On March 31, ACF published a notice seeking public comments in the Federal Registry (80 FR 17045) on the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in regard to public disclosure of findings or information about a case of child abuse or neglect which results in a child fatality or near fatality. The notice comes on the heels of a March 30, announcement by ACF that it is removing the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) regulations in their entirety effective June 29, 2015. They are not seeking comments.
This more recent request for comment is seeking comments on the policy interpretation of section 106(b)(2)(B) of CAPTA and in particular a new question 2.1A.4 #8 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM), which concerns ACF revised answers regarding the child fatalities issue. Public comments are due on or before June 29, 2015.
The notice includes specific questions for state agencies and other stakeholders about the revised interpretation including:
(1) Please describe any challenges you’ve had obtaining information about child fatalities and near fatalities which resulted from child abuse and neglect from a state. Have there been improvements in obtaining the information since CB revised the policy in CWPM section 2.1.A in September 2012?
(2) What concerns, if any, do you have with the definition of near fatalities in a state?
(3) Has a state responded that the state cannot disclose information due to confidentiality protections? If so, describe the information requested and the confidentiality provision cited by the state.
(4) Does your state offer a public report of the child fatalities review panel/commission? If so, does the report contain the required disclosure of information? Is the report a barrier to obtaining information?
ACF is also seeking comments on challenges in implementing the revised policy, information on whether the revised policy has improved disclosure process and policies. They are also asking if there are challenges in applying the disclosure policy while also ensuring adherence to confidentiality protections.