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48.981(3m)(d)6. 6. The availability of services to address the issues of child and family safety, risk of subsequent abuse or neglect, and family strengths and needs in the communities served under the pilot project.
48.981(3m)(d)7g. 7g. The rate at which children referred for each type of response specified in par. (c) 1. to 3. are subsequently the subjects of reports of suspected or threatened abuse or neglect.
48.981(3m)(d)7m. 7m. The satisfaction of families referred for each type of response specified in par. (c) 1. to 3. with the process used to respond to those referrals.
48.981(3m)(d)7r. 7r. The cost effectiveness of responding to reports of suspected or threatened abuse or neglect in the manner provided under the pilot program.
48.981(4) (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.
48.981(5) (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 750,000 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.
48.981(6) (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.
48.981(7) (7) Confidentiality.
48.981(7)(a)(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:
48.981(7)(a)1. 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.
48.981(7)(a)1m. 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.
48.981(7)(a)2. 2. Appropriate staff of an agency or a tribal social services department.
48.981(7)(a)2m. 2m. A person authorized to provide or providing intake or dispositional services for the court under s. 48.067, 48.069 or 48.10.
48.981(7)(a)2r. 2r. A person authorized to provide or providing intake or dispositional services under s. 938.067, 938.069 or 938.10.
48.981(7)(a)3. 3. A health care provider, as defined in s. 146.81 (1) (a) to (p), for purposes of diagnosis and treatment.
48.981(7)(a)3m. 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.
48.981(7)(a)4. 4. A child's 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.
48.981(7)(a)4m. 4m. A relative of a child placed outside of his or her home only to the extent necessary to facilitate the establishment of a relationship between the child and the relative or a placement of the child with the relative or to a person provided with the notice under s. 48.21 (5) (e), 48.355 (2) (cm), or 48.357 (2v) (d). In this subdivision, “relative" includes a relative whose relationship is derived through a parent of the child whose parental rights are terminated.
48.981(7)(a)4p. 4p. A public or private agency in this state or any other state that is investigating a person for purposes of licensing the person to operate a foster home or placing a child for adoption in the home of the person or for the purposes of conducting a background investigation of an adult congregate care worker, as defined in s. 48.685 (1) (ap).
48.981(7)(a)5. 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 750,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department.
48.981(7)(a)6. 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 750,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department.
48.981(7)(a)6m. 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 750,000 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.
48.981(7)(a)8. 8. A law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency or a district attorney for purposes of investigation or prosecution.
48.981(7)(a)8m. 8m. The department of corrections, the department of health 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 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 services, county department or other person shall cooperate with the agency making the investigation under sub. (3) (c) or (d).
48.981(7)(a)8s. 8s. Authorized representatives of the department of corrections, the department of health services, the department of justice, or a district attorney for use in the prosecution of any proceeding or any evaluation conducted under ch. 980, if the reports or records involve or relate to an individual who is the subject of the proceeding or evaluation. The court in which the proceeding under ch. 980 is pending may issue any protective orders that it determines are appropriate concerning information made available or disclosed under this subdivision. Any representative of the department of corrections, the department of health services, the department of justice, or a district attorney may disclose information obtained under this subdivision for any purpose consistent with any proceeding under ch. 980.
48.981(7)(a)9. 9. A court or administrative agency for use in a proceeding relating to the licensing or regulation of a facility regulated under this chapter.
48.981(7)(a)10. 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.
48.981(7)(a)10g. 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.
48.981(7)(a)10j. 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.
48.981(7)(a)10m. 10m. A tribal court, or other adjudicative body authorized by an Indian tribe 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.
48.981(7)(a)10r. 10r. A tribal court, or other adjudicative body authorized by an Indian tribe 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.
48.981(7)(a)11. 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.
48.981(7)(a)11m. 11m. An attorney representing the interests of an Indian tribe 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.
48.981(7)(a)11r. 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.
48.981(7)(a)11v. 11v. A guardian ad litem for a child who is the subject of a guardianship proceeding under s. 48.9795 to the extent necessary to fulfill the duties and responsibilities required of the guardian ad litem under s. 48.9795 (3).
48.981(7)(a)12. 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.
48.981(7)(a)13. 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).
48.981(7)(a)14. 14. A grand jury if it determines that access to specified records is necessary for the conduct of its official business.
48.981(7)(a)14m. 14m. A judge conducting proceedings under s. 968.26.
48.981(7)(a)15. 15. A child fatality review team recognized by the county department or, in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, the department or a licensed child welfare agency under contract with the department.
48.981(7)(a)15g. 15g. A citizen review panel established or designated by the department or a county department.
48.981(7)(a)15m. 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.
48.981(7)(a)17. 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.
48.981(7)(am) (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.
48.981(7)(b) (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. 767.41 or 767.451 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.
48.981(7)(c) (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.
48.981(7)(cm) (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.
48.981(7)(cp) (cp) Notwithstanding par. (a), an agency may disclose a determination made before January 1, 2015, that a person has abused or neglected a child for purposes of a background check under s. 48.685, 48.686, or 50.065 only if that determination has not been reversed or modified on appeal and may disclose such a determination made on or after January 1, 2015, for those purposes only as provided in sub. (3) (c) 5r. Nothing in this paragraph prevents the disclosure of a report or record as otherwise permitted under this subsection.
48.981(7)(cr)1.1. In this paragraph:
48.981(7)(cr)1.a. a. “Incident of death or serious injury" means an incident in which a child 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 or in which a child who has been placed outside the home by a court order under this chapter or ch. 938 is suspected to have committed suicide.
48.981(7)(cr)1.b. b. “Incident of egregious abuse or neglect" means an incident of suspected abuse or neglect that has been reported under this section, other than an incident of death or serious injury, involving significant violence, torture, multiple victims, the use of inappropriate or cruel restraints, exposure of a child to a dangerous situation, or other similar, aggravated circumstances.
48.981(7)(cr)2. 2. Notwithstanding par. (a), if an agency that receives a report under sub. (3) has reason to suspect that an incident of death or serious injury or an incident of egregious abuse or neglect has occurred, within 2 working days after determining that such an incident is suspected to have occurred the agency shall provide all of the following information to the subunit of the department responsible for statewide oversight of child abuse and neglect programs:
48.981(7)(cr)2.a. a. The name of the agency and the name of a contact person at the agency.
48.981(7)(cr)2.b. b. Information about the child, including the age of the child.
48.981(7)(cr)2.c. c. The date of the incident and the suspected cause of the death, serious injury, or egregious abuse or neglect of the child.
48.981(7)(cr)2.d. d. A brief history of any reports under sub. (3) received in which the child, a member of the child's family, or the person suspected of the abuse or neglect was the subject and of any services under this chapter offered or provided to any of those persons.
48.981(7)(cr)2.e. e. A statement of whether the child was residing in his or her home or was placed outside the home when the incident occurred.
48.981(7)(cr)2.f. f. The identity of any law enforcement agency that referred the report of the incident and of any law enforcement agency, district attorney, or other officer or agency to which the report of the incident was referred.
48.981(7)(cr)3.a.a. Within 2 working days after receiving the information provided under subd. 2., the subunit of the department that received the information shall disclose to the public the fact that the subunit has received the information; whether the department is conducting a review of the incident and, if so, the scope of the review and the identities of any other agencies with which the department is cooperating at that point in conducting the review; whether the child was residing in the home or was placed in an out-of-home placement at the time of the incident; and information about the child, including the age of the child. If the information received is about an incident of egregious abuse or neglect, the subunit of the department shall make the same disclosure to a citizen review panel, as described in par. (a) 15g., and, in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, to the Milwaukee child welfare partnership council.
48.981(7)(cr)3.b. b. Within 90 days after receiving the information provided under subd. 2., the subunit of the department that received the information shall prepare, transmit to the governor and to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3), and make available to the public a summary report that contains the information specified in subd. 4. or 5., whichever is applicable. That subunit may also include in the summary report a summary of any actions taken by the agency in response to the incident and of any changes in policies or practices that have been made to address any issues raised in the review and recommendations for any further changes in policies, practices, rules, or statutes that may be needed to address those issues. If the subunit does not include those actions or changes and recommended changes in the summary report, the subunit shall prepare, transmit to the governor and to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3), and make available to the public a report of those actions or changes and recommended changes within 6 months after receiving the information provided under subd. 2. Those committees shall review all summary reports and reports of changes and recommended changes transmitted under this subd. 3. b., conduct public hearings on those reports no less often than annually, and submit recommendations to the department regarding those reports.
48.981(7)(cr)3.c. c. Subdivision 3. a. and b. does not preclude the subunit of the department that prepares the summary report from releasing to the governor, to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3), or to the public any of the information specified in subd. 4. or 5. before the summary report is transmitted to the governor and to those committees and made available to the public; adding to or amending a summary report if new information specified in subd. 4. or 5. is received after the summary report is transmitted to the governor and to those committees and made available to the public; or releasing to the governor, to those committees, and to the public any information at any time to correct any inaccurate information reported in the news media.
48.981(7)(cr)4. 4. If the child was residing in his or her home when the incident of death or serious injury or the incident of egregious abuse or neglect occurred, the summary report under subd. 3. shall contain all of the following:
48.981(7)(cr)4.a. a. Information about the child, including the age, gender, and race or ethnicity of the child, a description of the child's family, and, if relevant to the incident, a description of any special needs of the child.
48.981(7)(cr)4.b. b. A statement of whether any services under this chapter or ch. 938 were being provided to the child, any member of the child's family, or the person suspected of the abuse or neglect, or whether any of those persons was the subject of a report being investigated under sub. (3) or of a referral to the agency for services, at the time of the incident and, if so, the date of the last contact between the agency providing those services and the person receiving those services.
48.981(7)(cr)4.c. c. A summary of all involvement of the child's parents and of the person suspected of the abuse or neglect in any incident reported under sub. (3) or in receiving services under this chapter or ch. 938 in the 5 years preceding the date of the incident.
48.981(7)(cr)4.d. d. A summary of any actions taken by the agency with respect to the child, any member of the child's family, and the person suspected of the abuse or neglect, including any investigation by the agency under sub. (3) of a report in which any of those persons was the subject and any referrals by the agency of any of those persons for services.
48.981(7)(cr)4.e. e. The date of the incident and the suspected cause of the death, serious injury, or egregious abuse or neglect of the child, as reported by the agency under subd. 2. c.
48.981(7)(cr)4.f. f. The findings on which the agency bases its reasonable suspicion that an incident of death or serious injury or an incident of egregious abuse or neglect has occurred, including any material circumstances leading to the death, serious injury, or egregious abuse or neglect of the child.
48.981(7)(cr)4.g. g. A summary of any investigation that has been conducted under sub. (3) of a report in which the child, any member of the child's family, or the person suspected of the abuse or neglect was the subject and of any services that have been provided to the child and the child's family since the date of the incident.
48.981(7)(cr)5. 5. If the child was placed in an out-of-home placement under this chapter or ch. 938 at the time of the incident of death or serious injury or incident of egregious abuse or neglect, the summary report under subd. 3. shall contain all of the following:
48.981(7)(cr)5.a. a. Information about the child, including the age, gender, and race or ethnicity of the child and, if relevant to the incident, a description of any special needs of the child.
48.981(7)(cr)5.b. b. A description of the out-of-home placement, including the basis for the decision to place the child in that placement.
48.981(7)(cr)5.c. c. A description of all other persons residing in the out-of-home placement.
48.981(7)(cr)5.d. d. The licensing history of the out-of-home placement, including the type of license held by the operator of the placement, the period for which the placement has been licensed, and a summary of all violations by the licensee of any provisions of licensure under s. 48.70 (1) or rules promulgated by the department under s. 48.67 and of any other actions by the licensee or an employee of the licensee that constitute a substantial failure to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of a child.
48.981(7)(cr)5.e. e. The date of the incident and the suspected cause of the death, serious injury, or egregious abuse or neglect of the child, as reported by the agency under subd. 2. c.
48.981(7)(cr)5.f. f. The findings on which the agency bases its reasonable suspicion that an incident of death or serious injury or an incident of egregious abuse or neglect has occurred, including any material circumstances leading to the death, serious injury, or egregious abuse or neglect of the child.
48.981(7)(cr)6. 6. A summary report or other release or disclosure of information under subd. 3. may not include any of the following:
48.981(7)(cr)6.a. a. Any information that would reveal the identity of the child who is the subject of the summary report, any member of the child's family, any member of the child's household who is a child, or any caregiver of the child.
48.981(7)(cr)6.b. b. Any information that would reveal the identity of the person suspected of the abuse or neglect or any employee of any agency that provided services under this chapter to the child or that participated in the investigation of the incident of death or serious injury or the incident of egregious abuse or neglect.
48.981(7)(cr)6.c. c. Any information that would reveal the identity of a reporter or of any other person who provides information relating to the incident of death or serious injury or the incident of egregious abuse or neglect.
48.981(7)(cr)6.d. d. Any information the disclosure of which would not be in the best interests of the child who is the subject of the summary report, any member of the child's family, any member of the child's household who is a child, or any caregiver of the child, as determined by the subunit of the department that received the information, after consultation with the agency that reported the incident of death or serious injury or the incident of egregious abuse or neglect, the district attorney of the county in which the incident occurred, or the court of that county, and after balancing the interest of the child, family or household member, or caregiver in avoiding the stigma that might result from disclosure against the interest of the public in obtaining that information.
48.981(7)(cr)6.e. e. Any information the disclosure of which is not authorized by state law or rule or federal law or regulation.
48.981(7)(cr)7. 7. The subunit of the department that prepares a summary report or otherwise transmits, releases, or discloses information under subd. 3. may not transmit the summary report to the governor and to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3), make the summary report available to the public, or transmit, release, or disclose the information to the governor, to those standing committees, or to the public if the subunit determines that transmitting or making the summary report available or transmitting, releasing, or disclosing the information would jeopardize any of the following:
48.981(7)(cr)7.a. a. Any ongoing or future criminal investigation or prosecution or a defendant's right to a fair trial.
48.981(7)(cr)7.b. b. Any ongoing or future civil investigation or proceeding or the fairness of such a proceeding.
48.981(7)(cr)8. 8. If the department fails to disclose to the governor, to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3), or to the public any information that the department is required to disclose under this paragraph, any person may request the department to disclose that information. If the person's request is denied, the person may petition the court to order the disclosure of that information. On receiving a petition under this subdivision, the court shall notify the department, 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. 6. or 7. apply.
48.981(7)(cr)9. 9. Any person acting in good faith in providing information under subd. 2., in preparing, transmitting, or making available a summary report under subd. 3., or in otherwise transmitting, releasing, or disclosing information under subd. 3. is immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that may result by reason of those actions. For purposes of any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of a person in providing information under subd. 2., in preparing, transmitting, or making available a summary report under subd. 3., or in otherwise transmitting, releasing, or disclosing information under subd. 3. shall be presumed.
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2019-20 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2021 Wis. Act 30, through all Orders of the Controlled Substances Board filed before and in effect on May 6, 2021, and through all Supreme Court Orders filed before and in effect on April 15, 2021. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after May 6, 2021, other than those made by Supreme Court Order No. 20-07, are designated by NOTES. (Published 5-6-21)