Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Helpful Tips


For more information about FOIL, please visit the New York State Committee on Open Government’s website.

When submitting a FOIL request:

  • Be as specific as possible in describing the requested records. Include relevant dates, names, descriptions, etc. See suggested language for a FOIL request from the Committee on Open Government.
  • Specify whether you would like to inspect the records or have copies of the records sent to you.
  • If records are available, specify how you want them sent, i.e., via US mail, e-mail or fax. We may choose to send the records by U.S. mail, if you have requested a large volume of records, for security or other important reasons. We will notify you of any charge for reproducing such records before they are sent to you.
  • Include your e-mail, mailing address and fax number, as well as a telephone number where you can be reached during business hours, if it is necessary to clarify your request.
  • Please keep in mind that OPWDD is not required to create a new record in response to FOIL requests and is not required to provide information in response to questions which require an analysis of the information.


To request YOUR records: Read OPWDD’s summary regarding your privacy rights.

Why You May be Denied Access to a Record
Certain records, or portions of records, are not available under FOIL. These include:

  • Clinical records maintained by OPWDD that relate to the care and treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities. Such records, and any other records that tend to identify individuals seeking or receiving services through OPWDD, are confidential pursuant to New York State Mental Hygiene Law section 33.13 and the federal HIPAA Privacy Rule. These records are not available pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law because they are specifically exempted from disclosure under state or federal statute (see Public Officer’s Law section 87(2)(a));
  • Other records specifically exempted from disclosure under state or federal statute (see Public Officer’s Law section 87(2)(a));
  • Records, if disclosed, that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy (see Public Officer’s Law section 87(2)(b));
  • Records that are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not statistical or factual tabulations or data, instructions to staff which affect the public or are final agency policies or determinations, are external audits, including audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government or computer codes (see Public Officer’s Law section 87(2)(g)); or
  • Records, if disclosed, would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining positions (see Public Officer’s Law section 87(2)(c)).
  • If your request for records is denied in whole or in part, you will be notified of the reason in writing and advised of your right to appeal such denial.