FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Arlene Lucian,  
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-073
Child Guidance Clinic of Greater Waterbury, Inc.,  
  Respondent February 16, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 18, 2006, at which time the complainant and 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:

1.      It is found that, by letter dated February 6, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of the minutes of the respondent’s board of director’s meeting that reflect a discussion of the Department of Children and Families’ (hereinafter “DCF”) Therapeutic Group Home proposal.

 

2.      By letter dated February 8, 2006, the executive director of the respondent denied the complainant’s request.

 

3.      By letter dated February 17, 2006 and filed on February 21, 2006, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with her request.

 

4.      Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that: 

 

[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to . . . receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

5.      Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.” 

 

6.      The respondent contends that it is not a “public agency” within the meaning of the FOI Act but rather only provides a service pursuant to its contract with DCF and therefore is not required to comply with the complainant’s records request.

 

7.      Section 1-200(1), G.S., defines “public agency” to mean:

 

(A) Any executive, administrative or legislative office of the state or any political subdivision of the state and any state or town agency, any department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official of the state or of any city, town, borough, municipal corporation, school district, regional district or other district or other political subdivision of the state, including any committee of, or created by, any such office, subdivision, agency, department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official, and also includes any judicial office, official, or body or committee thereof but only with respect to its or their administrative functions; (B) Any person to the extent such person is deemed to be the functional equivalent of a public agency pursuant to law; or (C) Any “implementing agency,” as defined in section 32-222.

 

8.      With respect to 1-200(1)(A), G.S., it is found that the respondent is a private non-profit corporation incorporated under 501(c)(3), G.S., and provides comprehensive mental health services to children, adolescents, parents and families pursuant to contracts with both public and private entities.

 

9.      It is concluded that the respondent is not a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1)(A), G.S.

 

10.   With respect to 1-200(1)(B), G.S., the Supreme Court has adopted a “functional equivalent” test to determine whether an entity is a public agency.  Board of Trustees of Woodstock Academy v. FOI Commission, 181 Conn. 544, 554 (1980) (“Woodstock”).  Such test consists of the following four criteria: (1) whether the entity performs a governmental function; (2) the level of government funding; (3) the extent of government involvement or regulation; and (4) whether the entity was created by government.

 

11.   Thereafter, in Connecticut Humane Society v. FOI Commission, 281 Conn. 757, 761 (1991), the Supreme Court elaborated that all four criteria set forth in Woodstock are not necessary for a finding of functional equivalence, but rather that “all relevant factors are to be considered cumulatively, with no single factor being essential or conclusive.”

 

12.  With respect to the first criterion, it is found that 17a-20 through 17a-22g, G.S., demonstrate the intent of the legislature to make the prevention and treatment of children with behavioral health needs a governmental function.

 

13.   It is found that 17a-22a, G.S., requires DCF, in collaboration with the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services, to develop and administer an integrated behavioral health delivery system for the prevention and treatment of children with mental disorders called Connecticut Community KidCare.  It is found that the regional offices of DCF are required to contract with lead service agencies to coordinate the care of all children and youth enrolled in KidCare.  It is found that the lead agencies employ or contract for the employment of care coordinators to assist families in establishing and implementing service plans for children and youth with behavioral health service needs.  It is found that the respondent is a lead service agency.  

 

14.   It is found that, while the respondent is not required to perform the requirements of a lead service agency absent a contract with DCF, in doing so,  the respondent performs a governmental function within the meaning of Woodstock

 

15.   With respect to the second criterion, it is found that the respondent receives approximately ten million dollars in government funding to administer and manage approximately 8 programs pursuant to contracts it has with DCF.  The respondent also receives funding in the form of government grants in the amount of approximately four million dollars. 

 

16.  It is also found, however, that 17a-20, G.S., provides that no grant to a child guidance clinic shall be “made to pay for any portion of capital expenditures for the clinic.” 

 

17.   It is found, therefore, that the funding described in paragraph 15, above, although significant, is consideration for providing certain services as set forth in grants and contracts.

 

18.   It is found therefore that the respondent is not funded by government and that the second criterion is not met.

 

19.   With respect to the third criterion, it is found that the extent of government involvement or regulation is significant but only with respect to the respondent’s management and administration of the programs it has contracted with DCF to administer and manage and not with respect to the operations of the respondent in general.  Consequently, it is found that the third criterion is not met.

 

20.   With respect to the fourth criterion, as already alluded to in paragraph 8, above, it is found that the respondent was not created by government, and it is found that the fourth criterion is not met.

 

21.   It is concluded that, based on the totality of relevant criteria, the respondent is not the functional equivalent of a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1)(B), G.S.

 

22.   With respect to 1-200(1)(C), G.S., 32-222, G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

(k) “implementing agency” means one of the following agencies designated by a municipality under section 32-223: (1) An economic development commission, redevelopment agency; sewer authority or sewer commission; public works commission; water authority or water commission; port authority or port commission or harbor authority or harbor commission; parking authority or parking commission; (2) a nonprofit development corporation; or (3) any other agency designated and authorized by a municipality to undertake a project and approved by the commissioner . . .

 

23.   As already found in paragraph 8, above, the respondent is a private non-profit corporation incorporated under 501(c)(3), G.S., that provides comprehensive mental health services. 

 

24.   It is found that the respondent does not engage in municipal or business development projects and therefore it is concluded that the respondent is not an implementing agency within the meaning of 1-200(1)(C) and 32-222, G.S.

 

25.   Based upon the conclusions in paragraphs 9, 21, and 24, above, it is further concluded that the respondent is not a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S., and accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent is not subject to the jurisdiction of this Commission.

 

 

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.

           

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of February 16, 2007.

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

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:

 

Arlene Lucian

170 Midland Road

Waterbury, CT 06705

 

Child Guidance Clinic of Greater Waterbury, Inc.

c/o Frederick W. Krug, Esq.

PO Box 2027

76 Center Street

Waterbury, CT 06722

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-073FD/paj/2/16/2007