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In 2003, Congress amended the Child Abuse, Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to provide states with more flexibility in designing open child dependency hearings. The Federal Children’s Bureau has interpreted those amendments as a congressional waiver of CAPTA confidentiality in open court proceedings, and there-fore, currently tens of millions of abused and neglected children no longer have federal protection from being re-traumatized by disclosure of confidential CAPTA child welfare case information. This article demonstrates that the Children’s Bureau’s statutory interpretation is inconsistent with congressional intent and that states are still mandated to reasonably prevent the republication of confidential data by the media and the general public who attend those open hearings.



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