The CPO is committed to transparency. The CPO is subject to the Colorado Open Records Act (C.R.S. §24-72- 201 to 206) and in accordance with the provisions outlined in C.R.S. § 19-3.3-103(1)(a)(I)(B). In adhering to this Act, the CPO will comply with all state and federal confidentiality laws that govern the state department or a county department with respect to the treatment of confidential information or records and the disclosure of such information and records.
CPO Procedures for Handling Record Requests
All records requests submitted to the CPO by mail, courier or email shall be immediately provided to the Child Protection Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will approve all responses to the CORA except in extraordinary circumstances he/she will authorize a designee.
The CPO will accept only records requests made in writing or electronically via email. Records request made via social media shall not be accepted and must be resubmitted. Record requests or requestors that cite the Freedom of Information Act will be treated as though they were made pursuant to the CORA.
When responding to a records request, the CPO shall make every effort to respond within three working days, as is required by C.R.S §24-72-203(3)(b). A request is received the day an email or letter containing the request is opened. The three-working day response time begins the first working day following receipt of the request. A request received after noon on any day the CPO is officially closed will be considered received as of the following work day.
No employee of the CPO may modify, redact or omit any records they are required to provide, pursuant to this policy, to the Child Protection Ombudsman or his or her designee handling the request. Redactions and decisions about whether a record falls under an exemption to the CORA will be made by the Child Protection Ombudsman in consultation with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Staff should never assume a document is exempt and should always consult the Child Protection Ombudsman before making a final determination.
When feasible, the CPO will endeavor to provide electronic copies of files to requestors if such alternative is significantly less burdensome to provide than paper copies. When responsive records cannot be easily or cost effectively provided electronically to a requestor, the CPO will work with the requestor to schedule a time to inspect the records in person. The CPO is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except state holidays. The Child Protection Ombudsman may grant exceptions where the CPO, requestor or the records produced require special accommodations.
When a requestor (either an individual or organization) has an overdue balance for completing a prior request to the CPO, work on a new CORA request will not begin until the overdue bill is paid in full.
When a request requires the production of more than 25 pages of documents or more than one hour of staff time to locate or produce the records, the CPO will charge the requestor for all copying expenses and for staff time in accordance with C.R.S. §24-72-205(5)(a) and applicable law.
Any cost charged to a requestor shall not exceed the actual cost of producing the records, in accordance with C.R.S. §24-72-205(5)(a) and applicable law.
For requests where the CPO anticipates more than 25 pages will be produced and/or more than one hour of staff time will be consumed, the CPO will provide a requestor with advance notice and an estimate of compliance costs. Such costs must be paid in full before the production of records unless alternative arrangements have been made through the Child Protection Ombudsman.
When the number of pages produced in response to a records request exceeds 25 pages, the CPO will charge $0.25 per page for all documents copied.
When researching the location of a document, retrieving or producing records consumes more than one hour of staff time, the CPO shall charge $20 an hour for all staff time. An hourly rate not to exceed $30 an hour when specialized document production or specialized skills are required to fully comply with a records request. In extraordinary circumstance, the use of a third-party contractor may be necessary and will be discussed with the requestor in advance.
By policy of the CPO, the requestor shall also be charged $30 an hour for time spent by an attorney engaged in the practice of law directly related to a records request, including but not limited to, the review of documents for privilege or other exemptions to production; document redaction; creation of documents that articulate the privileged nature of the requested documents or conducting CORA related legal research.
Payment is due within 30 days of the invoice date. Past due amounts will be referred to collections.
Format of Records Produced
The CORA guarantees that “all public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times, except as provided in this part 2 or as otherwise specifically provided by law,” as stated in C.R.S. §24-72-201. The CORA does not guarantee access to public records in a specific format. When the production or review of records in a specific format would interfere with the regular discharge of duties of the CPO and staff, in accordance with C.R.S. §24-72-203(1)(a), or levy an undue burden upon the CPO, the Child Protection Ombudsman will determine the appropriate format for the records to be produced. The CPO may require that members of the public only be allowed to review copies of documents when the custodian of records determines that allowing access to originals could interfere with the regular discharge of duties of the CPO, its staff or the production of original records could jeopardize the condition of the records.
Pursuant to C.R.S. 19-3.3-103(III)(3), the Child Protection Ombudsman, employees of the CPO and any persons acting on behalf of the CPO shall comply with all state and federal confidentiality laws that govern the state department or a county department with respect to the treatment of confidential information or records and the disclosure of such information to the treatment of confidential information or records and the disclosure of such information and records. These laws include, but are not limited to, the Colorado Children’s Code, CAPTA, HIPPA and FERPA.