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Denise Harwardt from Family and Surrogate Court Litigation (FASCL) has asked me to pass along the below update with respect to CYFEA disclosure requests:
Denise will be retiring on November 27, 2020. Jennifer Fiorini of FASCL will then take over her role in overseeing the disclosure process.
There is a specific email address for these requests. It is firstname.lastname@example.org. Any requests for disclosure of documents from Children’s Services under s. 126(1)(b) or (c) of the Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act should go to this email address. It will be monitored by FASCL and Children’s Services and you will get a letter from FASCL in response.
If you are requesting disclosure on behalf of a guardian of the child, FASCL will be asking you to provide them with contact information for the other guardian as FASCL will advise the other guardian of the request to seek their input and to determine if they are also seeking disclosure. It would expedite these requests if you copy the other guardian or their counsel with the initial request. Wherever possible, provide a joint request for disclosure. It will also expedite the request if you provide information about what you are seeking and why. If you are able to limit the request by time frame or the kind of documents that you are seeking that will likely mean that you get the disclosure more quickly. Having said that, CFS will exercise its discretion to limit the documents that it provides. It is FASCL's experience that contact notes and emails are often replicated in other documents on the file so they will only provide them if CFS believes that disclosure is warranted for some reason. FASCL will also not provide psychological assessments of the guardians unless there is clear consent from that guardian nor will we provide Zebra or police reports unless they are on the file and their provision is deemed to be in the best interests of the child. CFS will also limit the time frame for which they will provide disclosure. Finally, this process is only available if you are representing the child’s guardian. People who are not guardians are required to seek disclosure under s. 126.11 of CYFA.
If the request is from child’s counsel and all that you are seeking is information rather than documents, you can request the information from the case worker directly. If you encounter difficulties in getting the information from the case worker, contact FASCL for assistance. They have a general email address that you can use. It is email@example.com. If there is urgency in the request or if you have any questions on the process, please contact Denise (before November 27, 2020) or Jennifer (after November 27, 2020).
Please remember, however, that FASCL and CFS are very busy and the requests for disclosure seem to be increasing exponentially. FASCL cannot guarantee the timing in which they will respond so do not wait until a few weeks before trial to request the disclosure.