State Records Committee Appeal 94-07
LINDA A. WATSON vs.
UTAH DEPT. OF HUMAN SERVICES, DIVISION OF FAMILY SERVICES
DECISION AND ORDER, CASE NO 94-07
By this appeal Linda A. Watson, who has been temporarily deprived of the custody and guardianship of her children by the Juvenile Court, seeks an order compelling the Division of Family Services to give her all records the Division has relating to her children.
The State Records Committee, having reviewed the written materials submitted by the parties, and having heard the oral argument and testimony of the parties and from other witnesses on June 1, 1994, now issues the following decision and order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. The Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) specifies that "all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(2) (1992).
2. GRAMA also provides that records that are properly classified as "controlled" or "protected" or to which access is governed by another statute, are not public. Utah Code Ann. 63-2- 201(3) (1992).
3. The Division has given Ms. Watson copies of many of its records. The Division has denied access to certain other records which it has classified as "protected", certain records that it has classified as "controlled" and certain records that the Division claims are exempt from GRAMA by virtue of The Child Abuse Reporting Act. Utah Code Ann. 62A-4-513. Therefore, the primary question before us is whether the Division's classifications are proper.
4. The Division voluntarily agreed to give Ms. Watson a list of the dates of 3rd party correspondence requested in section "h(e)" of her request and to provide a general description of the correspondence (i.e. whether it was a letter or some other form). The list will not contain any identifying information.
5. The Division also voluntarily agreed to provide the name of the investigating police agency.
6. After considering all of the evidence we find that the information that the Division has classified as "protected" and "controlled" is properly classified.
7. We also agree that the records that were withheld pursuant to The Child Abuse Reporting Act were properly withheld.
THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED THAT the Division's denial is affirmed and the appeal fails.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404 this Decision and Order may be appealed to the District Court by either party. The petition for review must be filed no later than 30 days after the date of this order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404 (1992). The court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Entered this 6th day of June, 1994.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE,
MAX J. EVANS, Chairman