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Chapter 110-01 WAC

Last Update: 7/9/18

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE

(Formerly: Chapter 170-01 WAC)

WAC Sections

HTMLPDF110-01-0010Purpose.
HTMLPDF110-01-0020Definitions.
HTMLPDF110-01-0030Department locations.
HTMLPDF110-01-0040Public records officer.
HTMLPDF110-01-0050Records index.
HTMLPDF110-01-0100Availability of public records.
HTMLPDF110-01-0110Organization of records.
HTMLPDF110-01-0120How to make a public records request.
HTMLPDF110-01-0200How the department responds to public records requests.
HTMLPDF110-01-0205Third-party requests for otherwise confidential records.
HTMLPDF110-01-0206Notifying third parties of a request.
HTMLPDF110-01-0230Reasons for denying disclosure of all or part of a record.
HTMLPDF110-01-0240Types of records that may be exempt from disclosure.
HTMLPDF110-01-0250If the public record requested is exempt from disclosure.
HTMLPDF110-01-0260If only part of the record requested is exempt from disclosure.
HTMLPDF110-01-0270Department reviews of records request denials.
HTMLPDF110-01-0290Charges for public records.


PDF110-01-0010

Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide rules for the department to implement the Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0010, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0010, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0010, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0020

Definitions.

The definitions set forth in chapter 42.56 RCW shall apply to this chapter. The following definitions also apply to this chapter.
"Authorization" means a detailed document that gives the department permission to use or disclose confidential information records for specified purposes.
"Client" means a person who receives services or benefits from the department.
"Department" means the department of children, youth, and families. Where appropriate, "department" also may refer to the officials and employees of the department of children, youth, and families.
"Disclosure" means inspection or copying of public records, unless the record is exempt from disclosure by law.
"Public records" includes any writing, as defined in RCW 42.56.010, containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. Almost all records held by an agency relate to the conduct of government; however, some do not. A purely personal record having no relation to the conduct of government is not a "public record." While the contents of the personal record might not be a public record, a transaction of the record itself may be.
"Public records officer" or "PRO" means the designated person for the department who oversees all records requests under RCW 42.56.580. This person is identified in the Washington state register.
"Redact" means to edit from a released record information that is exempt from disclosure to the public, by covering over the information with black ink or other method without deleting the information from the original record.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0020, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0020, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 16-09-060, § 170-01-0020, filed 4/15/16, effective 5/16/16. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0020, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0030

Department locations.

(1) The administrative office of the department is located at 1500 Jefferson Street, S.E., Olympia, Washington.
(2) Field offices are located throughout the state and contact information can be found on the department's web site, www.dcyf.wa.gov.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0030, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0030, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 16-09-060, § 170-01-0030, filed 4/15/16, effective 5/16/16. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0030, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0040

Public records officer.

The department's director will appoint a public records officer (PRO) whose responsibility is to serve as a "point of contact" for members of the public seeking public records. The department will provide the public records officer's name and contact information by publishing it in the state register. The department will also provide the public records officer's contact information on its web site, www.dcyf.wa.gov.
A request may be fulfilled by the PRO, or department staff designated by the PRO.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0040, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0040, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0040, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0050

Records index.

(1) The records retention schedule established by the division of state archives of the office of the secretary of state serves as an index for the identification and location of the department's records including those described in RCW 42.56.070(5).
(2) The records retention schedule indexes records according to the originating program or section, and then the record series title. Each title is further identified by a statement of function or purpose, and the retention period. The records retention schedule is available to the public for inspection and copying. The records retention schedule is updated by the department as needed. With the assistance of the public records officer or designee, any person can obtain access to the department's public records using the records retention schedule.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0050, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0050, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0050, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0100

Availability of public records.

Public records are available for inspection and copying during the department's normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding legal holidays. A department staff person must be present at all times when a record is being inspected. Appointments are not required, but significantly help the department provide prompt and efficient service. Some department records may be stored in other locations, in computer storage systems, or the state records warehouse, and may take time to identify and gather. Other records may be exempt from disclosure. Original records cannot be removed from the inspection location. If required by law, department staff must redact information in a record before making it available for inspection. Department staff will make copies of records on request.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0100, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0100, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0100, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0110

Organization of records.

The department will maintain its records in an organized manner and will take reasonable actions to protect records from damage and disorganization. Records available on the department's web site, www.dcyf.wa.gov, are available to the public without a records request, and the department does not copy those records. Requestors are encouraged to view the documents available on the web site prior to submitting a records request.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0110, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0110, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0110, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0120

How to make a public records request.

(1) Public records requests should be made directly to the department's public records officer.
(2) Public records requests may be made verbally or in writing.
(a) Written requests may be sent by email to dcyf.publicrecords@dcyf.wa.gov, by fax to 360-725-4925 or mail. Requests may be delivered to 1500 Jefferson Street S.E., Olympia, Washington or P.O. Box 40975, Olympia, WA 98504-0975.
(b) The department's public records request form is on its web site. The department recommends that requestors submit requests using the department's public records request form.
(c) A written request without using the DEL public records request form should contain:
(i) Name of requestor;
(ii) Address of requestor;
(iii) Other contact information, including telephone number and any email address;
(iv) The date on which the request was made;
(v) A sufficient description of the record requested; and
(vi) If the record being requested may include a list of individuals or businesses, a statement that the list will not be used for commercial purposes, which is prohibited by law.
(3) The department may ask an individual requesting a public record for proof of identification when the law restricts disclosure to a specific person.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0120, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0120, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 16-09-060, § 170-01-0120, filed 4/15/16, effective 5/16/16. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0120, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0200

How the department responds to public records requests.

Within five business days of receiving the request, the department will either:
(1) Provide the record;
(2) Acknowledge the request and give a reasonable time estimate of how long the department will take to provide records;
(3) Contact the requestor to clarify the request if it isn't understood by the public records officer; or
(4) Deny all or part of the request in writing, with reasons for the denial. The explanation will include the law that the department relied upon in its denial.
At his or her discretion, the public records officer may send the requested records by email, fax, postal mail, or commercial delivery. The records may be delivered on paper, computer or compact discs, or other methods.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0200, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0200, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0200, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0205

Third-party requests for otherwise confidential records.

(1) A third party, such as a department client's attorney or lay representative, may access otherwise confidential records about a department client with a valid authorization.
(2) The authorization should:
(a) Identify the client;
(b) Identify the individual(s) or organization(s) authorized to receive the records;
(c) State that the department may disclose the information to the requestor;
(d) Identify the record(s) that the client wants the department to release;
(e) State the date the authorization expires or an expiration event that relates to the client or the purpose of the use of disclosure;
(f) State the reason for disclosure;
(g) State the right to revoke;
(h) State the potential for redisclosure;
(i) As appropriate, include specific language authorizing the department to release any one or more of the following to the requestor: Substance use disorder records, child welfare records, adoption records, records concerning reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health records; and
(j) Include a dated, verified signature of the individual with legal authority to authorize the release of records.
(3) The department may ask for additional proof to verify the third-party's authority to access confidential records when required by law.
(4) In general, a parent may access confidential records about a child under age eighteen. A child must consent to disclosure of the following confidential records:
(a) At any age, birth control, and abortion records (see RCW 9.02.100);
(b) If over age thirteen, substance use disorder and mental health records (see 42 C.F.R., Part 2 and RCW 71.34.530);
(c) If over age fourteen, sexually transmitted disease records (see RCW 70.24.110); and
(d) If over age eighteen, all client records held by the department.
(5) Legal guardians under Title 13 RCW and legal custodians under chapter 26.10 RCW are not considered third parties for the purposes of accessing records pertaining to children in their care and custody.
[WSR 18-15-015, recodified as § 110-01-0205, filed 7/9/18, effective 7/9/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-092, § 170-01-0205, filed 6/18/18, effective 7/19/18.]



PDF110-01-0206

Notifying third parties of a request.

(1) If records responsive to a public records request identify or pertain directly to an individual or organization other than the requestor, the department may notify the named individual or organization about the request.
(2) The department's third-party notice may include:
(a) A copy of the original request;
(b) If appropriate, a copy of the records that identify or pertain to the third party;
(c) The date the department intends to release the record; and
(d) A statement that the third party may prevent release of the record by agreement or by bringing a lawsuit and getting an injunction against the department and the requestor under RCW 42.56.540 prior to the intended release date.
(3) The department may inform the requestor that:
(a) A third party has been notified of the request;
(b) The department provided the third party with a due date for objecting to disclosure; and
(c) The third party may bring a lawsuit against the requestor and the department under RCW 42.56.540 to prohibit disclosure.
[WSR 18-15-015, recodified as § 110-01-0206, filed 7/9/18, effective 7/9/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-092, § 170-01-0206, filed 6/18/18, effective 7/19/18.]



PDF110-01-0230

Reasons for denying disclosure of all or part of a record.

RCW 42.56.030 states that the Public Records Act "shall be liberally construed and its exemptions narrowly construed." The department will provide all records required by law. However, there are times when all or part of a record request may be denied, such as when:
(1) The record is exempt from disclosure by law.
(2) The request is for lists of individuals for commercial purposes, including family home providers.
(3) The requestor has not asked for an identifiable record. The Public Records Act requires access to existing, identifiable public records in an agency's possession at the time of the request.
(4) The request requires the department to collect or organize data to create a public record, or to give data that did not exist at the time of the public records request.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0230, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0230, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0230, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0240

Types of records that may be exempt from disclosure.

(1) Public records and information may be exempt from disclosure or production under chapter 42.56 RCW or other state or federal laws. Commonly applicable exemptions include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) Under RCW 42.56.230(1), personal information in files maintained for welfare recipients and patients or clients of public institutions or public health agencies;
(b) Under RCW 42.56.230(2), personal information in files maintained for a child enrolled in licensed child care;
(c) Under chapter 13.50 RCW and related federal laws, information and records;
(d) Under chapter 26.33 RCW and related federal laws, information and records about adoption;
(e) Under RCW 42.56.230(3), personal information in files maintained for department employees or elected officials to the extent that disclosure would violate their privacy rights;
(f) Under RCW 42.56.250, personal information in personnel records, public employment related records, volunteer rosters, or included in any mailing list of employees or volunteers of any public agency; and
(g) Under RCW 42.56.640(2), names of family child care providers.
(2) If the requested public record contains information that is exempt from public disclosure, the department may:
(a) As appropriate, release the nonexempt portion, explaining what exemptions apply to redacted portions of the record;
(b) As appropriate, deny release of the entire record and send a written explanation citing the exemption that applies to the denial; or
(c) When a denial would reveal confidential information, neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested records and provide the legal basis for confidentiality as if the responsive records existed.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0240, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0240, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0240, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0250

If the public record requested is exempt from disclosure.

If the department determines that a record is exempt from disclosure, the requestor will be informed in writing of the specific exemption authorizing DEL to withhold the record.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0250, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0250, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0250, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0260

If only part of the record requested is exempt from disclosure.

The department may redact (see WAC 170-01-0020) identifying details or other information when the information is not subject to disclosure. The requestor will be informed in writing of the exemptions authorizing the department to withhold information within a record.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0260, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0260, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0260, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0270

Department reviews of records request denials.

(1) All review requests must be in writing (letter, fax or email). All review requests must specify the part or parts of the denial or redaction that the requestor wishes to be reviewed.
(2) If the department denies all or part of a request, or redacts any portion of a record, the requestor may request a review of this decision by:
(a) Asking the public records officer for an internal review. The denial will either be upheld or reversed within two business days after the receipt of the review request.
(b) Asking for an external review by the attorney general's office.
Requestors may initiate this by sending a request for review to Public Records Review, Office of the Attorney General, P.O. Box 40100, Olympia, WA 98504-0100 or publicrecords@atg.wa.gov.
(c) Asking for a judicial review.
To initiate a court review of a public records case, a requestor can file a "motion to show cause" which directs the agency to appear before the court and show any cause why the agency did not violate the act. The case must be filed in the superior court in the county in which the record is maintained.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0270, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0270, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 16-09-060, § 170-01-0270, filed 4/15/16, effective 5/16/16. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040, 43.215.070, and chapter 43.215 RCW. WSR 12-09-035, § 170-01-0270, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12.]



PDF110-01-0290

Charges for public records.

(1) There is no cost to inspect public records.
(2) Calculating the actual costs of charges for providing public records is unduly burdensome because the department does not have resources to conduct a study of actual costs for all requested records. In addition, conducting such a study would interfere with other essential agency functions.
(3) The department may do one or more of the following:
(a) Charge for copies of records according to the default fees in RCW 42.56.120 (2)(b), (c), and (d);
(b) Charge for customized services pursuant to RCW 42.56.120(3);
(c) Charge other copy fees authorized by statutes outside of chapter 42.56 RCW; and
(d) Enter into an alternative fee agreement with a requestor under RCW 42.56.120(4).
(4) Fee waivers. The department may waive copying fees in one or more of the following circumstances:
(a) Clients receiving the first copy of their file;
(b) Producing records assists in managing a program;
(c) The expense of billing exceeds the cost of producing records; and
(d) All of the records responsive to an entire request are paper copies only and are twenty-five or fewer pages.
(5) Advance deposits. The public records officer may require an advance deposit of ten percent of the estimated costs of copying records. The public records officer may also require the payment of the remainder of the copying costs before providing all of the records, or, when records are provided on an installment basis, require payment of the costs of copying an installment before providing that installment. If the requestor does not claim an installment of a records request, the department is not obligated to continue producing the balance of the request.
(6) A request will be closed when a requestor fails by the payment date to pay in the manner prescribed for records, an installment of records, or a required deposit.
[WSR 18-14-078, recodified as § 110-01-0290, filed 6/29/18, effective 7/1/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.070 and chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 18-13-009, § 170-01-0290, filed 6/6/18, effective 7/7/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.040. WSR 17-22-072, § 170-01-0290, filed 10/27/17, effective 11/27/17.]