Public Records Request

Guidelines for Access to Public Records

The Public has a right to inspect and/or obtain copies of public records maintained by state and local agencies pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). While many records are accessible, the CPRA as well as other statutes may protect (exempt) records from disclosure, including but not limited to, confidential records such as medical records, investigative records, private information about other people (such as foster families), trade secrets, advice from Department lawyers, records in connection with pending litigation, etc. The Department must review requested records to determine if an exemption applies before a record may be inspected, copied, or released/disclosed. In addition, many records are readily available within the Department’s website.

Request for Inspection or Copies of Public Records

In order to help the Department provide records promptly, requestors should provide specific information about the records they seek. When a record cannot be identified by name, the requestor should attempt to be as specific as possible in describing the record, based on its content. If known, requestors should indicate the office, division, branch or section of the Department that created or maintains the records. When a request is not sufficiently specific, Department staff will help the requestor to clarify the information sought and provide suggestions on how to overcome practical barriers to disclosure. The Department does not supplement responses to previous requests when new records are created or received. A separate request must be submitted each time records are sought.

To ensure accuracy in responding to a request for public records, the Department encourages the submission of all requests in writing, by mail, electronically, or in person. Requests can also be made orally, by telephone or in person. Requestor does not need to disclose the purpose for seeking the records. For requests that cannot be completed immediately, the Department may need to contact the requestor. Thus, requestor should provide contact information at the time of request.

Response Time

Public records in the possession of the Department that are not exempt from disclosure shall be available for inspection during normal business hours of the Department (8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday). If the requestor seeks inspection of numerous records, a mutually agreeable time shall be established for the inspection. Departmental functions will not be suspended to permit the inspection of records. Records will not be removed from the possession of the Department. A Department employee shall be present during the inspection of records.

Some simple requests can be satisfied immediately, others may require more time. Regardless, records that are not exempt from disclosure shall be made available to the requestor within a reasonable period of time. The Department will notify requestor within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of request, if the Department is in possession of requested records that can be disclosed, in whole or in part. Under some circumstances, the Department is allowed up to 14 additional calendar days to determine what records exist and what can be disclosed. By the end of this period, the Department will notify the requestor whether and when records will be produced. If some or all the records requested cannot be released because they are exempt under law, the Department will let the requestor know what exemptions apply.

Fees

There is no charge for records copied if the requestor uses their own equipment on the premises. If the Department makes copies, the requestor must pay $0.25 per page. However, charges are waived if the request is limited to 49 pages per month. A minimum charge of $12.50 will apply if the public records request is 50 pages or more. (Example: If the request were for 50 pages, the charge would be $12.50 plus $0.25 for each additional page.) Payment must be received in advance. If records exist in electronic form and the requestor prefers that format, the Department can copy the documents onto a CD or DVD. The Department shall make electronic records available in the format requested if the requested format is one used by the Department to create copies for its own use or for other departments and if the security or integrity of the original is not jeopardized or compromised. Different charges may apply to records in electronic form and we will inform you of those before they are incurred. You will need to pay either by check or money order made payable to “California Department of Aging – PRA Request” and send the payment to: California Department of Aging, Public Affairs, ATTN: PRA Request, 1300 National Drive, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95834, before the Department commences with work.

Submit a Public Records Request