The Vermont General Assembly established guidelines to 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)
Below are contacts for certain kinds of records.
- Child protection agencies from other states: if you're seeking a family's records, contact Patricia Casanova, Deputy Compact Administrator, (802) 241-9003
- Foster care records: For copies of your records while in foster care, contact the Family Services District Office your family was involved with
- Records of adoptions finalized in VT: Call the Vermont Adoption Registry at (802) 241-0906
Fees for Obtaining a Copy of a Public Record
DCF will charge fees for the actual cost of providing a copy of a public record in accordance with 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.
Requesting a Public Record
Please put your request in writing and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If email is not an option, you may call Luciana at (802) 241-0929 or mail your request to:
Department for Children and Families - Commissioner's Office
280 State Drive, Waterbury, VT 05671-1080
DCF will respond to your request within three business days of receiving it unless there are unusual circumstances and the three day period may be extended in accordance with 1 V.S.A. § 318. Unusual circumstances may result in an extension, upon written notice, of up to ten (10) business days from receipt of your request.
If you believe you were wrongly denied a request for public records, you may write to:
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1080
For More Information
- Click here to visit the Vermont Secretary of State's website.
- Click here to read the Agency of Human Services' Public Records Request Policy.
- Click here to read the statute (1 V.S.A. § 316).
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
§ 320. Penalties