PUBLIC NOTICE: ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) administers programs to assist Wisconsin's children and families including Wisconsin Works (W-2) and other employment programs, child support, child care licensing, child care assistance, adoption search, and adoption assistance. DCF also administers community-based youth justice services and child welfare programs, including services for children who are at risk for or who have suffered abuse or neglect, and directly manages child protective services in Milwaukee County through its Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services.

The following DCF positions constitute state public offices:

  • Secretary
  • Deputy Secretary
  • Assistant Deputy Secretary (working title, Assistant 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
  • Senior Manager
  • General Counsel
  • Legislative Liaison
  • Inspector General

Requesters may obtain access to or copies of DCF's records. Certain records are not subject to disclosure. Continuing requests are not honored. Sections 19.31-19.39 of the Wisconsin Statutes govern access to records.

Requesting Records

Records may be requested in writing, electronically, orally, or in person. Requests should be directed to DCF in writing to Margaret McMahon, DCF Records Custodian, at 201 W. Washington Avenue, Madison, WI 53703; by email to DCFRecordsRequest@wisconsin.gov; by fax to (608) 422-7161; by calling 608-422-7060 to make a verbal request or leave a voicemail request; or by calling (608) 225-4158 to make arrangements for someone to meet you in person at 201 W. Washington Avenue, Madison, to accept in person delivery of a public records request Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Verbal requests by telephone also may be made Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Requests made by writing, by email, by fax, or by voicemail may be submitted at any time.

Receiving 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 a specific public record request 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 responsive records must be redacted.

Fees

The fees that may be charged for responding to public records requests are set by statute. See Wis. Stat. § 19.35(3).

When the total estimated cost for locating, copying, and shipping exceeds $5.00, DCF may require pre-payment. Wis. Stat. § 19.35(3)(f).

Hard CopiesAny paper records provided by copying a paper record or printing a paper record. $0.0135 per page (black and white) or $0.0632 per page (color). In rare instances, specialized skills, equipment, or technology may result in additional copy costs.

Electronic CopiesAny electronic records provided by Email, PDF, DVD, flash drive, or other electronic format.

  • Paper to Digital: Includes scanning physical documents and saving them into a digital format for electronic distribution. Fee generally waived. In rare instances, specialized skills, equipment, or technology may result in some copy costs.
  • Digital to Physical: Includes copying records already in digital format onto a physical medium for distribution. Fee is the actual cost of the physical medium used.
    • DVD (each): $0.13 (4.7 GB)
    • Flash drive (each), actual cost not to exceed: $6.49 (8 GB); $4.99 (16 GB); $8.99 (32 GB); $9.75 (64 GB); $21.49 (128 GB)
    • Other sizes or media – actual cost
  • Digital to Digital: Includes copying records from one digital format to another for distribution (e.g., email). Fee generally waived. In rare instances, specialized skills, equipment, or technology may result in some copy costs.

Location Fees: May be charged only if the aggregate cost of location alone is $50.00 or more. Includes searching for and identifying responsive records; redaction costs may not be charged. The location fee is calculated as staff time plus any Records Center records retrieval fees. Staff time is billed at the lowest possible hourly rate, which is rounded down to $20.25 per hour. In rare instances, an employee with special skills may be necessary to conduct a search and a higher hourly rate up to $30.00 per hour may be assessed. State Records Center records retrieval fees are based on State Records Center rates, currently $3.05 per box (subject to change).

Mailing and Shipping CostsActual costs of mailing or shipping responsive records.

 

Questions? Please contact DCFRecordsRequest@wisconsin.gov or 608-422-7060. A copy of this policy is also available as an Adobe pdf file.