The Department of Social Services (DSS) follows transparency laws like §§37.070, 109.180, and 610.011 RSMo, making records public unless protected by state or federal laws. State and federal law determine what DSS may provide, and whether any information in the records must be redacted or edited to keep protected information confidential.

Types of Records

DSS retains certain agency records which are not available to the general public, nor are they obtainable under the Missouri Sunshine Act/Law. As allowed by law, they are only available to the individual and/or the relevant other parties under certain conditions.

  • Personal Records Request: Records that are of a personal nature may only be released to the person themselves, a legal guardian, or the individual’s legal representative. Examples of a personal record include: records related to adoption or foster care, benefits history, or child abuse and neglect hotline reports. To submit a personal records request, visit the Records Request Center.
    Reminders when submitting a request for personal records:
    • Please be very specific about what information or record you need.
    • Provide documentation proving your entitlement to the requested record.
    • For help with a records request, please vist out frequently asked questions.
    • If you need to appoint a personal representative, submit an authorization form.
  • Open Records (Sunshine Law): A few examples of open records include: department or division reports, data, or program information. If you are member of the media, a legal firm, or any interested citizen seeking records that may be open to the public, visit the Records Request Center to get started.

Need to Serve a Summons or Subpoena?

Summons and subpoenas are NOT accepted through the Records Request Center. Visit the DSS Summons & Subpoena page for more information.

How to Request Records

To submit a record, visit the Records Request Center to create your account and login to:

Who can DSS release personal information or records to?

In general, the following rules dictate to whom DSS can release personal information or records:

  • Adult - Generally, an individual is entitled to their own information and records and may designate anyone they choose to receive their information or records, as well. The following are examples of documents you can use to designate a personal representative for an adult or emancipated minor:
    • Signed release form as noted above
    • Health care power of attorney
    • Court order appointing a legal guardian
    • General power of attorney that includes a health care decision clause

    To request access to your own information or records, you must submit a written request to the appropriate division of the Department of Social Services by email or mail using the contact information provided above.

  • Child - Parents and legal guardians generally have the right to receive confidential information or documents pertaining to their minor child or ward. To prove you are the parent, you can use the following documents:
    • Birth certificate
    • Paternity order
    • Child support order

    The parent is entitled to the child's records created up until the date the Termination of Parental Rights judgment is signed by the court. Exceptions to this rule include instances when the law allows a minor to consent to the treatment, such as prenatal care (but not an abortion); when the guardianship has expired or terminated by the court; where a parent's rights to access the information have been restricted by court order; when a court or other law allows a person other than the parent to make treatment decisions for the minor; or where the parent agrees to a confidential arrangement between a physician and the minor. Parents are not entitled to their child's health records once their child is 18 years old.

  • Deceased Individual - Federal law protects the heath information of a deceased individual until 50 years after the date of their death. However, the division may consider the person with the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased client, or the deceased client's estate, to be the personal representative, such as an executor of the estate.

    For your convenience, you may use the authorization form to designate a person of your choice as your personal representative for purposes of receiving information or documents from DSS.

Requests from the Media

Most individual records or information maintained by the Department of Social Services (DSS) are closed and confidential under state and federal laws. However, the Director of the Department of Social Services does have the authority to release information and findings about child abuse and neglect cases which resulted in a child fatality or near fatality. The Director can consider whether it is appropriate to release information or findings about the case after the investigation is concluded and the Department has had the opportunity to consider the impact of the release of information on other children within the immediate family, the criminal investigation or any legal proceedings arising out of the case in the manner required by law. This process is initiated only upon formal request submitted to the Custodian of Records. Investigations typically are concluded within 180 days.

If you are looking for general information about the Children's Division Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline and child abuse and neglect investigations, the following resources may be helpful: