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Formal Complaints


Don Burgmaier / CASA Child Advocacy Board - Chapter 22 - Public Records


22 November 2013    


Donnie Burgmaier

1102 21st St.

Des Moines, IA  50311                                                                                              BY EMAIL ONLY

Dear Mr. Burgmaier:

On November 18, 2013, you filed a complaint by email concerning an alleged public records violation, alleging that CASA and the Child Advocacy Board improperly refused to release CASA records concerning his child protection court litigation in 1985.

CASA reports are confidential and not public records under Iowa Code Section 237.21:


1.  The information and records of or provided to a local board, state board, or court appointed special advocate regarding a child receiving foster care and the child's family when relating to the foster care placement are not public records pursuant to chapter 22.  The state board and local boards, with respect to hearings involving specific children receiving foster care and the child's family, are not subject to chapter 21.

2.  Information and records relating to a child receiving foster care and to the child's family shall be provided to a local board or the state board by the department or child-care agency receiving purchase-of-service funds from the department upon request by either board.  A court having jurisdiction of a child receiving foster care shall release the information and records the court deems necessary to determine the needs of the child, if the information and records are not obtainable elsewhere, to a local board or the state board upon request by either board.  If confidential information and records are distributed to individual members in advance of a meeting of the state board or a local board, the information and records shall be clearly identified as confidential and the members shall take appropriate steps to prevent unauthorized disclosure.

3.  Members of the state board and local boards, court appointed special advocates, and the employees of the department and the department of inspections and appeals are subject to standards of confidentiality pursuant to sections 217.30, 228.6, subsection 1, sections 235A.15, 600.16, and 600.16A.  Members of the state and local boards, court appointed special advocates, and employees of the department and the department of inspections and appeals who disclose information or records of the board or department, other than as provided in subsection 2, are guilty of a simple misdemeanor.  

Violation of Section 237.21 is a criminal offense (simple misdemeanor).

In addition, a CASA volunteer is appointed by the Court and provides information and filings for Court proceedings.  If CASA is involved, the parents, attorneys and other court-approved parties receive copies of the CASA report at the time of filing.  The Court record would maintain these reports.  The IPIB does not have jurisdiction over the judicial branch (Iowa Code Section 23.12).

Iowa Code Section 23.8 provides two options for action by the IPIB upon receipt of a complaint, the second of which states: 

β€œDetermine that, on its face, the complaint is outside its jurisdiction, is legally insufficient, is frivolous, is without merit, involves harmless error, or relates to a specific incident that has previously been finally disposed of on its merits by the board or a court. In such a case the board shall decline to accept the complaint. If the board refuses to accept a complaint, the board shall provide the complainant with a written order explaining its reasons for the action.” 

For the reasons set forth above, it is therefore ordered that the complaint is dismissed on the grounds that the complaint is outside IPIB jurisdiction and without merit.

A copy of this Order is being forwarded to the Iowa Public Information Board for review at its next scheduled meeting on December 19, 2013. 


Keith Luchtel

Executive Director