Records Request - How to Request Public Records

The Department of Social and Health Services provides records as required by state law (RCW 42.56).

DSHS believes in the importance of the public’s right to know about its operations and activities. Many public documents are available on the DSHS website and may be located by using the search function on the site.

If you do not find the information you seek on the website, or if you are seeking client records, you may make a public records request. You may use the Request for Records form or send your request to:

DSHS Public Records Officer
DSHS Office of Policy and External Relations
PO Box 45135
Olympia WA 98504-5135

Phone: (360) 902-8484
Fax: (360) 902-7855
Email: DSHSPublicDisclosure@dshs.wa.gov

DSHS rules about processing public records requests are located in Chapter 388-01 WAC.

How to Request a Copy of a Public Record

You may make a public disclosure request to any office of DSHS. You should ask to contact the Public Records Coordinator appointed for that office. If you don’t know which office has the records you seek or are seeking records from different parts of DSHS, you can send your request to the Public Records Officer, as shown above.

If your request includes a list of individuals please complete the Declaration on Commercial Purposes form certifying the list will not be used for commercial purposes.

Confidential and Exempt Records: State and federal law exempt some DSHS records from disclosure because they contain client information. By law, DSHS may not disclose these records outside DSHS or its authorized partners with limited exceptions. Certain types of personal information about DSHS employees is also confidential.

If you are requesting confidential records about someone other than yourself, you must have that person’s permission to obtain those records. You can use the DSHS Authorization form or another form that complies with state and federal laws to allow you to see or obtain copies of those records. If you are a client and want someone to have copies of your records, you may fill out this form. Attorneys, please note that a subpoena is generally not sufficient to obtain DSHS client records. If you do not have permission or other legal authority to have confidential records, DSHS will deny your request for records.