Open Government and Confidentiality
Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law sets a high standard of open records and transparency of public information and meetings, and open government is also a core value of the Department of Children and Families and the Office of Communications.
Our citizens deserve services that are provided in a creative, seamless and transparent manner. The Department is committed to providing easy access to public records and the policies and procedures related to Department records.
The Department’s Communications Office staff and statewide media contacts are sometimes unable to release case-specific information involving Child Protective Investigations and/or Adult Protective Investigations due to the restraints outlined in Chapters 39 and 415 of the Florida Statutes:
- 39.202 - In order to protect the rights of the child and the child's parents or other persons responsible for the child's welfare, all records held by the department concerning reports of child abandonment, abuse, or neglect, including reports made to the central abuse hotline and all records generated as a result of such reports, shall be confidential.
- 415.107 - In order to protect the rights of the individual or other persons responsible for the welfare of a vulnerable adult, all records concerning reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the vulnerable adult, including reports made to the central abuse hotline, and all records generated as a result of such reports shall be confidential.
The Department of Children and Families’ Communication Office will work with media outlets and the public to fulfill all public records requests to the greatest extent possible.
Some situations may occur in which a case may be exempt from the restraints outlined in Chapters 39 and 415. View both chapters in their entirety at: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/
The Department of Children and Families also must abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) which, in most cases, prevents the disclosure of personal health information and medical records.