The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a state statute that provides the public with the right to access government documents and records. The law provides that a person can ask a public body for a copy of its records on a specific subject, and the public body must provide those records unless there is an exemption in the statute that protects those records from disclosure (for example, records containing information concerning trade secrets or personal privacy).
Exemptions are described under 5 ILCS 140, Section 7 and Section 7.5. In addition, some records may be subject to confidentiality provisions imposed by other state or federal laws. The FOIA process for disclosure of information does not supersede these other applicable statutory and judicial mandates.
The Freedom of Information Act is designed to allow a person to inspect or receive copies of records. It is not designed to require a public body to answer questions. For general questions regarding CPS, search the Department Directory to find the right contact.
How to submit a FOIA request
FOIA requests must be in writing. Due to our request volume, the most efficient way for us to respond to requests is via the CPS FOIA Center.
Through the CPS FOIA Center, you can:
- Submit FOIA requests online via an automated easy-to-use system
- Correspond with the FOIA officer and keep track of FOIA requests
- Receive and view current and historical responses
FOIA requests may also be submitted by mail to the FOIA Office:
Freedom of Information (FOIA)
42 W. Madison St., 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Please note that all FOIA requests are public information. When you submit a FOIA request, your name and information about the request will be posted online and made available on the CPS website.
Non-commercial requests have a 5 - 10 business day turnaround (excluding weekends and holidays). If more time is needed to respond, the FOIA Officer will inform the requester of the additional time needed. In addition, a written agreement with the requestor can extend the deadline for a response beyond the statutory time requirements. For commercial purpose* requests, a response will be provided within 21 business days.
There is no fee for electronic documents sent via the CPS FOIA Center. There is also no fee for the first 50 pages of black and white, letter (8½" x 11") or legal-size (11" x 14") paper copies. Each additional page is copied at 15 cents per page. There may be an additional charge for documents provided in color, or in any size other than legal or letter size. For color copies or unusually-sized copies, the charge is the actual cost of copying. For documents provided in electronic mediums, such as CD, disc, etc., the fee is the actual cost of purchasing the recording medium.
If you are requesting a waiver of any fees for copying documents, you must include a statement of the purpose of the request with a specific explanation as to why your request for information is in the public interest.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests