DFPS is responsible for maintaining lots of information that does not consist of case records. This information, broadly referred to as "administrative records,” is created when DFPS takes action on the general business of the agency. Examples of administrative records include:
- personnel records
- contract records
- travel records
- statistical and data records
- policy matters
- statutes and rules related to DFPS [Read more]
State law allows you to request an administrative record, but your access to the record depends on whether the information is considered Public Information and subject to release. Not all Public Information is releasable (see mandatory vs. discretionary as defined by Attorney General of Texas). This means that in some cases, DFPS is prohibited from giving you Public Information and in other cases DFPS has the authority to withhold some Public Information. An example of information that DFPS cannot release is a person’s social security number or driver’s license information.
If DFPS does not give you everything you ask for, the agency will tell you why the information was withheld. In some instances, DFPS asks the Attorney General of Texas to decide your access to an administrative record; when this happens, the agency will send you a copy of the request to the Attorney General for an opinion and the Attorney General’s Ruling.
Making a Request
Your request for an administrative record does not need to include any special language. Please identify as specifically as possible the information you want and make sure you request documents maintained by DFPS. [Read more]
Keep in mind:
- We may contact you to ask for more information to ensure that we understand what documents you are requesting.
- When you make a request for a record, we cannot address questions or complaints about DFPS. These issues are handled by the Office of Consumer Affairs.
To help you get an administrative record as quickly as possible, please submit your request through GovQA Public Portal.
The amount of time it takes DFPS to fulfill your request for an administrative record depends on the size and scope of the record. DFPS is required to promptly fulfill a request considered releasable. When you need to obtain an administrative record quickly, DFPS will try to accommodate you, but may not be able to expedite your request. If DFPS cannot provide you with a releasable administrative record within 10 business days, DFPS must tell you when the information will be released to you.
If your request involves significant cost to DFPS, you may be asked to pay for the information you want. To determine your cost for an administrative record, DFPS looks to:
The Public Information Act generally provides for allowable charges for copies of and access to public information. If fulfilling your request costs DFPS less than $40, you won’t have to pay anything. However, if DFPS believes that fulfilling your request will cost more than $40, you will be given a written estimate and an opportunity to withdraw or change your request before you have to pay. Also, DFPS has established that multiple requests that take agency employees more than 36 hours to fulfill during a fiscal year may result in the customer being charged for all staff costs in excess of 36 hours.
Keep in mind:
- You must respond to a written estimate of charges within 10 business days of the date DFPS sent it, or the request will be considered automatically withdrawn.
- You will likely be required to provide a deposit when estimated costs exceed $100.00.
- You may ask DFPS to determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
- You must make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Public Information Act?
What are my rights as a requestor?
When will I receive the requested information?