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QPI Topic of the Month – Information Sharing and Confidentiality

INFORMATION SHARING AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Sharing information about the youth in care is essential to preparing the caregiver to welcome the youth into their home. The Information that can be shared about the youth with the caregiver:

  • Educational information
  • Medical/dental and relevant mental health history – with the exception of youth’s reproductive health history and substance abuse treatment records
  • Youth’s current needs
  • Information on Relatives/siblings with whom youth may have contact or visits with
  • Youth’s Family Background. Information must be limited to what is necessary to care for the child and must not disclose information protected by law. See below for further information

Sharing this information with caregivers allows them to fulfill his/her obligation to cooperate with the child’s case plan and provide quality care to the youth.

The Child Welfare Agency is required to share the following information with the caregiver when initially placing the youth within 48 hours after each subsequent placement.

  • Prescribed Medications for the child that is in the possession of the agency, with instructions for the use of the medication.
  • All information regarding any treatments that are known to the agency that are in effect at the time of the placement.

SOCIAL WORKER: SHARING INFORMATION WITH A CURRENT CAREGIVER

As soon as possible, but not more than thirty (30) days after placement, the social worker must provide the child’s health and education summary to the caregiver. This can take the form of a health and education passport. Information shall include:

  • Names and addresses of the child’s health care providers (including medical care, and dental providers).
  • Names of the child’s educational providers.
  • School documentation, including any documentation or proof of the child’s age that may be required for enrollment in school or activities that require proof of age.
  • Records indicating grade level performance.
    • Assurances that the child’s placement takes into account the proximity to the child’s school of origin.
    • The number of school transfers the child has already experienced.
    • The child’s educational progress.
    • Immunizations and known allergies.
    • All known medical problems.
    • The child’s past health problems and hospitalizations known to the agency.
    • The child’s relevant mental health history.
  • Known mental health conditions and medications.

Additional information to be provided to the caregiver upon placement:

  • Child’s case plan.
  • Child’s family and behavioral background.
  • Any known or suspected dangerous behavior on the part of the child.
  • Child’s transitional independent living plan, when applicable.

Other basic information that should be provided to the caregiver in order to assist the caregiver with meeting the needs of the child:

  • Contact information for the Social Worker.
    • Contact information for the child’s attorney and CASA.
    • Child’s birth certificate or passport.
    • Child’s juvenile court case number.
    • Child’s State Department of Social Services ID number.
    • Medi-Cal number or other health insurance number.
      • Plan outlining the child’s needs and services, including information on the family and sibling visitation.

SOCIAL WORKER: SHARING INFORMATION WITH A FORMER CAREGIVER

The TEAM approach- Nothing prevents a former caregiver from continuing to be part of the family’s support team. Including a former caregiver in the ongoing team permits the social worker to share updates on the child with former caregivers as long as consents to exchange information are kept current.

When a child moves from a caregiver’s home, either to reunify with a parent or to be placed in another foster care placement, the child may desire and benefit from a continued relationship with the former caregiver. Adults in the child’s life should make appropriate efforts to recognize both the importance of the child’s relationship with the former caregiver and the role of the former caregiver from continuing a relationship with the child and/or the child’s family after the placement episode ends.

CAREGIVER: SHARING OF INFORMATION WITH OTHERS

The CDSS regulations permit a caregiver to provide information regarding the child or youth to others in order to secure:

  • Care
  • Supervision
  • Education, UNLESS prohibited by court order.

Additionally, California law expressly permits the caregiver or educational rights holder to provide the contact information for the child’s attorney to the child’s local educational agency.

When deciding what information to share, the caregiver must consider:

  • Does the person who they are sharing the information with have a need to know the information in order to provide care or supervision for the child
  • Is the information confidential and protected by law

Information sharing should be limited to what is needed by the person with whom the information is being shared in order to provide care or supervision for the child.

SOCIAL WORKER: LIMITATIONS ON SHARING OF INFORMATION

The sharing of some information in the possession of the Child Welfare agency is limited and requires specific authorization. Documents that are part of the juvenile case file are permitted to be released only when consistent with W&IC section 827. Unless inspection is permitted under that section, a court order is required to share these documents:

  • CWS Petitions
  • Court Reports
  • Substance Abuse treatment records
  • Certain medical records
  • Delivered Service Logs, etc.
  • The Petition
  • Court Reports
  • Delivered Service Logs, etc.

The following is a list of documents or information that cannot be shared without a court order, OR consent from the affected individual.

Type Information/Record Authorization Needed
WIC 300 Petition and

Court Reports

Court order
Medical or Mental Health treatment where the minor has a right to consent to the care If the minor consents to mental health services or could have consented to such services under Family Code § 6924 or Health & Safety Code §124260, information may be shared only with the signed authorization of the minor or court order
Substance abuse treatment records of the parent Parent’s consent or court order
Substance abuse treatment of the child Child’s consent, child and parental consent, or a court order, depending on the circumstances
HIV antibody test results related to the child Consent of parent or child (if over 12), or court order
Prevention or treatment of pregnancy Child’s consent
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