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Introduction

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) recognizes that it is critical for individuals and businesses to be confident that their privacy is protected when they visit OCFS's website.

Consistent with the provisions of the Internet Security and Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Law, and the Personal Privacy Protection Law, this policy describes OCFS's privacy practices regarding information collected from users of this website.  This policy describes what information is collected through this website and how that information is used.  Because this privacy policy only applies to this website, you should examine the privacy policy of any other website, including other state agency websites, that you access using an external link from this website.

Personal Information
For purposes of this policy, "personal information" means any information concerning a natural person which, because of name, number, symbol, mark, or other identifier, can be used to identify that natural person.  OCFS does not collect any personal information about you unless you provide that information voluntarily by sending an e-mail, responding to a survey, or completing an online transaction.
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Links
The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) provides links to other websites not maintained or controlled by OCFS.  A link does not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services or accessibility of that website. When you click on these external links, you will, in effect, leave the OCFS website and be directed to another site.

Other websites operate under the auspices and at the direction of their respective owners and webmasters.  Once you link to another website, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that website, including, but not limited to, its privacy policy. If you have a question or comment about any of these sites, please contact the site owner or webmaster directly.
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Information Collected Automatically When You Visit this Website
When visiting this website, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) automatically collects and stores the following information about your visit:

(i) The Internet Protocol Address and domain name used, but not the e-mail address. The Internet Protocol Address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your Internet service provider or directly to your computer;
(ii) The type of browser and operating system you used;
(iii) The date and time you visited this site;
(iv) The Web pages or services you accessed at this site; and
(v) If you downloaded a form, the form that was downloaded.

None of the foregoing information is deemed to constitute personal information.

The information that is collected automatically is used to improve this website's content and to help OCFS understand how users are interacting with the website. This information is collected for statistical analysis, to determine what information is of most and least interest to our users, and to improve the usefulness of the material available on the website.  The information is not collected for commercial marketing purposes and OCFS is not authorized to sell or otherwise disclose the information collected from the website for commercial marketing purposes.
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Cookies
Cookies are simple text files stored on your Web browser that are used to identify and understand users of and visitors to a website. The use of cookies is a standard practice among Internet websites.  Cookies are either “temporary” or “persistent.”  Temporary cookies (also called “session cookies”) do not collect information from the user’s computer or contain personal information, do not compromise your privacy or security, are stored in temporary memory on your computer, and are erased when your browser is closed.  “Persistent cookies” (or “stored cookies”) are cookies that are stored on a user’s hard drive until they expire (persistent cookies are set with expiration dates) or until the user deletes the cookie.   Persistent cookies are used to collect identifying information about the user, such as Web surfing behavior or user preferences for a specific website.

In order to better serve you, OCFS may use "temporary" cookies to enhance, customize or enable your visit to this website. During your visit to this website, if you decide to complete a registration form in order to personalize your use of the website, we may, in such an event, deliver a "persistent" cookie which would be stored on your computer's hard drive.  This persistent cookie will allow the website to recognize you when you visit again and tailor the information presented to you based on your needs and interests.  We use persistent cookies only with your permission, expressed by your decision to complete a registration form or conduct other transactions on this website.

The software you use to access the website allows you to refuse new cookies or delete existing cookies.  You have a right to refuse to allow any cookie to be stored on your computer or to delete a cookie that has been stored on your computer, but you should be aware that refusing or deleting these cookies may limit your ability to take advantage of some of the features of this website.
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Information Collected When You E-mail this Website or Complete a Transaction
During your visit to this website, you may send an e-mail to the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Your e-mail address and the contents of your message will be collected, and this information may be used to respond to you, address issues you identify, improve the website, or forward your message to another agency for appropriate action. Your e-mail address is not collected for commercial purposes, and OCFS is not authorized to sell or otherwise disclose your e-mail address for commercial purposes.

During your visit to this website, you may complete a transaction such as a survey, registration, or order form. The information, including personal information volunteered by you in completing the transaction, is used by OCFS to operate various programs, which may include the provision of goods, services, and information. The information collected by OCFS may be disclosed by OCFS for those purposes that are reasonably related to the nature and terms of the transaction in which the information was submitted, but not for commercial purposes. 

OCFS does not knowingly collect personal information from children or create profiles of children through this website. Users are cautioned, however, that any personal information submitted in an e-mail will be treated as though it was submitted by an adult, and may, unless exempted from access by federal or state law, be subject to public access or other disclosure.  OCFS strongly encourages parents and teachers to be involved in children's Internet activities and to provide guidance whenever children are asked to provide personal information online.
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Information and Choice
As noted above, the Office of Children and Family Services does not collect any personal information about you through this website unless you provide that information voluntarily by sending an e-mail, responding to a survey, or completing an online transaction or form. You may choose not to send us an e-mail, respond to a survey, or complete an online transaction or form, and always have the option to respond through use of regular mail. While your choice not to participate in these activities may limit your ability to receive specific services or products through this website, it will not normally have an impact on your ability to take advantage of other features of the website, including browsing or downloading most publicly available information.
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Disclosure of Information Collected Through this Website
The collection of information through this website and the disclosure of that information are subject to the provisions of the Internet Security and Privacy Act and other applicable state and federal statutes and/or regulations.  Participation in an online transaction resulting in the disclosure of personal information to the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) by the user, whether or not the user submits the information in response to a survey or form on the website, constitutes consent to the collection and disclosure of the information by OCFS for the purposes reasonably ascertainable from the nature and terms of the transaction.

OCFS may collect or disclose personal information without consent or notice to you if the collection or disclosure is: (1) necessary to perform the statutory duties of OCFS, or necessary for OCFS to operate a program authorized by law, or authorized by state or federal statute or regulation; (2) made pursuant to a court order or by law; (3) for the purpose of validating the identity of the user; or (4) of information to be used solely for statistical purposes that is in a form that cannot be used to identify any particular person.

The disclosure of information, including personal information, collected through this website is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law, the Personal Privacy Protection Law, and other applicable state and federal statutory and/or regulatory provisions.
OCFS may also disclose personal information to federal or state law enforcement authorities to enforce its rights against unauthorized access or attempted unauthorized access to OCFS's information technology assets.
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Retention of Information Collected Through this Website
The information collected through this website is retained by the Office of Children and Family Services in accordance with the records retention and disposition requirements of the New York State Arts & Cultural Affairs Law.

Information, including personal information, that you submit in an e-mail or when you complete a survey, registration form, or order form is retained in accordance with the records retention and disposition schedule established for the records of the program unit to which you submitted the information. Information concerning these records retention and disposition schedules may be obtained through the Internet privacy policy contact listed in this policy.
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Access to/and Correction of Personal Information Collected Through this Website
Any user may submit a request to the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Records Access Officer to determine whether personal information pertaining to that user has been collected through this website. Any such request shall be made in writing and must include reasonable proof of identity of the user. Reasonable proof of identity may include verification of a signature or similar appropriate identification. The address of the Records Access Officer is:

Records Access Officer
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 305 South
Rensselaer, NY 12144-2796
Tel: (518) 473-7793

Pursuant to Section 95 of the Public Officers Law, OCFS will, within five (5) business days of the receipt of a proper request from the user about whom the information has been collected, provide access to the personal information; deny access in writing, explaining the reasons therefore; or acknowledge the receipt of the request in writing, stating the approximate date when the request will be granted or denied, which date shall not be more than thirty (30) days from the date of the acknowledgment.

In the event that OCFS has collected personal information pertaining to a user through the OCFS website and that information is to be provided to the user pursuant to the user's request, the Records Access Officer shall inform the user of his or her right to request that the personal information be amended or corrected under the procedures set forth in section 95 of the Public Officers Law.
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Confidentiality and Integrity of Personal Information Collected Through this Website
The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is strongly committed to protecting personal information collected through this website against unauthorized access, use or disclosure. Consequently, OCFS limits employee access to personal information collected through this website to only those employees who need access to the information in the performance of their official duties. Employees who have access to this information follow appropriate procedures in connection with any disclosure(s) of personal information.

In addition, OCFS has implemented procedures to safeguard the integrity of its information technology assets. These security procedures have been integrated into the design, implementation, and day-to-day operations of this website as part of our continuing commitment to the security of electronic content as well as the electronic transmission of information.

For website security purposes and to maintain the availability of the website for all users, this agency uses software to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise damage this website.
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Disclaimer
The information provided in this privacy policy should not be construed as giving business, legal, or other advice, or warranting as fail-proof, the security of information provided through this website. 
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Contact Information
For questions regarding this Internet privacy policy, please contact:
(via e-mail)
info@ocfs.state.ny.us


(via regular mail)
Records Access Officer
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 305 South
Rensselaer, NY 12144-2796
Tel: (518) 473-7793

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