Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–2332. Juvenile social records; confidentiality; inspection and disclosure.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “juvenile social records” means all social records made with respect to a child in any proceedings over which the Family Court has jurisdiction under section 11-1101(13), including preliminary inquiries, predisposition studies, and examination reports.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section and in section 16-2333.01, juvenile social records shall be kept confidential and shall not be open to inspection.

(c) Subject to the limitations of subsection (e) of this section, the following persons and entities may inspect juvenile social records:

(1) Courts:

(A) Judges and professional staff of the Superior Court; and

(B) Any court or its probation staff, for purposes of sentencing the child as a defendant in a criminal case;

(2) Family Court case participants:

(A) The Attorney General and his assistants assigned to the Family Court;

(B) The respondent and any attorney for the respondent without regard to the age of the respondent at the time of the inspection and without regard to the existence of a pending Family Court case; and

(C) Public or private agencies or institutions providing supervision or treatment, or having custody of the child, if the supervision, treatment, or custody is under the order of the Family Court;

(3) Other court case participants and law enforcement:

“Law enforcement officers of the United States, the District of Columbia, and other jurisdictions when a custody order has issued for the respondent, except that such records shall be limited to photographs of the child, a physical description of the child, and any addresses where the child may be found, and the law enforcement officer may not be permitted access to any other documents or information contained in the social file;

(4) Government agencies and entities:

(A) Professional employees of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services when necessary for the discharge of their official duties;

(B) The Child and Family Services Agency when necessary for the discharge of its official duties;

(C) The Child Fatality Review Committee for the purposes of examining past events and circumstances surrounding deaths of children in the District of Columbia or of children who are either residents or wards of the District of Columbia, or for the discharge of its official duties;

(D) Authorized personnel in the Mayor's Family Court Liaison, the Department of Health, the Department of Behavioral Health, the Child and Family Services Agency, the Department of Human Services, the District of Columbia Public Schools, and the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia for the purpose of:

(i) The delivery of services to:

(I) Individuals under the jurisdiction of the Family Court, or their families; and

(II) Youth who have been diverted by law enforcement, by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, or pursuant to [§ 16-2305.02]; or

(ii) Monitoring recidivism and the efficacy of services provided to:

(I) Individuals under the jurisdiction of the Family Court; and

(II) Youth who have been diverted by law enforcement, by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, or pursuant to [§ 16-2305.02]; and

(E) The Violence Fatality Review Committee for the purposes of examining past events and circumstances surrounding suicides and homicides, as that term is defined in [§ 5-1431.01(e)], or for the discharge of its official duties.

(5) Other persons having a professional interest in the protection, welfare, treatment, and rehabilitation of the respondent or of a member of the respondent’s family, or in the work of the Family Court, if authorized by rule or special order of the court.

(d)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section and in section 16-2333.01, records inspected pursuant to subsection (c) of this section may not be divulged to unauthorized persons.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, health and human services information contained with juvenile social records may be divulged for the purposes of and in accordance with [Chapter 2A Title 7].

(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “health and human services information” shall have the same meaning as provided in [§ 7-241(3)].

(e) Notwithstanding subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the Superior Court may by rule or special order provide that particular items or classes of items in juvenile social records shall not be open to inspection except pursuant to rule or special order; but, in dispositional proceedings after an adjudication, no item considered by the judge (other than identification of the sources of confidential information) shall be withheld from inspection:

(1) In delinquency or need of supervision cases, by the attorney for the child; or

(2) In neglect cases, by the attorney for the child and an attorney for the parent, guardian, or other custodian of the child.

(f) The Superior Court may by rule or special order provide procedures for the inspection or copying of juvenile social records by persons entitled to inspect them. No person receiving any record or information pursuant to this section may publish or use it for any purpose other than that for which it was received without a special order of the court.

(g)(1) Notwithstanding subsections (b), (c), (d), or (e) of this section, for every respondent committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (“Department”) pursuant to section 16-2320(c)(2) who has been adjudicated of:

(A) A crime of violence (as defined in section 23-1331(4));

(B) A weapons offense;

(C) Unauthorized use of a vehicle;

(D) Theft in the first degree where property obtained or used is a motor vehicle (as defined in section 22-3215(a)); or

(E) Adjudicated 3 or more times, the Mayor may direct the Director of the Department (“Director”) to provide notice to the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (“Chief)” of any assignment or placement of the respondent in a Department facility or residential or other placement, including any facility operated by a contractor or agent, as soon as practicable prior to the assignment or placement.

(2) Notwithstanding subsections (b), (c), (d), or (e) of this section, for any respondent who is detained or committed to the Department, the Director shall provide notice to the Chief of any respondent who has absconded or escaped from any Department facility, or residential or other placement, including any facility or placement operated by an agent or contractor, within one hour of the absconding or escaping.

(3) Notice issued pursuant to this subsection shall include the following information, as applicable:

(A) Respondent’s name and date of birth;

(B) Last known address of the respondent;

(C) Last known address of the respondent’s parents, guardians, caretakers, and custodians;

(D) Address to which the respondent will be assigned, placed, or released and the name and address of the person into whose custody the respondent will be placed if the respondent is not placed into a Department facility; and

(E) A recent photograph of the respondent, if available.

(4) The Chief shall utilize information obtained from the Director and may disclose such information to law enforcement persons or law enforcement entities only as necessary to preserve public safety or the safety of the respondent. The Chief shall not otherwise disclose this information, except as authorized by this section.

(5) If the Chief discloses information pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection, the Chief shall notify the recipient that the information may only be re-disclosed to law enforcement officers and only to the extent necessary to preserve public safety or the safety of the respondent. The Chief shall notify the recipient of the information that any other use or disclosure of the information shall be governed by this section and sections 16-2331 and 16-2333, and that unauthorized re-disclosure may be prosecuted under section 16-2336. Any violation of this paragraph will result in an investigation of the violation by the Inspector General of the District of Columbia.

(6) The Chief may make additional case-specific inquiries to the Mayor based on information disclosed under paragraph (1) of this subsection. The Mayor may direct the Director to provide such additional information, when requested by the Chief, but only as necessary to protect public safety or the safety of the respondent.

(h) No person shall disclose, inspect, or use records in violation of this section.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 540, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 121(a); Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 110(g), title IV, § 408(a), 24 DCR 3341; Oct. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 14-28, § 4620(c), 48 DCR 6981; Mar. 17, 2005, D.C. Law 15-261, § 302(b), 52 DCR 1188; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, §§ 43, 132, 53 DCR 6794; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-274, § 2(c), 54 DCR 864; Dec. 4, 2010, D.C. Law 18-273, § 210(b), 57 DCR 7171; Mar. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-284, §§ 3(d), 4, 57 DCR 10477; Apr. 4, 2017, D.C. Law 21-238, § 102(i), 63 DCR 15312; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 3052(d), 65 DCR 9388.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-2332.

1973 Ed., § 16-2332.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1515.06, § 4-1371.06, § 16-1054, § 16-2316, § 16-2331, § 16-2333.01, § 16-2335, § 16-2363, and § 16-2393.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-28, in subsec. (b), made nonsubstantive changes in pars. (4), (5), and (6), and added par. (7).

D.C. Law 15-261, in subsec. (b), made nonsubstantive changes at the end of pars. (6) and (7), and added pars. (8), (9), and

Cross References

Confidentiality of juvenile records, see § 16-2363.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3052(d) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3052(d) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 20(c) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-40, April 25, 2001, 48 DCR 5917).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 20(c) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Legislative Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-82, July 9, 2001, 48 DCR 6355).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 201(c) of Enhanced Crime Prevention and Abatement Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-446, July 21, 2006, 53 DCR 6477).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 301(c) of Crime Reduction Initiative Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-491, October 19, 2006, 53 DCR 8818).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 201(c) of Crime Reduction Initiative Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-9, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1471).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210(b) of Data-Sharing and Information Coordination Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-530, August 6, 2010, 57 DCR 8099).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210(b) of Data-Sharing and Information Coordination Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-582, October 20, 2010, 57 DCR 10118).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 20(c) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Temporary Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-20, September 6, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 9090).

Mayor's Orders

Mayor’s Direction under the Mandatory Juvenile Public Safety Notification Amendment Act of 2006, see Mayor’s Order 2010-2, January 22, 2010 ( 57 DCR 1002).