to take evidence and hear argument relating to the disclosure of the information. The court shall make an in camera inspection of the information sought to be disclosed and shall order disclosure of the information, unless the court finds that any of the circumstances specified in subd. 3. apply.


5. Any person acting in good faith in disclosing or refusing to disclose the information specified in subd. 2. under the circumstances specified in subd. 1. is immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that may result by reason of that disclosure or nondisclosure. For purposes of any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of a person in disclosing or refusing to disclose the information specified in subd. 2. under the circumstances specified in subd. 1. shall be presumed.


(d) Notwithstanding par. (a), the department may have access to any report or record maintained by an agency under this section.


(e) A person to whom a report or record is disclosed under this subsection may not further disclose it, except to the persons and for the purposes specified in this section.


(f) Any person who violates this subsection, or who permits or encourages the unauthorized dissemination or use of information contained in reports and records made under this section, may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.


(8) Education, training and program development and coordination. (a) The department, the county departments, and a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department in a county having a population of 500,000 or more to the extent feasible shall conduct continuing education and training programs for staff of the department, the county departments, licensed child welfare agencies under contract with the department or a county department, law enforcement agencies, and the tribal social services departments, persons and officials required to report, the general public, and others as appropriate. The programs shall be designed to encourage reporting of child abuse and neglect and of unborn child abuse, to encourage self-reporting and voluntary acceptance of services and to improve communication, cooperation, and coordination in the identification, prevention, and treatment of child abuse and neglect and of unborn child abuse. Programs provided for staff of the department, county departments, and licensed child welfare agencies under contract with county departments or the department whose responsibilities include the investigation or treatment of child abuse or neglect shall also be designed to provide information on means of recognizing and appropriately responding to domestic abuse, as defined in s. 46.95(1)(a). The department, the county departments, and a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department in a county having a population of 500,000 or more shall develop public information programs about child abuse and neglect and about unborn child abuse.


(b) The department shall to the extent feasible ensure that there are available in the state administrative procedures, personnel trained in child abuse and neglect and in unborn child abuse, multidisciplinary programs and operational procedures and capabilities to deal effectively with child abuse and neglect cases and with unborn child abuse cases. These procedures and capabilities may include, but are not limited to, receipt, investigation and verification of reports; determination of treatment or ameliorative social services; or referral to the appropriate court.


(c) In meeting its responsibilities under par. (a) or (b), the department, a county department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department in a county having a population of 500,000 or more may contract with any public or private organization which meets the standards set by the department. In entering into the contracts the department, county department or licensed child welfare agency shall give priority to parental organizations combating child abuse and neglect or unborn child abuse.


(d)1. Each agency staff member and supervisor whose responsibilities include investigation or treatment of child abuse and neglect or of unborn child abuse shall successfully complete training in child abuse and neglect protective services and in unborn child abuse protective services approved by the department. The training shall include information on means of recognizing and appropriately responding to domestic abuse, as defined in s. 46.95 (1)(a). The department shall monitor compliance with this subdivision according to rules promulgated by the department.


2. Each year the department shall make available training programs that permit intake workers and agency staff members and supervisors to satisfy the requirements under subd. 1. and s. 48.06(1)(am)3. and (2)(c).


(9) Annual reports. Annually, the department shall prepare and transmit to the governor, and to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2), a report on the status of child abuse and neglect programs and on the status of unborn child abuse programs. The report shall include a full statistical analysis of the child abuse and neglect reports, and the unborn child abuse reports, made through the last calendar year, an evaluation of services offered under this section and their effectiveness, and recommendations for additional legislative and other action to fulfill the purpose of this section. The department shall provide statistical breakdowns by county, if requested by a county.


(10) Current list of tribal agents. The department shall annually provide to each agency described in sub. (3)(bm)(intro.) a current list of all tribal agents in the state.

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