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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Edward C. Fulgium Jr. and Sue Fulgium petition this court for a writ of mandamus compelling the Honorable Jeff Addison, judge of the County Court-at-Law of Bowie County, to set aside a protective order denying depositions of Kim Griffin, case manager for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Northeast Texas Inc. (CASA), and the custodian of records of the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship pending in that court. The order also denied discovery of CASA’s and CAC’s records. HOLDING:Denied. The trial court is granted discretion under 261.201, 264.408 and 264.613 of the Texas Family Code to order disclosure of the information sought in this case, provided certain requirements have been met. Under 261.201, information relating to the investigation of child abuse may not be disclosed unless the court orders it disclosed after determining that disclosure is essential to the administration of justice and would not endanger the child, the person reporting the abuse, or any other person. While 261.201 does not specifically describe the entities to which it applies, 264.408 and 264.613 provide that 261.201 applies to CASA and CAC. Section 264.613 provides that 261.201 applies to CASA. The creation of CASA is authorized by Subchapter G. Section 264.613 provides that the “files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in providing services under this subchapter are confidential . . . and may only be disclosed for purposes consistent with this subchapter,” and specifically lists the entities to which disclosure may be made. Tex. Fam. Code 264.613. Neither the parents nor the grandparents of the child, or their attorney(s), are on this list. Further, 264.613(c) provides that “[i]nformation related to the investigation of a report of abuse or neglect of a child under Chapter 261 and services provided as a result of the investigation are confidential as provided by Section 261.201.” CAC’s records are protected by similar provisions. Under Subchapter E, which applies to Child Advocacy Centers, 264.408 provides that the “files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in providing services under this chapter are confidential . . . and may only be disclosed for purposes consistent with this chapter,” and specifically lists the entities to which disclosure may be made. As in 264.613, neither the parents nor the grandparents of the child, or their attorney(s), are on the list in 264.408. Further, Section 264.408(b) provides that “[i]nformation related to the investigation of a report of abuse or neglect of a child under Chapter 261 and services provided as a result of the investigation is confidential as provided by Section 261.201.” Section 261.201(a) states that “[t]he following information is confidential . . . and may be disclosed only for purposes consistent with this code and applicable federal or state law or under rules adopted by an investigating agency.” Such information includes “except as otherwise provided in this section, the files, reports, records, communications, audiotapes, videotapes, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under this chapter or in providing services as a result of an investigation.” Section 261.201 does include an exception that the trial court “may order” disclosure if, after a hearing, it is determined that the requested information is “essential to the administration of justice” and not likely to endanger the life or safety of the child, the person who reported the abuse, or any other person involved. The exception allowing the trial court to order the disclosure is discretionary. If a hearing determines that the disclosure of the information is essential to the administration of justice and there is no danger to the child or another person, a court may order the disclosure at its discretion. The trial court held a hearing concerning the matter. Because there is no showing that the information is essential to the administration of justice or that the disclosure poses no danger to the child or another person, the court cannot say the trial court clearly abused its discretion in refusing to order the disclosure. Further, there is no showing that disclosure would be consistent with the Family Code or required by federal or state law. OPINION:Ross, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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