Confidentiality in all matters concerning clients is an essential component of our services. We feel it is also the legal and ethical responsibility of all personnel associated with our agency. preserving each client's confidentiality protects the safety, well-being, and confidence of the people we serve. It also honors the trust which clients place in our personnel.
Confidentiality applies to any contact with a client as well as to verbal written client records, documents, and/or files. Unless written authorization for the release and/or exchange of confidential information is given, no knowledge of or revealing information about the client may be shared outside our agency. This written consent may be given by an adult client or the parent/guardian of a minor client or incapacitated senior. Within our office, information sharing about a client is limited to what is necessary for providing coordinated and effective services.
There are legal exemptions to the rule of confidentiality. One exception occurs in the case of suspected or acknowledged abuse of a minor or an elder. As mandate reporters we are required by state law to report cases of abuse. The law outlines the legal consequences of failure to report and also provides protection for the reporter unless the information is given maliciously or without reasonable grounds for suspicion. Reports of suspected or known abuse will be made to APS (Adult Protective Services). In making such reports, any information that is necessary to the allegation of the abuse will be given.
Another exception relates to life-threatening situations. The law requires that we report to law enforcement, knowledge of a client with serious intent to harm others, or if someone is a real danger to her or his own self. Reports of this type will be made in compliance with the law and only necessary client information will be revealed in such reports.