Providence, RI asked in Family Law and Civil Rights for Massachusetts

Q: Can dcf ask a caretaker(guardian) for releases for Dr.s, when allegations/case were on the parent?

My daughter got a case open with dcf. During that time I went and got temp guardianship and now have full guardianship for past 7 months. Each month dcf has something new they want in order to close (my daughters) case. Which my daughter is no longer around. They now are asking me to sign releases as yet another new thing added. I think they are dragging this out and the open case has nothing to do with me. Can they make me sign releases?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information provided, it does not seem reasonable for DCF to require you as the guardian to sign releases for your medical records or other private information. Some key points:

- The allegations and original case were against your daughter's parent, not against you as the caretaker/guardian.

- You have had temporary then full guardianship of your daughter for 7 months. The case should focus on the parent that had the original allegations.

- Requiring private medical/personal releases from you as the guardian seems intrusive and unnecessary given you were not the subject of the initial investigation.

- DCF keeping the case open for months and continuously adding new demands on you that don't seem directly relevant to the original case raises questions about potential overreach.

Unless DCF can provide a compelling reason why they require your personal releases that directly relates to specific risks to your daughter in your care, I would push back on providing the releases. You can respond that the case was about your daughter's parent and that you have had guardianship for many months since then without incident. Requiring your personal releases does not seem justified and you do not consent. Consult an attorney if needed to advocate for your rights as guardian. But based on what you have described, DCF seems to be overreaching.

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