|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 30, 1999
Mr. Mark A. Flowers
Dear Mr. Flowers:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 129829.
The City of Midland (the "city") received a request for incident report number 990908125. You have submitted a copy of the incident report to this office for review. You contend that the incident report is excepted from disclosure pursuant to sections 552.101 and 552.108 of the Government Code.
Section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 261.201(a) of the Family Code provides:
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 [of a child] 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, 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 made under chapter 261 of the Family Code. We are not aware of any rules promulgated by the city which permit the dissemination of this type of information. Accordingly, the requested information is made confidential by section 261.201 of the Family Code and must be withheld from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code. See Open Records Decision No. 440 (1986) (applying former Fam. Code § 34.08).(1)
We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published pen 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 any questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
Ref: ID# 129829
Encl. Submitted document
cc: Mr. Kevin Fender
1. We note that if the investigation has been referred to the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (the "department"), a parent who is a requestor may be entitled to access to the department's records. Section 261.201(f) of the Family Code provides that the department, upon request and subject to its own rules:
shall provide to the parent, managing conservator, or other legal representative of a child who is the subject of reported abuse or neglect information concerning the reported abuse or neglect that would otherwise be confidential under this section if the department has edited the information to protect the confidentiality of the identity of the person who made the report and any other person whose life or safety may be endangered by the disclosure.
Fam. Code § 261.201(f).
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