In order for the program to provide a reasonable and professional service to clients and volunteers, it is necessary for volunteers, clients, and parents/guardians of clients to be asked to divulge extensive personal information about themselves and their families. The program respects the privacy / confidentiality of the information obtained on clients and volunteers. Information about clients and volunteers is shared only
among the agency’s professional staff. These individuals are well aware of the strict confidential nature of the information in the records. Individuals outside of the program’s employ are not allowed access to the files. The right to confidentiality also applies not only to written records but to video, films, pictures, or the use of
client or volunteer’s names in program publications as well.
Release of Information to Others
If for some reason, there is a need to share information in your record with someone not employed in the program, for example, another caseworker, an agency, a probation officer, a school, etc., you will first be consulted and asked to sign a form authorizing the release of this information. Because of the sensitive nature of the information contained in some records, you may wish to discuss the release of this material and related implications very carefully before you sign. The form will specify the information which you give the program permission to release and the party to which the information will be released. Releases are time limited. However, you can revoke your permission at anytime by simply giving the program a written notice.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
1. Information will be released to other individuals or organizations only upon presentation of an authorized disclosure of information form appropriately signed by the client or volunteer.
2. Identifying information regarding clients and volunteers may be used in the program’s publications or promotional materials if the client or the volunteer has given permission.
3. For the purpose of the program evaluation, audit, and accreditation, certain outside bodies may have access to client and volunteer records. These outside organizations shall be required to respect the program’s policy of confidentiality. The outside party shall be required to use information only for the purposes stated.
4. Information without a signed disclosure of information form shall be provided only to law enforcement officials or the court pursuant to a valid and enforceable subpoena.
5. Information shall be provided to the program’s legal counsel in the event of litigation or potential litigation involving the program.
6. If the client or volunteer threatens to harm either themselves or someone else, and the program believes that threat to be serious, the program is obligated under the law to take whatever actions seem necessary to protect people from harm. This may include divulging confidential information to others and would only be done under unusual circumstances where someone’s life appears to be in danger.
7. If there is reason to believe that a client or volunteer is abusing or neglecting children, the program is obligated by law to report this to the appropriate state agency. The law is designed to protect children from harm and the obligation to report suspected abuse or neglect is clear in this regard.
In summary, every reasonable effort is made to safe guard personal information where the client or volunteer shares with the program. They are however, certain incidences where the program may be obligated under law to release some information to others. If you have any questions about confidentiality, please discuss them with your caseworker.