Office of Children and Family Services

FOIL

Request Office of Children and Family Services Records Through The New York State Freedom of Information Law

Contents

Overview

The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), Article 6 (Sections 84-90) of the NYS Public Officers Law, provides the public right to access to 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, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, rules, regulations or codes.

Learn more about records access and Open FOIL NY.

Request Records

  • Use the Open FOIL NY online form.

  • Mail a written request to:
    Records Access Officer
    NYS Office of Children and Family Services
    52 Washington Street, Room 139 North
    Rensselaer, New York 12144

  • Email a written request to: FOIL@ocfs.ny.gov

  • Fax a written request to: (518) 473-4008

  • Submit a request for records in person:
    Directions: The Records Access Office is in OCFS’s North Building at 52 Washington Street in Rensselaer, New York. Upon entering the building’s main entrance, advise the security staff that you would like to submit a request for records. Security staff will contact the Records Access Office and remit your request. Please be advised, records require review prior to disclosure. As a result, documents and records will not be immediately available.

FOIL Process

Within five 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 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 requested 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, and other factors.

If the records you request require a fee to be paid, you will be notified prior to the records being released to you. Unless a different fee is otherwise prescribed by statute, Public Officers Law §87(1) authorizes an agency to charge a fee of 25¢ per copy for copies of records up 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

  • n amount equal to the hourly salary attributed to the lowest paid employee who has the necessary skill required to prepare the requested record(s), if at least two hours of agency employee time is needed to prepare a copy of the record request;
  • the actual cost of the storage devices or media provided to the person making the request in complying with such request; and
  • the actual cost to the agency of engaging an outside professional service to prepare a copy of a record, but only when an agency's information technology equipment is inadequate to prepare a copy, if such service is used to prepare the copy.

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 along with your appeal letter to:
Records Appeal Officer
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 135 North
Rensselaer, New York 12144

You will be informed in writing of the decision within ten business days of our receipt of such an appeal. Please indicate the FOIL Request Number when corresponding on this subject.

Subject Matter List

OCFS maintains a current list of records by subject matter. Some of the records in this subject matter list of agency records may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law.

Helpful Tips

For more information about FOIL, please visit the New York State Committee on Open Government’s website.

When submitting a FOIL request:

  • Be as specific as possible in describing the requested records. Include relevant dates, names, descriptions, etc. See suggested language for a FOIL request from the Committee on Open Government.
  • Specify whether you would like to inspect the records or have copies of the records sent to you.
  • If records are available, specify how you want them sent, i.e., via US mail, email or fax. We may choose to send the records by U.S. mail, if you have requested a large volume of records, for security or other important reasons. We will notify you of any charge for reproducing such records before they are sent to you.
  • Include your email, mailing address and fax number, as well as a telephone number where you can be reached during business hours, if it is necessary to clarify your request.
  • Please note that the agency is not required to create a new record in response to FOIL requests.
  • If you are requesting records relating to reports of child abuse and maltreatment, please send your request in writing to the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR).
    SCR Service Center
    P.O. Box 4480
    Albany, NY 12204

To find the address and phone number of a specific county department of social services, please visit our listing of local departments of social services. If you know the name of the agency involved, you may also wish to contact that organization.

Translate This Page

Google Translation Disclaimer