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Title XII PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

Chapter 211

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  211.319.  Juvenile court records and proceedings, abuse and neglect cases, procedure. — 1.  On or before July 1, 2005, all juvenile court proceedings conducted pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 211.031 and for termination of parental rights cases pursuant to sections 211.442 to 211.487 initiated by a juvenile officer or the division shall be open to the public; except that, when the parent has consented in writing to the termination of his or her parental rights in conjunction with a placement with a licensed child-placing agency under subsection 6 of section 453.010, the hearing shall be closed.  The court, on its own motion, may exclude for good cause shown any person or persons from the proceedings to protect the welfare and best interests of the child and for exceptional circumstances.  Any party to a juvenile court proceeding referred to in this subsection, except the state, may file a motion requesting that the general public be excluded from the proceeding or any portion of the proceeding.  Upon the filing of such motion, the court shall hear arguments by the parties, but no evidence, and shall make a determination whether closure is in the best interest of the parties or whether it is in the public interest to deny such motion.  The court shall make a finding on the record when a motion to close a hearing pursuant to this section is made and heard by the court.

  2.  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 1 of this section, the general public shall be excluded from all juvenile court proceedings referred to in subsection 1 of this section during the testimony of any child or victim and only such persons who have a direct interest in the case or in the work of the court will be admitted to the proceedings.

  3.  For juvenile court proceedings described in subsection 1 of this section, pleadings and orders of the juvenile court other than confidential files and those specifically ordered closed by the juvenile court judge shall be open to the general public.  For purposes of this section, "confidential file" means all other records and reports considered closed or confidential by law, including but not limited to medical reports, psychological or psychiatric evaluations, investigation reports of the children's division, social histories, home studies, and police reports and law enforcement records.  Only persons who are found by the court to have a legitimate interest shall be allowed access to confidential or closed files.  In determining whether a person has a legitimate interest, the court shall consider the nature of the proceedings, the welfare and safety of the public, and the interest of any child involved.

  4.  For records made available to the public pursuant to this section:

  (1)  The identity of any child involved except the perpetrator shall not be disclosed and all references in such records to the identity of any child involved except the perpetrator shall be redacted prior to disclosure to the public; and

  (2)  All information that may identify or lead to the disclosure of the identity of a reporter of child abuse under sections 210.109 to 210.183 and section 352.400 shall not be disclosed to the public.

  5.  The provisions of this section shall apply to juvenile court proceedings and records specified in this section in which the initial pleadings are filed on or after July 1, 2005.

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(L. 2004 H.B. 1453, A.L. 2007 S.B. 84)


---- end of effective   28 Aug 2007 ----

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