HOUSE BILL NO. 5248
November 13, 2019, Introduced by Reps. Hall,
Schroeder, LaFave, Steven Johnson, Webber, LaGrand, Camilleri, Crawford and
Liberati and referred to the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors.
November 13, 2019, Introduced by Reps. Hall, Schroeder, LaFave, Steven Johnson, Webber, LaGrand, Camilleri, Crawford and Liberati and referred to the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors.
"The children's ombudsman act,"
by amending section 9 (MCL 722.929), as amended by 2013 PA 38.
the people of the state of michigan enact:
Sec. 9. (1) Subject to subsections (2) through (7) and except as provided in subsection (8), a record of the children's ombudsman's office is confidential, shall only be used for purposes set forth in this act, is not subject to court subpoena, and is not discoverable in a legal proceeding. A record of the children's ombudsman's office is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246. If the ombudsman identifies action or inaction by the state, through its agencies or services, that failed to protect children, the ombudsman shall provide his or her findings and recommendations to the agency affected by those findings, and make those findings and recommendations available to the complainant, and the legislature upon request, and the public upon request, to the extent consistent with state or federal law. The ombudsman shall must not disclose any information that impairs the rights of the child or the child's parents or guardians.
(2) The ombudsman may release information to a complainant or to a closed session of a legislative committee that has jurisdiction over family and children's services issues regarding the department's handling of a case under the child protection law that is obtained or generated during an investigation conducted by the office.
(3) Unless otherwise part of the public record, the office shall must not release any of the following confidential information to the general public:
(a) Records relating to mental health evaluation or treatment of a parent or child.
(b) Records relating to the evaluation or treatment of a substance abuse-related use disorder of a parent or child.
(c) Records relating to medical diagnosis or treatment of a parent or child.
(d) Records relating to domestic violence-related services and sexual assault services provided to a parent or child.
(e) Records relating to educational services provided to a parent or child.
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3), if the ombudsman determines that disclosure of confidential information is necessary to identify, prevent, or respond to the child abuse or child neglect of a child, the ombudsman may disclose information in his or her possession to the department, a court, a law enforcement agency, or a prosecuting attorney investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse or child neglect. The ombudsman shall not release the address, telephone number, or other information regarding the whereabouts of a victim or suspected victim of domestic violence unless ordered to by a court.
(5) Except as provided in subsection (4), the ombudsman shall not disclose information relating to an ongoing law enforcement investigation or an ongoing children's protective services investigation. The ombudsman may release the results of its investigation to a complainant, or an individual not meeting the definition of complainant, if the ombudsman receives notification that releasing the results of its investigation is not related to and will not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation or ongoing child protective services investigation.
(6) The ombudsman shall not disclose the identity of an individual making a child abuse or child neglect complaint under the child protection law unless that individual's written permission is obtained first or a court has ordered the ombudsman to release that information.
(7) The ombudsman may release an individual's identity who makes an intentionally false report of child abuse or child neglect under the child protection law.
(8) At the end of an investigation conducted by the office under this act, the ombudsman may release his or her findings and recommendations to the public. The ombudsman shall redact confidential information, including, but not limited to, information described in subsection (3) and any other material as the ombudsman considers appropriate.