I need your opinion regarding a case. We had the case of a 16 year old for fighting at school. In the intake the youth and parent admitted DCF involvement but would not disclose why, nor agree to sign a release of information for DCF nor the counseling agency they are currently involved in. My recommendation was to refer the case back to police department but others at the JRB wanted to just deal with the fight (community service). I believe the condition of referral to the JRB is compliance. Does this include compliance with release of confidential information such as DCF and mental health records? If so, then is it appropriate to amend the police JRB form to include an automatic release of DCF and other (mental health, etc) information?I would agree that if the family is involved with DCF and already seeing a counselor then they should sign releases so the JRB can develop a plan that includes the services already involved with the family to make sure your recommendations are consistent and not a duplication of services. There is no reason why the JRB should be restricted to only the new referral and should not consider the total picture. If a kid gets referred for shoplifting, the JRB will look into his/her school situation even though it has nothing to do with the theft. The rationale is that the JRB looks at the kid's and family's entire situation when fashioning a plan, not just the new offense.
As far as "amending the police JRB form to include an automatic release of DCF and other (mental health, etc) information" is concerned, I would recommend against that approach. In order for any release to be valid, it has to be executed in a manner that is knowingly and voluntarily made. Such a release on the police JRB form would have to be carefully explained to the family before they signed it. If the family had a problem with releasing the information, then they wouldn't sign the police release either. If they were somehow tricked into signing the release or if they signed it without it being fully explained to them, then the release wouldn't be valid anyway.
I would say that if the family does not want to release the information then the JRB should send the case back to the source for referral to court because of the families refusal to cooperate.
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