FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Joanna I. James and CT State Employees Association,  

Complainants

 

against

Docket #FIC 1996-514

Personnel Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Children & Families and Public Affairs and Information Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Children & Families,  

Respondents

March 26, 1997

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 7, 1997, at which time the complainants and the respondents 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:

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of Section 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letters dated July 15, July 22, July 26, August 7, and August 8, 1996, complainants requested a series of records from the respondents (sometimes herein "DCF") including:

a. studies that DCF has conducted with regard to private residential placements, including educational services provided and tracking to follow the transitions of juveniles back into their communities (after private placement or after DCF facility placement);

b. the investigation into the policies of the Mount Saint John facility with reference to the release of juvenile offenders;

c. copies of any requests for proposals ("RFPs") or other proposals regarding community placements of juveniles from Long Lane, including but not limited to any contracts with Lake Grove school in Durham, CT and Connecticut Junior Republic;

d. the list (by record number) of youths who have had both a private placement as well as a placement at any of the DCF facilities; with the duration of each placement for each individual; reasons for placement at a DCF facility; records concerning success rates, if any measurement has been done, and information concerning which juveniles are "released" into communities, and what kind of follow up is done;

e. lists of all youths (by record or other identification number) who received private educational services in 1995 and 1996, respectively;

f. the list of all private providers with whom DCF contracts for either residential or educational placements;

g. the per pupil cost for educational services at the private providers listed in response to subparagraph f;

h. the description of any criteria for evaluation that DCF uses to transition juveniles into private placements;

i. investigations into the policies of all private residential facilities, including a general description of what kinds of programs they administer, what kind of training is provided to staff, if there are certain categories of juveniles the facilities will not take, how long the facilities keep juveniles, up-to-date policy statements;

j. the list of any present DCF administrators who previously worked for, had any ownership in, or served on the boards of any private provider with whom DCF has contracted, presently contracts, or has begun to negotiate RFPs (such RFPs would include but not limited to, RFPs for the 130 private sector juvenile justice beds that are to be phased in by January 1997);

k. if the spouses of any of the administrators listed in response to subparagraph j presently work for, have ownership in, or serve on the boards of any private provider with whom DCF has contracted, presently contracts, or has begun to negotiate, records relating to that information, e.g. status, duration;

l. with reference to individuals listed in response to subparagraphs j and k, the status with that private provider, including the duration of the relationship; also, the amount of compensation and reimbursement that DCF has provided to such private providers since January 1994; records concerning the number of children (if appropriate) for which the private provider was compensated, and the kind of service that was provided, e.g. residential, educational;

m. copies of all drafts of the Gallagher Report.

3. By letters dated July 29 and August 13, 1996, the respondents provided some requested records, but did not provide copies of the records set forth at paragraph 2, above.

4. By letter dated September 5, 1996, and filed on September 6, 1996, the complainants appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by not furnishing copies of all the records set forth at paragraph 2, above.

5. Section 1-19(a), G.S., states in pertinent part:

all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency…shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours….

6. It is found that:

a. with reference to subsections a), b), c), d), i), j), k), and l) of paragraph 2, above, no such records exist in the possession of the respondents;

b. with reference to subsection e) of paragraph 2, above, respondents maintain such records, consisting of at least fifty pages, but did not provide them to the complainants because they contained the names and possibly other identifying information pertaining to juveniles. However, complainants indicated at the hearing that they did not need names or personally identifying information pertaining to juveniles.

c. with reference to subsections f) and g) of paragraph 2, above, copies of records initially requested on July 22, 1996, were provided belatedly on February 5, 1997;

d. with reference to subsection h) of paragraph 2, above, copies of records were provided and no additional such records exist in the possession of the respondents;

e. with reference to subsection m) of paragraph 2, above, following the hearing in this matter, at the request of the undersigned hearing officer, the respondents submitted an affidavit indicating that they had located one draft of the requested Gallagher Report and that they would immediately forward it to the complainants.

7. It is further found that the respondents failed to provide prompt access to certain records in their possession that were responsive to the complainants requests, as identified in paragraphs 6b, c, and e, above, and it is therefore concluded that the respondents violated the provisions of 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S.

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

1. If the respondents have not already done so, they shall forthwith forward copies of the requested records described in paragraphs 2e and 6b, above, with the names and any identifying information pertaining to juveniles redacted, and a copy of the requested draft of the Gallagher Report described in paragraphs 2m and 6e, above, to the complainants.

2. The respondents shall henceforth strictly comply with the promptness provisions of 1-19(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 26, 1997.

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

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:

Joanna I. James and CT State Employees Association
c/o Robert J. Krzys, Esq.
1010 Wethersfield Avenue, Ste. 205
Hartford, CT 06114

Personnel Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Children & Families and Public Affairs and Information Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Children & Families
c/o Stephen G. Vitelli, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-514/FD/eal/04041997