FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 93-345
Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven, Inc.,
Respondent September 14, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 31, 1994, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
2. It is found that by letter dated December 10, 1993, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with access to copies of the respondent's annual report, the budget for the year 1992-93, the proposed budget for the year 1993-94, the activities engaged in by the respondent and the identities of the respondent's directors and chief administrative personnel.
3. It is found that the respondent denied the complainant's records request on December 15, 1993.
4. By letter of complaint dated December 17, 1993 and filed with the Commission on December 20, 1993, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her access to the requested records.
5. Prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with access to the requested records. However, the respondent contends that it is not a public agency and therefore not subject to the disclosure requirements of the FOI Act.
6. Consequently, the only issue before the Commission is whether the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
7. The test for determining whether an entity such as the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a) and 1-19a, G.S., is set forth in Board of Trustees of Woodstock Academy v. FOI Commission, 181 Conn. 544 (1980) and the criteria
Docket #FIC 93-345 Page 2
are (1) the level of government funding; (2) the extent of government involvement or regulation; (3) whether the entity performs a governmental function; and (4) whether the entity was created by the government. Further, pursuant to Connecticut Humane Society v. FOI Commission, 218 Conn. 757, 761 (1991), all four of the foregoing factors are not necessary for a finding of functional equivalence. Rather all four factors are to be considered cumulatively, with no single factor being essential or conclusive.
8. It is found that the respondent receives annual funding from federal, state and local government sources totalling approximately $475,895.00 or approximately 66% of the respondent's budget.
9. It is concluded that the respondent receives substantial government funding.
10. Section 46b-38c(a), G.S., requires that the Connecticut judicial system have "family violence response and intervention units" to respond to cases involving family violence. In addition, 46b-38c(a), G.S., requires that these units be coordinated and governed by formal agreement between the chief state's attorney and the judicial department.
11. Section 46b-38c(b), G.S., requires that the Family Relations Division of the Connecticut Judicial Branch ("Family Division"), in accordance with the agreement between the chief state's attorney and the judicial department, referred to in paragraph 10, above, establish within each geographical area of the superior court a local family violence intervention unit.
12. It is found that pursuant to the mandate of 46b-38c(a) and 46b-38c(b), G.S., the Family Division entered into a contract with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc., ("CCADV"), an organization which oversees a state-wide network of domestic violence prevention projects in collaboration with the Family Division.
13. It is found that under the terms of CCADV's contract with the Family Division, described in paragraph 12, above, CCADV sub-contracts with local domestic violence service providers ("sub-contractor(s)"), which sub-contractors provide direct services to victims of family violence crimes in cases referred by the Family Division.
14. It is found that the respondent is one such provider-subcontractor, described in paragraph 13, above.
15. It is found that the respondent provides services to victims of crimes referred by the court, including Victims' Advocates who assist victims through the court process with
Docket #FIC 93-345 Page 3
matters such as protective orders, temporary restraining orders, application for criminal injuries compensation, as well as other needs such as shelter, support groups and crisis counseling.
16. It is concluded that the respondent performs a government function as authorized and specified in 46b-38c, G.S., et. seq.
17. It is found that the respondent is subject to extensive federal, state and local regulation including audits, site visits and interviewing of employees and service recipients.
18. It is found that the Victims' Advocates, described in paragraph 15, above, are subject to the state's certification and confidential communication requirements as set forth in 52-146k, G.S.
19. It is concluded that the respondent is subject to substantial government involvement and regulation.
20. It is found that the respondent is a non-profit organization created in 1977 by a group of concerned citizens to address domestic violence issues.
21. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent was not created by government.
22. Nonetheless, it is concluded, based on the totality of relevant factors, the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S., and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.
23. It is further concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., when it failed to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of the records, described in paragraph 2, above.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the provisions of the FOI Act.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 14, 1994.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 93-345 Page 4
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
49 Wilkins Street
New Haven, CT 06517
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES OF GREATER NEW HAVEN, INC.
c/o John M. Letizia, Esq.
Byrne & Letizia
1764 Litchfield Turnpike
Woodbridge, CT 06525
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission