Information released under FOI Request LEX 39013, unredacted.

Claire made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Human Services

The request was partially successful.

From: Claire

Delivered

Dear Department of Human Services,

I am requesting access to operational information for the Department of Human Services relating to vulnerability indicators. Specifically; I am requesting access to the information released under FOI LEX 39013. Additionally, I am requesting access to operational information relating to vulnerability indicators current as of the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Yours faithfully,

Emily Robinson

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX41827 Registration Acknowledgement letter.pdf
184K Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Robinson

 

Thank you for your email.

 

The department has taken your email to be a request (registered as
LEX41827) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) for the
following documents:

 

I am requesting access to operational information relating to
vulnerability indicators current as of the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and
2013.

 

The remaining part of your email, the department considers to be a request
(registered as LEX41821) for the document released in response to LEX
39013 from the department’s disclosure log and will respond in due course.

 

Kind regards

 

Ellen

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [1][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX41827 s24AB s24AB letter.pdf
331K Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Robinson

 

Please find the attached correspondence in relation to your freedom of
information request.

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

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From: Claire

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

I revise my request with the reference number LEX 41827 as follows:

• Circumstances affecting capacity to comply with compulsory requirements staff training packages, policies, guidelines, directives, and procedures not publicly available including operational information created by the department for internal use and operational information provided to the department by another department.

• The operational information requested is that used by Centrelink.

• The reference to “vulnerability indicators” is made in the context of how vulnerable customers requiring support are identified, the mechanism of this tool, the rules for its use, what support is extended to vulnerable customers, and Centrelink risk management for vulnerable customers. The reference is used as a specific term as well as a description of information sought.

• The reference to information “current as of the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013” is made in the context of information that was current in the respective years that may or may not still be current today. In this instance, “current” is used in the context of being applicable to customers and/or staff in those respective years whether or not it is still applicable to this day.

As an example; a Centrelink customer receiving Newstart Allowance has a mental health condition impacting their ability to comply with compulsory requirements such as looking for work. The customer is identified as vulnerable and requiring support, so a vulnerability indicator is applied to their customer record for Medical conditions - Mental health. The Operational Blueprint Circumstances affecting capacity to comply with compulsory requirement 001-10050000 located at http://operational.humanservices.gov.au/... and the Freedom of Information release for reference LEX 39013 do not provide sufficient information to fully understand the vulnerability indicator process. Specifically, further information is required to describe the following:

• How Centrelink provides additional support to vulnerable customers. For example, in the hypothetical situation above, would Centrelink simply recommend interventions or is Centrelink responsible for providing further support?

• What the support entails. For example, in the hypothetical situation above, would Centrelink recommend or facilitate access to counselling and/or a social worker?

• How Centrelink manages risk for these customers. For example, in the hypothetical situation above, a person experiencing a mental health crisis is at significant risk of causing harm to themselves or others; how does Centrelink manage the risk they pose to the customer such as inappropriate expectations of looking for work?

• The review process (automatic or otherwise) for vulnerability indicators. For example, in the hypothetical situation above, once the customer’s vulnerability indicator has been recorded, what is the process for deciding whether to set an automatic review for a specified period and what is the process for manual review? What information is considered in removing vulnerability indicators from vulnerable customers’ records, if any?

Please advise if you require further revision of my request.

Yours sincerely,

Emily Robinson

Link to this

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services

Dear Ms Robinson

 

Thank you for your response and the additional information you have
provided.

 

Please confirm my understanding of your request

 

I have reviewed your request and understand that you wish to revise your
request to be for the following documents:

 

·         Centrelink staff training packages, policies, guidelines,
directives, and procedures that are not publicly available and used in
conjunction with the operational blueprint ‘Circumstances affecting
capacity to comply with compulsory requirements (001-10050000)’;

o   these documents may include documents by the department for internal
use and provided to the department by another department.

 

·         Centrelink documents (staff training packages, policies,
guidelines, directives, and procedures) that are not publicly available
and use the term ‘vulnerability indicators’ applicable to customers and/or
staff in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013;

 

·         Centrelink documents (staff training packages, policies,
guidelines, directives, and procedures) that are not publicly available
and describe the process that staff should follow when identifying
customers who are vulnerable, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013;

 

·         Centrelink documents that are used by staff to provide support
to ‘vulnerable’ customers;

 

·         Centrelink documents that are used by staff to manage any risk
presented by a ‘vulnerable’ customer, either to themselves or others.

 

·         Centrelink documents that are used by staff to review
‘vulnerability indicators’.

 

Note: I am seeking documents that were used at any point during the time
period of 2010 - 2013.

 

Please consider the above understanding of your request and confirm if
this is your intended revised request.

 

The meaning of ‘vulnerable’

 

To assist the FOI team in processing your request, could you also please
identify what definition you are using when you refer to ‘vulnerable’. In
particular, please identify whether you are using the term vulnerable in
the same way as used in the Guide to Social Security Law or in some other
way.

 

The Guide to Social Security Law uses the term ‘vulnerable’ to describe
the following: 

 

·         ‘vulnerable claimant’ to describe a number of people in a number
of different ‘vulnerable circumstances’, see here:
[1]http://guides.dss.gov.au/guide-social-se... and

 

·         ‘indicators of vulnerability’ to describe that someone is
vulnerable when someone is dealing with financial hardship, financial
exploitation, failing to undertake reasonable self-care or currently
homeless, or at risk of homelessness, see here:
[2]http://guides.dss.gov.au/guide-social-se....

 

Please confirm the meaning of ‘vulnerable’ in the context of your request.

 

If you do not respond by close of business Monday 14 January 2019, I will
consider your request not revised and will remain consulting with you.

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [3][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

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From: Claire

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

I confirm that your understanding of my request as described in your response is my intended revised request.

I confirm that the term “vulnerable” is used in this context as appears in the Guide to Social Security Law per the links you provided in your response.

Yours sincerely,

Emily Robinson

Link to this

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services

Dear Ms Robinson

 

Thank you for confirming your revised scope.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [1][email address]    

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

 

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX41827 s24AB s24AB consultation letter.pdf
521K Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Robinson

 

I note that you have previously revised your request following earlier
consultation. However, after further investigation with internal business
areas, I consider that a practical refusal reason remains in relation to
the identification of documents.

 

Please find the attached consultation letter regarding your request.

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [1][email address]    

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM <[email address]>
Sent: Monday, 14 January 2019 3:09 PM
To: 'Claire' <[FOI #5206 email]>
Subject: RE: LEX41827 - Your FOI request - Consultation letter
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

Dear Ms Robinson

 

Thank you for confirming your revised scope.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [2][email address]    

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

 

 

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From: Claire

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

I am seeking access to documents relating to payments and circumstances to which vulnerability indicators apply. This includes payments such as Newstart Allowance and any other payments that utilise the vulnerability indicator tool for recipients; and circumstances such as mutual obligations, compulsory requirements, and any other circumstances where a Centrelink customer would be identified as benefiting from additional support via the vulnerability indicator tool. I am seeking access to information used in identifying vulnerable customers in a social work context, how that information is used to provide additional support, and the nature of that support. I am not seeking access to information relating to Income Management.

In this context, ‘vulnerable’ is used to refer to risk or potential risk of adversity due to circumstances such as violence, homelessness, disability, et cetera without reference to Income Management.

In this context, ‘vulnerability indicators’ is used to refer to Centrelink policy and customer assistance tools as outlined in the operational blueprint Circumstances affecting capacity to comply with compulsory requirement 001-10050000.

In your letter you stated:

“A jobseeker who has a vulnerability indicator recorded in relation to their mutual obligation requirements will not necessarily, or automatically, have a vulnerability indicator recorded for other purposes.”

I am seeking documents as to how this policy is applied and why. For example, why and how a vulnerability indicator recorded in relation to their mutual obligation requirements would not be applicable to other aspects of that customer’s record. Thank you for providing information about the differences in context for these terms.

I am familiar with the Guide to Social Security Law. I am seeking access to more specific operational information than is available in the Guide.

This FOI request seeks to access documents that are not available to the public. Operational blueprints can be accessed by the public via the links your provided; however, parts of these blueprints and their related staff training packages are not accessible to the public.

For example, under the ‘Training & Support’ tab for the operational blueprint Review of Homelessness Indicator and referral for a wellbeing assessment 110-06090050 it states:

“Related training packages in the Learning Portal (LMS) in ESSentials:

CLK00302 - Homelessness Indicators”

This is an example of a document to which I am requesting access under this FOI request.

If required, I can go through each relevant operational blueprint and identify the precise name of each document I am requesting access to; however, this will take a considerable amount of time due to my lack of knowledge and experience with Centrelink operational informations. Thank you for the links you have provided.

Yours sincerely,

Emily Robinson

Link to this

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services

Dear Ms Robinson

 

Thank you for the additional information that you have provided.

 

I am responding to your email to assist you to revise your request so that
a practical refusal reason no longer exists.

 

At this stage, while your response does provide additional information,
parts of your request remain too broad and cannot be identified. For
example the part of your request that states, ‘I am seeking access to
documents relating to payments and circumstances to which vulnerability
indicators apply’, requires narrowing. The use of the term ‘documents
relating to’ and not specifying what payment or circumstance you are
referring to, leaves this part of your request to be too broad and would
involve the search and retrieval efforts of multiple business areas.

 

In your request you also state that you are ‘seeking access to information
used in identifying vulnerable customers in a social work context’. I have
identified some Operational Blueprints, that while publicly available and
discuss income management, may assist you to identify the social work
documents you are requesting. Please consider the material in these
Operational Blueprints:

·        
[1]http://operational.humanservices.gov.au/...
and

·        
[2]http://operational.humanservices.gov.au/....

 

You have also further identified the meaning of ‘vulnerable’ to be when
someone is at ‘risk or potential risk of adversity due to circumstances
such as violence, homelessness, disability, et cetera without reference to
income management’. This part of your request remains broad and the terms
‘such as’ and ‘et cetera’ could incorporate a wide range of
interpretations as to what ‘vulnerable’ could mean. To narrow and specify
this part of your request, you may wish to specify the meaning of
vulnerable to refer to exclusively to one of your examples.

 

I note that in your email, you identify that you are referring to
‘vulnerability indicators’ in the context that they are used in the
operational blueprint, ‘Circumstances affecting capacity to comply with
compulsory requirement 001-10050000’. This blueprint discusses
vulnerability indicators for jobseekers.

 

Revising your request

After reviewing your response, I consider that you have identified
specific documents that you are seeking. My understanding is that you are
seeking:

·         documents that are not publicly available and explain why and
how a vulnerability indicator is recorded for the purposes of jobseeker
payments (including staff training material, policies and procedures); and

·         the training package ‘CLK00302 – Homelessness Indicators’ for
the operational blueprint, ‘Review of Homelessness Indicator and referral
for a wellbeing assessment 110-06090050’;

 

In previous correspondence you have provided that you are seeking
documents that were used at any point during the time period 2010-2013. I
have consulted with a relevant business area and have been advised that
this time period is currently too broad and locating documents may require
a substantial diversion of resources. Please consider identifying the
documents you are seeking from a single point in time so to reduce the
time it would take to retrieve these historical documents.

 

You may wish to revise your request to incorporate the above points.

 

Please note that, even if you provide the department with specific
information that allows us to identify the documents you are seeking, the
request may still give rise to a practical refusal reason if the revised
scope remains too broad. You will need to take this into consideration
when revising the scope of your request.

 

The department does not undertake ‘part processing’ of an FOI request,
meaning that, even if some parts of your request were clear, the
department cannot process any aspect of your request if part of it
remains unclear.

 

Consultation period

I am currently consulting you within the consultation period, this 14 day
period ends on Friday 1 February 2019. Before this date, you must do one
of the following, in writing:

·         withdraw the request;

·         make a revised request; or

·         tell me that you do not want to revise your request.

 

If you do not do one of these three things during the consultation period,
your request will be deemed to have been withdrawn by operation of the FOI
Act.

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [3][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services

Dear Ms Robinson

 

Following the department’s first consultation letter, on 11 January 2019
you confirmed your revised request under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (FOI Act) to be for the following documents:

 

·       Centrelink staff training packages, policies, guidelines,
directives, and procedures that are not publicly available and used in
conjunction with the operational blueprint ‘Circumstances affecting
capacity to comply with compulsory requirements (001-10050000)’;

 

o   these documents may include documents by the department for internal
use and provided to the department by another department.

 

·       Centrelink documents (staff training packages, policies,
guidelines, directives, and procedures) that are not publicly available
and use the term ‘vulnerability indicators’ applicable to customers and/or
staff in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013;

 

·       Centrelink documents (staff training packages, policies,
guidelines, directives, and procedures) that are not publicly available
and describe the process that staff should follow when identifying
customers who are vulnerable, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013;

 

·       Centrelink documents that are used by staff to provide support to
‘vulnerable’ customers;

 

·       Centrelink documents that are used by staff to manage any risk
presented by a ‘vulnerable’ customer, either to themselves or others.

 

·       Centrelink documents that are used by staff to review
‘vulnerability indicators’.

 

Note: I am seeking documents that were used at any point during the time
period of 2010 - 2013.

 

On 18 January 2019, the department sent you a second consultation letter
under section 24AB of the FOI Act, notifying you that your revised request
is too unclear to process and requires further consultation.

 

During the second consultation period, you were required to do one of the
following:

 

-          withdraw the request;

 

-          revise the request; or

 

-          tell the department that they do not want to revise their
request.

 

On 23 January 2019, you provided additional information to the department
about the documents you were requesting, however this did not satisfy one
of the above requirements.

 

On 24 January 2019, the department responded to your email to assist you
to revise your request. 

 

The last day of this 14 day consultation period was 1 February 2019. As
the department did not receive another response from you doing one of the
three things outlined above, your request is deemed to be withdrawn under
the FOI Act and considered finalised.

 

Submitting a new FOI request

 

You may submit a new FOI request at anytime to the department by emailing
[1][email address].

 

If you do decide to submit a new request, please consider addressing the
issues raised in the second section 24AB consultation letter sent to you
on 18 January 2019.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [2][email address]  

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM <[email address]>
Sent: Thursday, 24 January 2019 4:33 PM
To: 'Claire' <[FOI #5206 email]>
Subject: RE: LEX41827 - Your FOI request - Second consultation letter
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

Dear Ms Robinson

 

Thank you for the additional information that you have provided.

 

I am responding to your email to assist you to revise your request so that
a practical refusal reason no longer exists.

 

At this stage, while your response does provide additional information,
parts of your request remain too broad and cannot be identified. For
example the part of your request that states, ‘I am seeking access to
documents relating to payments and circumstances to which vulnerability
indicators apply’, requires narrowing. The use of the term ‘documents
relating to’ and not specifying what payment or circumstance you are
referring to, leaves this part of your request to be too broad and would
involve the search and retrieval efforts of multiple business areas.

 

In your request you also state that you are ‘seeking access to information
used in identifying vulnerable customers in a social work context’. I have
identified some Operational Blueprints, that while publicly available and
discuss income management, may assist you to identify the social work
documents you are requesting. Please consider the material in these
Operational Blueprints:

·      
[3]http://operational.humanservices.gov.au/...
and

·      
[4]http://operational.humanservices.gov.au/....

 

You have also further identified the meaning of ‘vulnerable’ to be when
someone is at ‘risk or potential risk of adversity due to circumstances
such as violence, homelessness, disability, et cetera without reference to
income management’. This part of your request remains broad and the terms
‘such as’ and ‘et cetera’ could incorporate a wide range of
interpretations as to what ‘vulnerable’ could mean. To narrow and specify
this part of your request, you may wish to specify the meaning of
vulnerable to refer to exclusively to one of your examples.

 

I note that in your email, you identify that you are referring to
‘vulnerability indicators’ in the context that they are used in the
operational blueprint, ‘Circumstances affecting capacity to comply with
compulsory requirement 001-10050000’. This blueprint discusses
vulnerability indicators for jobseekers.

 

Revising your request

After reviewing your response, I consider that you have identified
specific documents that you are seeking. My understanding is that you are
seeking:

·       documents that are not publicly available and explain why and how
a vulnerability indicator is recorded for the purposes of jobseeker
payments (including staff training material, policies and procedures); and

·       the training package ‘CLK00302 – Homelessness Indicators’ for the
operational blueprint, ‘Review of Homelessness Indicator and referral for
a wellbeing assessment 110-06090050’;

 

In previous correspondence you have provided that you are seeking
documents that were used at any point during the time period 2010-2013. I
have consulted with a relevant business area and have been advised that
this time period is currently too broad and locating documents may require
a substantial diversion of resources. Please consider identifying the
documents you are seeking from a single point in time so to reduce the
time it would take to retrieve these historical documents.

 

You may wish to revise your request to incorporate the above points.

 

Please note that, even if you provide the department with specific
information that allows us to identify the documents you are seeking, the
request may still give rise to a practical refusal reason if the revised
scope remains too broad. You will need to take this into consideration
when revising the scope of your request.

 

The department does not undertake ‘part processing’ of an FOI request,
meaning that, even if some parts of your request were clear, the
department cannot process any aspect of your request if part of it
remains unclear.

 

Consultation period

I am currently consulting you within the consultation period, this 14 day
period ends on Friday 1 February 2019. Before this date, you must do one
of the following, in writing:

·       withdraw the request;

·       make a revised request; or

·       tell me that you do not want to revise your request.

 

If you do not do one of these three things during the consultation period,
your request will be deemed to have been withdrawn by operation of the FOI
Act.

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [5][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Claire left an annotation ()

I don't have the capacity or resources to deal with the specificity of the clarification the officer has been requesting. I will have to try again another time.

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX 39013 Decision Final Document.pdf
4.4M Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Robinson

 

Please find attached the document you requested from the Department of
Human Services’ FOI disclosure log (LEX 39013).

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [1][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX 39013 Decision Final Document.pdf
4.4M Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Robinson

 

Please find attached the document you requested from the Department of
Human Services’ FOI disclosure log (LEX 39013).

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [1][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

 

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of Human Services only: