Privacy and confidentiality
It is important to recognise and respect each child’s right to privacy, dignity and confidentiality in all aspects of their life.
As a carer you sign a Code of Conduct, agreeing to not breach personal or organisational confidentiality. This means you are not to disclose personal information about children or their families except at appropriate forums like
- individual case planning
- clinical meetings
- professional consultations
- supervision sessions
Other ways you can maintain confidentiality
- Teach children how to maintain their own privacy
- Respect the privacy and confidentiality of children when on outings, attending social functions, on holidays and other activities
- Maintain privacy about sensitive personal information, including a child’s status as a Life Without Barriers’ client and child in care
LWB must comply with privacy legislation regulating the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information. The Australian Government Privacy Commissioner has developed a set of guidelines that give organisations helpful information about the Australian Privacy Principles.
Confidentiality and privacy - children
We uphold the rights of children to have privacy around their personal belongings and personal space. Children in care have the same rights to privacy that any child should reasonably expect from their own parents.
Respect a child’s privacy
- Provide reasonable privacy when they are using the phone.
- Allow them to send and receive emails and letters without them being read. (Your care team will let you know if, for safety reasons, phone calls or correspondence needs to be monitored).
- Don’t search their room, pockets or property unless there is reasonable belief they possess an item that belongs to someone else, is illegal or potentially dangerous.
- Don’t share information given to you about children and their families inappropriately. It is OK to share information with other members of the care team. When sharing information with other people outside the care team only share the information required by that person. It is not appropriate to share personal information with neighbours and friends. You can share day to day information, for example, how they scored a goal at soccer on the weekend.
- If you attend carer training or meet with other carers for support you may wish to share your experiences. This is OK and can help carers learn from each other. Again it is important to be careful not to share personal information about a child or their family.
- If you are unsure about what information you can share talk to your care team.
Children’s right to information
Children have a right to access and to understand information held by us during their time in care. This includes accessing their records while in care and after they have left care. Ask your care team for more information about this.
Confidentiality and privacy - Carers
You can expect that your personal information will not be shared inappropriately. Your right to privacy however will be balanced with the rights of children to access information about their carers, and the rights of families to receive information about where their children are and who is caring for them. You should always be informed if information about you will be shared.
Talk to your care team if you would like more information about the requirements for sharing information in your state or territory.
In some states and territories, such as NSW, there is legislation in place governing children’s and families rights to information. Read more about this here.
You can find more information by visiting the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.