New York State Freedom of Information Law

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New York State Freedom of Information Law

Requesting Office of Children and Family Services Records Through the New York State Freedom of Information Law

If you are requesting records related to reports of child abuse or maltreatment (CPS/ACS records), send your request in writing to the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) at the following address:

SCR Service Center
P.O. Box 4480
Albany, NY 12204

If you submit a request for CPS/ACS records through FOIL, your request will be denied under FOIL and you will be directed to follow the process stated above.

Please note, any request to the SCR must include the name and the date of birth of each person whose records you are requesting.

Overview

The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), Article 6 (Sections 84-90) of the NYS Public Officers Law, provides the public the right to access records maintained by government agencies with certain exceptions.

“Record” means any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with, or for this agency, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilm, computer tapes or disks, rules, regulations or codes.

Learn more about records access and Open FOIL NY.

Request Records

All requests for records must be made in writing and may be submitted via any of the methods identified below:

FOIL Process

Within five (5) business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, we will send you a letter either: making such record available; denying such request in writing; or furnishing a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request. If you have not received a letter within five (5) business days, please contact us at 518-473-0599 or FOIL@ocfs.ny.gov.

An acknowledgment letter will provide you with an estimate of when the records you request will be available, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request. This date is determined by the number of documents you request, their format, their availability, the time it takes to redact any information that cannot be disclosed pursuant to FOIL, the time it takes to assemble the documents, the number of requests we are currently processing, and other factors. Please note that on occasion extension letters will be provided requesting more time to process a request.

If the records you request require a fee to be paid, you will be notified prior to the records being released to you. There are fees applied to receiving copies of records pursuant to both Public Officers Law, Section 87 (FOIL) and Public Officers Law, Section 66-a.

Unless a different fee is otherwise prescribed by statute, Public Officers Law, Section 87(1) authorizes an agency to charge a fee of 25 cents per page for copies of records up to 9” x 14,” or the actual cost of reproducing a record. In determining the actual cost of producing a record, an agency may include only the following:

Once the requested records are prepared, you may receive the records via email, fax, paper, CD/DVD or USB. Records are available for inspection, by appointment, on business days from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Records Access Office, 52 Washington Street, North Building, Rensselaer, NY 12144. You may schedule an appointment for in-person inspection of records by calling 518-473-0599.

Right to Appeal

Under provisions of the Public Officers Law, you may appeal a FOIL determination. If you desire to submit such an appeal, you must do so within 30 days of the written response to your FOIL request. Please include a copy of the original request for records and a copy of the FOIL response letter you received with your appeal letter to:

Records Appeal Officer
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 143 North
Rensselaer, New York 12144

The OCFS records appeal officer will review the request, conduct a secondary search of records, if warranted, re-examine the exemptions under which the request was denied, and/or consult with division counsel if necessary. Within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the Appeal, the records appeal officer will fully explain in writing the reason for further denial or will grant full or partial access to the records sought. Please indicate the FOIL request number when corresponding on this subject.