Office of Children and Family Services

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Request Records from OCFS under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

Under the New York Freedom of Information Law, people have a right to inspect government records.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file a request for information which is not offered on the Internet?

Some information may be downloaded directly from this website. If you do not find the information you seek on the website, please send a letter, fax or e-mail to:

Records Access Officer
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 133 North
Rensselaer, NY 12144
Fax: (518) 486-6378

Please be as specific as possible when requesting records, so that we may properly identify which records maintained by the department are responsive to your request. Please also include the return address where you want our response sent.

Is there a specific form I have to use to file a FOIL request?

No. We only require that you submit your request in writing, either by mail, facsimile or e-mail.

What happens to my request when it is received by OCFS?

Your request is given an OCFS FOIL index number and then routed to the region(s) or division(s) within the department where the records you seek reside. This number will appear on all correspondence you receive from OCFS, and will help us to identify your request.

The region or division will then identify and locate the records you have requested. Our Records Access Officer reviews the records for responsiveness to your request and  to check that release of the records complies with the Freedom of Information Law. A response to a request may contain hundreds or thousands of pages, and as a result may take some time to assemble.

How soon can I expect an answer?

The Records Access Officer will contact you with an acknowledgment letter within five days of receipt of your request. In the acknowledgment letter,  our Records Access Officer will estimate how long it will take to gather the records you requested. If you have not received your records within the time estimated in our acknowledgment letter, please feel free to contact us.

What items are exempt from disclosure?

Public Officers Law Section 87 provides the listed statutory exemptions for the denial of access to records. Please use the following link to access a copy of New York State’s Freedom of Information Law.

List of Agency Records (Subject Matter)

In accordance with §87(3)(c) of the Public Officers Law, the link above provides a detailed current list by subject matter of all records in the possession of the department. Some of the listed records are not available under FOIL.

What is the fee?

Upon completion of your FOIL request, the releasable records will made available to you at a fee of 25 cents per page, per §87(1)(b)(iii) of the Public Officers Law. Please make your check payable to New York State Office of Children and Family Services and record the FOIL index number in the memo section of your check.

The releasable records are also available for inspection and copying, by appointment only, at the main office on business days. Please be advised if you wish to obtain copies of the releasable records during your inspection, the 25 cent per page charge will still be applicable and the total cost for the copied records will be due at the conclusion of your inspection.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at:

Records Access Office
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 133 North
Rensselaer, NY 12144
Fax: (518) 486-6378

How do I appeal when I have been denied access under FOIL?

If you have been denied access by the Records Access Officer, you will be notified in writing. You have a right to appeal, but you must do so within 30 days of the written denial.

Submit your appeal to:

Records Access Appeals Officer
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 135 North
Rensselaer, NY 12144
Or by fax: (518) 486-6378
Or by e-mail:

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