OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA
Present: Judges Benton, Frank and Clements
Argued at Richmond, Virginia
ROBERT B. GREEN, SR.
v. Record No. 2787-00-2 JUDGE JAMES W. BENTON, JR.
JUNE 26, 2001
RICHMOND DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
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The trial judge denied Robert B. Green, Sr., access to his daughter's medical, hospital, and other records pursuant to Code § 20-124.6. On appeal, Green argues that the trial judge erred in finding that the Richmond Department of Social Services established good cause to deny him access to his daughter's records. We affirm the judgment.
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Green has been incarcerated in prison
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first requested copies of his daughter's records in July 1999. Although a foster care worker sent Green a consent form, Green did not receive any records because of errors on the consent form. In December 1999, when Green again requested access to his daughter's records, the Department filed a motion in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court opposing his request. A judge found good cause to deny Green access to his daughter's medical, hospital, and other health records, except to the extent authorized by his daughter's treating physician. Green appealed that decision to the circuit court.
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Green testified that he wanted to take an active role in facilitating his daughter's treatment.
The trial judge found that Green's access to his daughter's records would be harmful to her and was not in her best interests. He also found that Green's access to the records would interfere with his daughter's disclosures to her therapist and that Green's desire for access was "not to help [the daughter]." Upon these findings, the judge denied Green access to her medical, hospital, and other health records.
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Code § 20-124.6 provides that, "[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law, neither parent, regardless of whether such parent has custody, shall be denied access to the academic, medical, hospital or other health records of that parent's minor child unless otherwise ordered by the court for good cause shown."
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As the trial judge ruled, no evidence proved that Green has any specialized training or education in child development or counseling that would provide him with the ability to help his daughter by reviewing her medical records. In other words, nothing in the record showed that Green has greater insight than his daughter's therapist concerning what is in her best interest as she undergoes treatment. The testimony of the therapist and the report of the psychiatrist are unrebutted by any evidence explaining how Green's daughter, who needs psychological treatment, would benefit or progress in resolving her psychological issues if Green had access to her medical records.