428.8 Access to foster care records by a former foster child.

    (a) Purpose. This section establishes the standards and process whereby a former foster child may receive access to foster care records from an authorized agency.

    (b) Definitions. As used in this section:

        (1) Former foster child means a person 18 years of age or older, who has been discharged from foster care on either a trial or final basis and was not adopted.

        (2) Foster care record means the following:

            (i) health and medical records, including clinical records and medical histories of the foster child and his or her birth parents, to the extent available, and in accordance with section 373-a of the Social Services Law and section 357.3 of this Title;

            (ii) educational records;

            (iii) social history, assessment and service plan documents and plan amendments in the form and manner required at the time such documents were completed, or which predate uniform case recording requirements pursuant to this Part;

            (iv) face sheet or equivalent, and any other documents which identify and describe family members, including but not limited to parents, guardians, siblings and half siblings, and grandparents; and

            (vi) placement information pursuant to section 372(1)(e) of the Social Services Law.

        (3) Authorized agency includes those entities defined in section 371 (10) (a) and (b) of the Social Services Law.

    (c) An authorized agency must grant a former foster child's request for access to his or her foster care record, subject to the provisions of this section. A former foster child is entitled to receive all items in the foster care record as that term is defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of this section, except for confidential HIV-related information concerning any person other than the former foster child. The former foster child may gain access to child protective services information regarding the former foster child, including reports to the Statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment in accordance with section 422 of the Social Services Law.

    (d) Access by a former foster child to his or her foster care record must be granted in one of the following methods as chosen by the authorized agency:

        (1) a summary statement containing the requested information;

        (2) a copy of the entire foster care record;

        (3) a copy of the portions of the record containing the requested information;

        (4) a personal review of the applicable records by the former foster child within the agency facility, when mutually convenient to the authorized agency and the former foster child; or

        (5) any combination of the above.

    (e) The former foster child must submit a written request detailing the specific information sought and include a copy of a document verifying the identity of the former foster child such as a current valid driver's license or other commonly accepted form of identification which provides proof of the name and date of birth of the former foster child. Nothing precludes the former foster child from requesting all available agency foster care records that pertain to the former foster child.

    `(f) Upon the receipt by an authorized agency of a written request from a former foster child for information concerning the former foster child, the authorized agency must verify the identity and age of the former foster child by reviewing the submitted identification documentation; the authorized agency must search its foster care records to determine whether a foster care record exists for such a person.

    (g) Within 30 days of the receipt of the written request, the authorized agency must provide the former foster child with the requested information or a written explanation of the delay including the date the information will be provided.

    (h) An authorized agency may impose reasonable and customary charges, not to exceed the actual costs incurred by the authorized agency, for making copies of and/or mailing case record documents. No charge may be imposed for providing personal review of the records or preparing a summary.

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