Sen. Bailey introduces bill to ensure access to records in child and adult protection proceedings

Posted: March 23, 2023 | Senator Bailey

AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, March 22, Sen. Donna Bailey, D-Saco, introduced LD 773, “An Act to Ensure Access by Parties and Attorneys to Records in Child and Adult Protection Proceedings,” before the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary. LD 773 would require the State to disclose records to attorneys in child and adult protection cases.

“When the State is seeking to take away a fundamental liberty or constitutionally protected right, the person who may lose their rights should have the right to see the evidence the State has against them,” said Sen. Bailey. “This bill seeks to address the inequity of the disclosure statutes, to ensure that people who the State is seeking to divest of their constitutionally protected liberty interests has the right to see the evidence the State will use against them.”

Currently, the statute on the confidentiality of records prevents attorneys from viewing State records for their clients, even during child and adult protective proceedings. These cases include child custody cases when the State is trying to remove a child from a parent or parents. The statue also applies to adult protective cases when the State is seeking to obtain conservatorship or guardianship over the adult.

“We believe that [the bill] attempts to strike a reasonable balance between the access to sensitive information required by principles of due process of law and professional responsibility and a policy of confidentiality developed to protect the safety, privacy and dignity of vulnerable children and adults,” said Leo Delicata of Legal Services for the Elderly, speaking in favor of the bill.

The bill faces further action in committee.