Louisiana Children’s Code
Title IV. Juvenile Court Administration
Chapter 3. Records
Art. 412 Confidentiality of records; disclosure exceptions; sanctions
A. Records and reports concerning all matters or proceedings before the juvenile court, except traffic violations, are confidential and shall not be disclosed except as expressly authorized by this Code. Any person authorized to review or receive confidential information shall preserve its confidentiality unless a court order authorizes them to share with others.
B. Nonidentifying information of a general nature, including statistics, is not confidential and may be released without a court order. By court order, an individual may be authorized to review confidential records and reports, including case file samples, for the purpose of collecting nonidentifying general information, including statistics. The court order shall specify the type of information authorized for review and bind the reviewer to preserving the confidentiality of any identifying information reviewed.
C. Records and reports in individual cases may be released to parties, their counsel or other legal representatives, and court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) in accordance with discovery and disclosure provisions of this Code. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, access to review all records and reports concerning a child in the custody of the office of juvenile justice, including but not limited to records relating to condition, housing, supervision, treatment, rehabilitation program, education, health, discipline, transition planning, risk assessments, and status reports shall be promptly provided to counsel enrolled for the child or engaged by the child, or to the child’s legal guardian, upon written request to the office of juvenile justice. If the child is indigent, copies of all records and reports relevant to post-dispositional defense and reentry advocacy shall be furnished at no cost to the child, the child’s family, legal guardian, or counsel. Representation by a public defender shall create an irrebuttable presumption of indigence for the purposes of this Paragraph.
D. When such information is relevant and necessary to the performance of their respective duties and enhances services to the child or his family, the court may authorize the release of records, reports, or certain information contained therein, limited to the specific purpose for which the court authorizes release, to appropriate individuals who represent any of the following when they are providing services to the child whose records are disclosed during the pendency of the matter about which the records are disclosed:
(1) Other courts and court-affiliated programs.
(2) The Department of Children and Family Services.
(3) The office of juvenile justice of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
(4) The Louisiana Department of Health.
(5) The Department of Education or the local school in which the child is a student.
(6) The local district attorney’s office.
(7) A multidisciplinary investigative child abuse team.
(8) A child advocacy center.
(9) The attorney general’s office.
(10) A district public defender or the district public defender’s representative, or the representative of a public defender program established pursuant to the Louisiana Public Defender Act of 2007.
E. (1) For good cause when the information is material and necessary to a specific investigation or proceeding, the court may order the release of individual records and reports, or certain information contained therein, to a petitioner, limited to the specific purpose for which the court authorizes release.
(2) The petition must:
(a) Be filed with the juvenile court and served on the juvenile and his attorney.
(b) State the reason for the request and the intended use of the information, including any intended redisclosure.
(c) State the names of all persons that will have access to the information.
(3) In ruling on the petition, the juvenile court shall consider the privacy of the juvenile, risk of harm to the juvenile, whether a compelling reason exists for releasing the information, and whether the release is necessary for the protection of a legitimate interest. The court shall ensure the juvenile is afforded notice of the hearing and an opportunity to be heard at a contradictory hearing on the petition.
F. The court may release records and reports concerning any proceeding, except adoption, to an adult who, as a child, was the subject of the proceeding. For good cause, the court may also order release of records and reports to the counsel or other appropriate legal representative of a child, still a minor, who was the subject of any proceedings, except adoption.
G. In accordance with Articles 811.1 and 811.3, the district attorney or court may release to the victim of a delinquent act constituting a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B), or to the victim’s legal representative or designated family member:
(1) The results of adjudication and disposition hearings.
(2) Notice of the taking into custody, release pursuant to Chapter 6 of Title VIII of this Code, release due to a rejection of charges by the district attorney, escape, or re-apprehension of the child accused of the crime of violence against the victim.
(3) Advance notice of court proceedings relating to the delinquent act.
(4) Certain information contained in the predisposition report to the court pursuant to Article 890, limited to those items described in Subparagraph (2) of that Article.
H. In order to assist in finding and taking into custody a child wanted for a felony-grade delinquent act involving an offense against the person or involving a dangerous weapon, law enforcement agencies may release to the public identifying information regarding the child if a court has issued an order for taking the child into custody pursuant to Article 813, or if probable cause that the child committed the alleged delinquent act has already been established pursuant to Article 820. Identifying information may include the child’s name, age, alleged delinquent act, physical description, and photograph.
I. Any violation of the confidentiality provisions of this Article shall be punishable as a constructive contempt of court pursuant to Article 1509(E).
J. Whenever a child escapes from a juvenile detention center, law enforcement agencies are hereby authorized to release to the public the child’s name, age, physical description, and photograph.
K. Every person, other than the juvenile, parents of the juvenile, and attorney for the juvenile, to whom a juvenile record or information from a juvenile is disclosed pursuant to this Article shall execute a non-disclosure agreement that certifies the person is familiar with the applicable disclosure provisions and agrees not to disclose any information to unauthorized persons.
L. Juvenile records or information from juvenile records disclosed pursuant to this Article shall be marked “UNLAWFUL DISSEMINATION OF THIS INFORMATION IS PUNISHABLE AS A CONSTRUCTIVE CONTEMPT OF COURT PURSUANT TO LOUISIANA CHILDREN’S CODE ARTICLE 1509(E)”.
M. Records of juvenile criminal conduct shall not be made a part of any state or local criminal background check.
Added by Acts 1991, No. 235, § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 1992. Amended by Acts 1993, No. 596, § 1; Acts 1993, No. 634, § 1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1993, No. 840, § 1; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex.Sess., No. 23, § 2; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex.Sess., No. 76, § 1; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex.Sess., No. 120, § 1, eff. July 7, 1994; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex.Sess., No. 140, § 1; Acts 1995, No. 1313, § 1, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 1999, No. 515, § 1; Acts 1999, No. 976, § 1; Acts 2001, No. 461, § 1; Acts 2003, No. 567, § 1; Acts 2008, No. 715, § 1; Acts 2012, No. 792, § 1; Acts 2016, No. 617, § 1; Acts 2017, No. 362, § 1.