The Vermont General Assembly has established guidelines that facilitate access to public records.
Any document produced or acquired in the course of doing state business is a public record and may be subject to public disclosure, unless specifically exempted by law.
Records Exempt from Disclosure
While the Department for Children and Families strongly favors access to public documents and records, exceptions to that general policy of disclosure are listed in 1 V.S.A. § 317(c).
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Documents that are confidential by law (e.g., adoption and foster care records)
- Documents containing certain types of personal or financial information about individuals
- Documents recognized as being privileged
- Document that by law may only be disclosed to specifically designated persons
- Documents relevant to active litigation
- The names of, or information pertaining to, individuals involved with the department (e.g., whether an individual is getting or has ever received economic benefits through the department)
Requesting an Individual's Records
Below are the contacts for personal records:
- Adoptions finalized in Vermont: Contact the Vermont Adoption Registry at (802) 241-0906 or Christina.Shuma@partner.vermont.gov.
- Child Protection Records: If you are a child protection agency from another state seeking a family's records, contact Deputy Compact Administrator, Patricia.Casanova@vermont.gov. All requests must be sent on agency letterhead and include: name, DOB and reason for the agency's request.
For individuals requesting child protection records, please contact the Family Services District Office your family was involved with.
- Economic Services Records: If you are requesting records related to an individual's receipt of ESD benefits, please email email@example.com.
- Family Services Records: For copies of your records while in Vermont foster care, contact the Family Services District Office your family was involved with. Please review the records exempt from disclosure, listed above.
Requesting Public Records
Put your request in writing and email it to Pam.Dalley@vermont.gov.
If email is not an option, mail your request to: Public Records Requests, DCF Commissioner's Office, 280 State Drive, HC1 North, Waterbury, VT 05671-1080.
DCF will respond to your request within three business days of receiving it unless there are unusual circumstances per 1 V.S.A. § 318. Unusual circumstances may result in an extension, upon written notice, of up to 10 business days from receipt of your request.
Fees for Obtaining a Copy of a Public Record
DCF will charge fees for providing a copy of a public record per the rule adopted by the Secretary of State as set forth below.
- Staff time involved in physically duplicating a record: $.33 per minute after the first 30 minutes
- Senior-level staff time and IT specialists’ time spent extracting data from databases or performing similar tasks necessary to comply with a request to create a new public record: $.57 per minute
- Other staff time for which cost can be charged and collected under this section: $.45 per minute
- Photocopies: $.05 per single-sided page, $.09 per double-sided page for pages up to 8.5 by 14 inches
- Color photocopies: $1.00 per single-sided page
- Computer-generated paper copies: $.02 per page for pages up to 8.5 by 14 inches
- Computer diskettes: $.28 each for 3.5-inch diskettes
- Compact discs: $.86 each for write-once CD w/case, $2.31 each for re-writable CD w/case
- Audio tapes: $.81 each
- Video tapes: $1.69 each
- DVDs: $2.00 each for write-once DVD w/case, $4.00 each for re-writable DVD w/case
*Note: there are fees for copies of public records that are established by statute that may override the fees established by this schedule.
If you believe you were wrongly denied a request for public records, you may write to: Public Records Requests, DCF Commissioner's Office, 280 State Drive, HC1 North, Waterbury, VT 05671-1080.
For More Information
- Public Records Page on the Secretary of State's website
- Public Information Page on the Agency of Administration's website
- Public Records Request Policy on the Agency of Human Services' website
- The Vermont Statute related to public records access
The following sub-sections outline additional considerations of the law:
- § 317. Definitions; public agency; public records and documents
- § 317a. Disposition of public records
- § 318. Procedure
- § 319. Enforcement