In order for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington to provide a responsible and professional service to clients, it is necessary for volunteers, clients, parents or guardians to divulge extensive personal information about themselves and their families. The agency respects the confidentiality of client and volunteer records and, with the exception of situations listed below, shares information about clients and volunteers only among the agency’s professional staff. The right to confidentiality applies not only to written records but to video, film, photographs, or use of volunteer or client’s name in agency publications. All records are considered the property of the agency and not the agency workers, clients or volunteers themselves. In order to provide a service which is in the best interest of the children served by the program, information from outside sources, including confidential references, shall be assessed along with information gained from the clients or volunteers. Clients and volunteers shall be provided, at the interview, with a copy of this statement on confidentiality along with a list of the expectations, which define the limits of confidentiality. Clients and volunteers shall sign a statement that they have read and understands the agency policy on confidentiality and agrees to the program participation under guidelines it has set forth.
Limits of Confidentiality
Information may be released to other individuals or organizations only upon the written consent by the client or volunteer.
Identifying information regarding clients and volunteers may be used in agency publications and/or promotional materials if the client or volunteer has given permission.
For purposes of program evaluation, audit or accreditation, and with the prior approval of the Board of Directors, certain outside bodies such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America may have access to client and volunteer records. These outside organizations shall be required to respect the agency policy on confidentiality. Outside parties shall be required to use information only for the purpose stated in the approval action of the Board of Directors. Known violations of agency confidentiality policy will be reported to the supervisor of the individual involved and appropriate disciplinary action shall be requested.
Members of the Board of Directors have access to client files only upon authorization by formal motion of the Board of Directors. The motion shall state who shall be authorized to review records, the specific purpose for such review and the period of time during which access shall be granted. Members shall be required to comply with the agency policies on confidentiality and may use the information only for purposes stated by the approved action of the Board of Directors. Known violations shall be reported to the Board President. A violation of the agency’s confidentiality policy by a Board Member shall constitute adequate cause for removal from office.
Information shall only be provided to law enforcement officials or the courts pursuant to a valid and enforceable subpoena or as required by statute, with exception to number 8 and 9 (see below).
Information shall be provided to an agency’s legal counsel in the event of litigation or potential litigation involving the agency. Such information is considered privileged information, and its confidentiality is protected by law.
State law mandates that suspected child abuse shall be reported to the appropriate authorities (Child Protective Service). All workers are responsible for staying abreast of such reporting requirements of the irrespective jurisdiction and shall always comply with mandated procedures.
If an agency worker receives information indicating that a client or volunteer may be dangerous to themselves or others, necessary steps shall be taken to protect the appropriate party. This may include a medical referral or a report to the local law enforcement authorities or a mental health professional, as appropriate.
It is the position of the agency to not “out” a young person in regards to their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation that is confidential to the youth or the parent/guardian. The information will be kept confidential with those whom the child chooses to tell.
Agreement to Protect the Confidentiality of Match Information
I agree to keep the information discussed with me regarding a potential (Big or Little) match confidential. I will not discuss this information with any person other than Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington professional staff. I have read and understand that the above document which states the agency policy with respect to confidentiality of client and volunteer records. I agree to program participation under the conditions it sets forth.