The child in your care has a right to confidentiality and privacy. This includes how information about them can be used and who it can be shared with.
As their carer, you have an obligation to protect the privacy of the child and their family – this includes personal information you know about the child’s history.
However, there are situations where it is okay for you to share information about the child in your care. This is when it would support and assist the child, like sharing information with their school to help them understand what may be currently happening in the child’s life. For example, if after a contact visit the child is upset, you may decide to let the teacher know this to give some context and understanding to how the child is behaving.
The Children and Young People Act 2008 allows this type of information sharing to happen when an individual, such as a carer, is performing a function under the Act and it is in the best interests of the child.
As a member of the child’s Declared Care Team (Care Team for short), you can always share information with others in the team. The purpose of the Care Team is to share information, work collaboratively and share decision-making in a confidential manner (this is provided for under the Act). The Care Team is typically formed early after the child enters care, and is made up of people and services specific to the child’s care. The team is usually formed by your case manager, who also manages the communication amongst the team. The membership of the Care Team may change as the needs of the child change.
Everyone who receives information about the child in your care becomes an ‘information holder’ under the Act. All information holders have a legal responsibility to protect the information they receive and can only share it when performing a function under the Act.
When thinking about sharing information with others, consider whether it is necessary for the child’s protection and wellbeing, or to perform your function as a carer.
If you are not sure who you can share information with, talk to your case manager about this. Remember, you can always discuss details about the child in your care, and the child’s family, with your case manager.
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