ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS
Agency Overview. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) administers programs to assist Wisconsin's children and families, including Wisconsin Works (“W-2”), child support, child care licensing, child care assistance, and adoption search and assistance. DCF also administers child welfare programs, including child protective services through the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services, and certain juvenile justice programs.
State Public Offices. The following positions at DCF constitute state public offices:
- Deputy Secretary
- Assistant Deputy Secretary
- Administrator of the Division of Early Care and Education
- Administrator of the Division of Family and Economic Security
- Administrator of the Division of Management Services
- Administrator of the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services,
- Administrator of the Division of Safety and Permanence
- Director of the Office of Urban Development
- Chief Legal Counsel
- Legislative Liaison
- Communications Director.
Legal Custodian. DCF’s Legal Custodian of Records is Assistant Deputy Secretary Sara Buschman.
Requesting Access to or Copies of Records. Access to or copies of DCF records may be requested by email, in writing, by telephone, or in person. Requesters are encouraged to include their name and contact information, state how they wish to receive requested records, and described requested records as precisely as possible. Appropriate records release authorizations or other access authorization information must be provided for records that are confidential by law. If necessary to respond to a public records request, DCF staff may contact the requester for clarification of the request. To submit a public records request:
- Email the request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Send the request in writing to Sara Buschman, Records Custodian, 201 E. Washington Ave., Room G200, Madison, WI 53703.
- Telephone (608) 422-7060.
- Request the records in person at the Department of Children and Families, 201 East Washington Avenue, Room G200, Madison WI 53703. Records may be requested Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Obtaining Access to or Copies of Records. DCF gives public records requests high priority and provides requested records as soon as practicable and without delay. A reasonable time for response to any specific record requests depends on the nature of the request, the staff and other resources available to process the request, the extent of the request, and whether confidential material contained in the records must be redacted. Written explanations are provided for records withheld or information redacted. When requested and whenever practicable, copies of electronic records will be provided in electronic format.
Costs for Obtaining Access to or Copies of Records. DCF may charge costs authorized by Wis. Stat. 19.35(3) for responding to public records requests. Aggregate fees below $20.00 may be waived. Prepayment may be required for estimated fees exceeding $50.00. Costs for reviewing and redacting records are not charged to requesters. Authorized fees include:
- Location Costs. If the aggregate costs of locating responsive records exceed $50.00, the actual, necessary and direct costs of locating those records may be charged. Staff time charged for locating records will be billed at the hourly rate of salary and benefits for the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the task.
- Copying Costs. DCF may charge $0.15 per page for photocopies provided in response to a public records request, or for records that must be scanned into an electronic format. DCF does not charge a per page cost for providing electronic copies of already-existing electronic documents, but may charge $1.00 per CD for providing copies of electronic documents.
- Mailing or Shipping Costs. DCF may charge the actual cost of mailing or shipping copies of responsive records.
Questions? For further information about obtaining or viewing copies of DCF records, please call (608) 422-7060 or email email@example.com.