The Texas Public Information act requires the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to release public information in response to requests. DFPS cannot ask you why you want the information, but may ask questions to clarify the information you are requesting. You may request existing records and information. The law does not require DFPS to create new information, do legal research, or answer questions.
Government information is presumed to be available to the public, but certain exceptions apply. DFPS may withhold information while the Agency is seeking a decision from the Attorney General on an exception to disclosure.
DFPS will attempt to complete your request as soon as possible and will notify you if it will take more than 10 business days. DFPS may collect a fee for documents as prescribed by law or regulation. If a fee is not prescribed by law or regulation, the fee will be the actual cost of preparing the records.
You may read the Texas Public Information Act online.
Rights and Responsibilities of the Public
You have the right to:
- Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected.
- Receive equal treatment, including accommodation in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
- Receive certain kinds of information without exceptions (like the voting record of public officials).
- Receive a written estimate of charges of more than $40 before work starts. You also have the right to modify your request in response to an itemized statement of charges.
- Choose to inspect the information (most often at no charge), get copies, or both.
- Have charges for information reduced or waived if DFPS decides that releasing the information primarily benefits the general public.
- A copy of the communication from DFPS to the Office of the Attorney General seeking a ruling on whether DFPS can withhold the information you requested (redacted if it contains the information you requested).
- File a written complaint about overcharges for public information with the Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General. All other complaints may be filed with the Travis County district or county attorney.
You have the responsibility to:
- Maintain accurate contact information. The preferred method of delivery is email.
- Respond to request for clarification and other communications.
- Provide payment required by Attorney General Rule.
Responsibilities of DFPS
Like all state and local governments in Texas, DFPS has the responsibility to:
- Set up reasonable procedures for you to inspect or copy public information and explain these procedures to you.
- Treat all requesters equally and give them reasonable comfort and access, including meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
- Make sure the Agency's employees understand and follow open records laws.
- Give you an estimate of charges greater than $40, notify you when charges are more than 20 percent above the estimate, confirm that you accept the charges, want to change your request, or are filing a complaint about the charges to the Attorney General before completing your request.
- Notify you if DFPS cannot provide the information promptly and set a reasonable date and time for providing it.
- Ask for a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General on any information DFPS wishes to withhold, and send a copy of the request for a ruling to the requester.
- Separate public information from any information DFPS is withholding and provide the public information to you promptly.
- Make good faith efforts to inform third parties when someone is requesting their proprietary information.
- Respond in writing to all written communications from the Office of the Attorney General about charges for the information.
- Respond to the Office of the Attorney General about complaints about violations of the Public Information Act.
Requesting Information for Research from CPS
If you are from outside the Agency, and you want to request information from CPS to conduct research, visit the reseach requests page.
Contact the Travis County District Attorney or County Attorney with complaints about DFPS related to releasing public information. You may also contact the Office of the Attorney General's Open Records Hotline at 512-478-6736 or toll-free at 1-877-673-6839.
Members of the News Media
News reporters and other members of the media may contact a DFPS media specialist to assist them with public information requests.
Submitting an Open Records Request
For general information about requesting records from DFPS, including time frames and cost, visit the page on submitting an open records request.
Requesting a Copy of Case Records
To request information about case records from Adult Protective Services, Child Care Licensing, or Child Protective Services, visit the requesting a copy of a case record page.
If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact the DFPS ADA coordinator, HHSC Office of Civil Rights, at (512) 458-7111.