A person requesting information from their file or their children’s file must complete a Request for File Information Form indicating what they want copies of. There is a fee for making copies of records. The completed form can be brought into Human Services, faxed to 920-683-4908 or emailed.
If an attorney is representing a parent or client, they must present a signed release which also states the purpose of obtaining the information.
Items that we do not release are copies of law enforcement reports, psychiatric/psychological reports not produced by this department, any information on children or adults who are not birth children or legally adopted, any reporter-identifying information, medical reports, or school reports.
After the file request is prepared by an Administrative Staff person including any required redacting, an invoice is prepared and the requestor is notified that the file is ready. The copies are kept at the front desk for two weeks. A photo ID is required to release the copies. If they are not picked up, they are kept in a file for 30 days and then destroyed. A note is kept in the file and any future requests would require payment before copies are made.
If the court system is involved, a list of documents being provided to the client or attorney is kept on file. In the case of a Termination of Parental Rights, a copy is sent to the Corporation Counsel’s office.
In cases where a judge has ordered an in-camera inspection (rare), we are required to provide either a copy of the entire file or if the judge is local, the original file for them to view.
For Guardians ad Litem, they usually request to view the file in person and then determine what copies they will need. We request a copy of the appointment by the court so we know we can release information.
For the CASA program, we allow them to view the file and they generally do not request copies. They provide a copy of their appointment letter.
All client files are kept for seven years. Termination of Parental Rights files are kept longer. Files of persons who are deceased are kept for five years. Financial records are kept for seven to ten years. Each January the outdated files are purged and shredded.
It is the policy of Manitowoc County to comply with the equal opportunity policy and standards of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, the Department of Health Services and the Department of Workforce Development and all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations relating to nondiscrimination in employment and service delivery.