|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
December 6, 1999
Ms. Janis Kennedy Hampton
Dear Ms. Hampton:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID # 131111.
The Bryan Police Department (the "department") received a request for information relating to a specified case number. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the information you submitted. We find that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 261.201 of the Family Code.(1)
Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from public disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 552.101 encompasses confidentiality statutes. Section 261.201 of the Family Code provides in relevant part:
(a) The following information is confidential, is not subject to public release under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may be disclosed only for purposes consistent with this code and applicable federal or state law or under rules adopted by an investigating agency:
(1) a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect made under this chapter and the identity of the person making the report; and
(2) except as otherwise provided in this section, the files, reports, records, communications, audiotapes, videotapes, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under this chapter or in providing services as a result of an investigation.
We believe that the requested information consists of reports, records, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under chapter 261 of the Family Code. You have not informed this office of any rules adopted by the department that would permit access to the requested information. We therefore conclude that the requested information is confidential, pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 261.201 of the Family Code. See Open Records Decision No. 440 (1986) (construing predecessor statute). Consequently, the department must not release any of the requested information.(2)
Inasmuch as section 552.101 of the Government Code is dispositive, we need not address your claim under section 552.108. We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
James W. Morris, III
Ref: ID# 131111
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Kevin Parnell
1. Unlike other exceptions to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code, this office will invoke section 552.101 on behalf of a governmental body that has not raised it. See Open Records Decision Nos. 481 (1987), 480 (1987), 470 (1987).
2. We note that a parent or other legal representative of the victim of alleged child abuse or neglect may have a right to obtain portions of the requested information from the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. See Fam. Code § 261.201(g).
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US