FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Dellease Candice Rivera-Soto,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-271
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Children & Families;
and State of Connecticut, Department
of Children & Families,
Respondents May 12, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 20, 1999 at which time the complainant 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 1-200(1), G.S., (formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.).

        2. It is found that by letter dated August 28, 1998, the complainant requested that the respondents:

a) permit her to see the full contents of her file; and

b) send her a DCF policy and procedures handbook.

        3. By letter of complaint dated and filed on September 8, 1998, the complainant, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her access to the requested records.

        4. With respect to the records described in paragraph 2b, above, it is found that the respondents do not maintain any handbook responsive to the complainant’s request.

        5. With respect to the records described in paragraph 2a, above, it is found that the respondents maintain records responsive to the requested records and have provided the complainant with a redacted copy of such records.

        6. The complainant takes issue with the redactions made by the respondents.

        7. It is found that the respondents redacted the name and information about any individual from whom they did not receive consent to disclose information concerning such individual.

        8. The respondents contend that this Commission is without jurisdiction to order the disclosure of the redacted portions of the records at issue, pursuant to 17a-28, G.S.

        9. Section 17a-28(b), G.S., provides:

Notwithstanding the provisions of [the Freedom of Information Act], records maintained by the department [of Children and Families] shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed. Neither the commissioner nor any of his employees shall disclose, in whole or in part, the nature or content of any records of any person to any individual, agency, corporation or organization without the consent of the person, his attorney or his authorized representative, except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of this section. Any unauthorized disclosure shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

        10. In keeping with long-standing Commission precedent, it is concluded that 17a-28, G.S., creates separate rights of access to the respondents’ records than those set forth in the provisions of the FOI Act.

        11. It is also concluded that 17a-28, G.S., controls the disclosure of the records at issue and not 1-210(a), G.S., (formerly 1-19(a), G.S.), of the FOI Act.

        12. Consequently, it is further concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction to enforce the rights of access created by 17a-28, G.S., and therefore, is without jurisdiction to issue a ruling on the request for access to the redacted portions of the records provided to the complainant.

 

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

The complaint is hereby dismissed.

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 12, 1999.

 

_________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

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:

 

Dellease Candice Rivera-Soto
PO Box 260873
Hartford, CT 06126
Commissioner, State of
Connecticut, Department
of Children & Families;
and State of Connecticut,
Department of Children &
Families
c/o Atty. John E. Tucker
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105-2294
 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-271FD/mrb/05181999