Access to Public Records Act (APRA)

State of Rhode Island 

Department of Human Services 

Kimberly Merolla-Brito, Director

25 Howard Avenue, Building 57

Cranston, Rhode Island 02920

Public Records Request Guidelines

Under the Access to Public Records Act (APRA)

Access to Public Records Act (APRA)

Department of Human Services

Access to Public Records Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-1 ET SEQ

The RI Department of Human Services (DHS) adheres to the Access to Public Records Act, R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-1, et seq., and has instituted the following procedures for the public to obtain public records:

  • The contact person for Public Records is Linda Shumate or Justine Fitzpatrick. They may be reached at (401) 462-2121. Requests for records may be mailed to the Department of Human Services, Louis Pasteur Building, ATTN: Linda Shumate and Justine Fitzpatrick, 25 Howard Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920, or faxed to (401) 462-6594. To ensure that you are provided with the public records in an efficient manner, we ask that you complete the Public Records Request Form available through the Office of Legal Counsel, Public Records Request. You can also download the form.

Each state agency has its own APRA forms and procedures. The DHS Public Records Request Form should be used for requesting documents of public assistance programs administered by the RI Department of Human Services ONLY.

  • DHS considers the confidentiality of its records a priority under federal and state laws but recognizes the right of access to the public records pursuant to R. I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-1 et. seq. The regular business hours of the Department are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • You are not required to provide identification or the reason you seek the information, and your right to access public records will not depend upon providing identification or reasons.
  • The DHS Office of Legal Counsel will make a determination as to whether the records are public. A “public record” is defined as “documents, papers, or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.” Although a document may constitute a public record, there may be some information contained within the document that may be redacted/deleted as it is exempt from disclosure under R.I. General Laws § 38-2-2.
  • The Access to Public Records Act allows a citizen the opportunity to inspect and/ or to copy public records. The cost per copied page of written public documents will be $0.15 per page and an hourly rate not to exceed $15.00 (fifteen) dollars per hour for time spent for the search, retrieval and redaction of necessary documents, with no charge for the first hour. If the request requires a charge to be assessed, due to the manner in which the information is stored, a charge will be made for the actual production and/or reproduction cost.
  • The DHS Office of Legal Counsel will provide an estimate of charges, allowing for a retraction or amendment to the request, prior to any further action by DHS. If there are charges associated with the production of documents, the time for DHS to produce the documents will be tolled until payment of the charge estimate is received by DHS.
  • To better understand what records are accessible and to review the pertinent laws regarding Access to Public Records & the Open Meetings Act, you may obtain a copy of the Attorney General’s 23rd Annual Open Government Summit Booklet here or the Summit presentation here.
  • Please be advised that the Access to Public Records Act allows a public body ten (10) business days to respond, which can be extended an additional twenty (20) business days for "good cause." We appreciate your understanding and patience.
  • Any person or entity who receives a denial for copies of requested records or the ability to inspect records may petition the Director of DHS at Louis Pasteur Building, 25 Howard Avenue, Cranston, Rhode Island 02920, for a review of the determinations made by her staff. The Director shall make a final determination whether or not to allow public inspection within ten (10) business days. If the denial is confirmed, the individual has a right to file a review petition with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. Nothing prohibits you from instituting proceedings in Superior Court of the county where the record is maintained.
  • DHS is committed to providing you with public records in an expeditious and courteous manner.

Mail the Public Records Request Form to:

  • Department of Human Services
    Louis Pasteur Building
    Attn: Linda Shumate or Justine Fitzpatrick
    25 Howard Avenue
    Cranston, RI 02920

Fax to: 401-462-6594

Email to: Linda Shumate or Justine Fitzpatrick.

If, after review of your request, the Department determines that the requested records are exempt from disclosure for a reason set forth in the Access to Public Records Act, the Department reserves its right to claim such exemption.

Note: If you choose to pick up the records, but did not include identifying information on this form (name, etc.), please contact Linda Shumate or Justine Fitzpatrick at (401) 462-2121 with the date you made the request and the records requested. Thank you