FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Helen Z. Pearl,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-458

 

State of Connecticut Department of Children and Youth Services,

 

Respondent June 28, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was scheduled as a contested case on January 3, 1989, at which time the parties appeared and presented evidence and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found.

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter filed November 18, 1988, the complainant alleged that, on November 16, 1988, the respondent denied her access to portions of a file which she was entitled to inspect pursuant to 1-19(a), G.S.

 

3. It is found that the complainant is the attorney for Robert Leonovitz who is a party to divorce proceedings which are now pending.

 

4. It is found that the records sought by the complainant concern allegations of child abuse by Leonovitz.

 

5. It is found that on or about November 22, 1988, the respondent permitted the complainant, in her capacity as attorney for Leonovitz, to inspect parts of the file concerning the allegations of child abuse, but that the respondent denied the complainant access to parts of the file which pertained to Mrs. Leonovitz and statements concerning the Leonovitz children which were made by Mrs. Leonovitz.

 

6. The respondent claims that the records are not subject to disclosure pursuant to 1-19(a), G.S., because they are not public records pursuant to 17-38a, and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

7. It is found that 17-38a, G.S., makes reports of child abuse confidential and subject to regulations promulgated by the respondent.

 

Docket #FIC88-458 Page Two

 

8. It is concluded that the requested records are not subject to disclosure pursuant to 1-19(a), G.S., because 17-38a, G.S., is a state statute which takes reports of child abuse out of the definition of public records which is set forth at 1-19(a), G.S.

 

9. It is concluded, therefore, that the Commission lacks jurisdiction to entertain this complaint.

 

10. It is concluded, further, that it is not necessary to consider the additional arguments which were presented at hearing by the complainant and the respondent.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

PURSUANT TO 4-180(c) C.G.S THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE F.O.I.C., OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

HELEN Z. PEARL, c/o WEBER AND MARSHALL, 24 Cedar Street,

P.O. Box 1566, New Britain, CT 06050-1566

 

STATE OF CONNECTICUT, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH

SERVICES, c/o Arthur E. Webster, Esquire, Assistant

Attorney General, MacKenzie Hall, 110 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 28, 1989.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission