I am a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers , and am guided by professional requirements for both privacy and record keeping.
That means that your records belong to you, and you can see what I have written, on request.
I am required to keep basic records for seven years, in a secure, confidential manner. I do this by keeping:
- individual password protected electronic files for each family or person I work with
- locked filing cabinets for any paper copies of files
If I give copies of my notes to you it is up to you to keep these secure. This is also true if you decide to copy and store electronic messages on your computer.
It is important to remember that regular email is not secure. Email accounts can be breached and for this reason, we will use email only for setting and confirming appointment times. If we choose to discuss other matters by email, we will agree beforehand.
In some situations, we may decide that information should be shared with other people. We make that choice together, and would work on the format and content of shared information.
You may want other people (such as doctors, or teachers) to give me information about you. I would need verbal confirmation from you, or a signed consent form that gives that person permission from you, before I would accept the information.
Finally, in situations where there is a serious safety risk to you or a member of your family or close circle, I am obliged professionally and personally to do everything I can to get support from others to reduce that risk. This may mean calling for help from child protection services, medical doctors, or police, depending on the risk. If this happens, I would share only as much information as is needed to protect you or your family from danger.
This step is only taken when there truly appears to be no other safe action available.
In rare instances, a court order would require me to share what is written down in my records, and I would have to cooperate.
If you have any other questions about your privacy when working with me, please ask.
- You have the right to see your file at any time. I do not charge a fee for you to see your file.
- You have the right to ask me questions about my thinking, my questions or my actions in our work together.
- You have the right to ask me about my training and qualifications, and to know how I am professionally supervised and supported.
- You have the right to regular evaluation of our work together.
- You have the right to complain, if you feel that my conduct (or the conduct of any helping profession) is inappropriate.
You can visit the Ontario College of Social Workers at www.ocswssw.org for more information on the complaints process.