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Establishment and Maintenance of Central Registries for Child Abuse or Neglect Reports

Series Title:  State Statutes
Author(s):  Child Welfare Information Gateway
Year Published:  2018
Current Through:  May 2018

To access the statutes for a specific State or territory, visit the State Statutes Search.

This publication examines State laws for maintaining records of child abuse and neglect. Almost all States maintain a statewide central registry, which is a centralized database of child abuse and neglect investigation records. In some states, the individual State agencies that received the reports of suspected abuse or neglect are required to maintain these records. Central registry reports are typically used to aid social services agencies in the investigation, treatment, and prevention of child abuse cases and to maintain statistical information for staffing and funding purposes. Central registry records also are used to conduct background checks on prospective foster and adoptive parents.

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