Requesting Personal Records or Information
It is the policy of the Department of Social Services (DSS) to carry out its mission with full transparency to the public unless otherwise required by law, in accordance with §§37.070, 109.180, and 610.011 RSMo. Therefore, all DSS records are open to the public unless specifically closed by state and/or federal law. State and federal law and regulations determine what DSS may provide, and whether any information in the records must be redacted or edited to keep protected information confidential.
To request your own personal information/records, or personal information/records you are legally entitled to, please identify as specifically as possible exactly what information or record you are requesting. You must also provide the document(s) to prove you would be entitled to the information/record requested. Original documents are not required.
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. 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 below. If you would like to request information about hearings or about your upcoming hearing, contact the Hearings Unit:
Benefit Hearings Unit:
- Central Missouri: 573-751-0335
- Eastern Missouri: 314-877-2076
- Western Missouri: 816-325-5918
Child Support Hearings Unit: 573-526-3518
Send your request directly to the appropriate division within the Department of Social Services listed below:
|Children's Division||To request record(s) from the Children’s Division, please complete a request form and submit it to: email@example.com||Missouri Department of Social Services
Division of Legal Services
Attention: Document Management Unit
PO Box 1527
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1527
|Family Support Divisionfirstname.lastname@example.org||Family Support Division
Attention: Constituent Services
PO Box 2320
Jefferson City, MO 65102-2320
|MO HealthNet Division||Ask.MHD@dss.mo.gov||MO HealthNet Division
Attention: Constituent Services
PO Box 6500
Jefferson City, MO 65102-6500.
|Division of Youth Services||AskDYS@dss.mo.gov||Division of Youth Services
Attention: Constituent Services
PO Box 447
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0447
NOTE: The Department of Social Services and all divisions thereof are "covered entities" as that term is defined at 45 C.F.R. §160.103. Therefore, all health related information pertaining to an identifiable individual in the possession of any of the divisions within the Department is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Public Law 104-191, 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164, Subparts A and E, commonly referred to as HIPAA and section 407.1500 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri and thus can only be released in accordance with those authorities.
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.