Confidentiality Agreement for Safe Refuge for Children + Families’ Volunteers
We recognize and value the right of confidentiality of all the families we serve. Please carefully review the following guiding confidentiality principles for our volunteer-supported organization.
What is Confidentiality?
Confidentiality is the protection of personal information. It is ensuring that information is accessible and only shared with those authorized. Confidential information includes what is discussed in person or on the telephone, in emails and via all electronic communications and social media, and in hard copy.
Authorized persons include Safe Refuge staff, the hosted child(ren)’s parents, and school/medical staff if applicable to the hosting.
Confidentiality applies to the information included in Hosting Opportunity emails, Newsletters, quarterly updates, any information communicated from the Safe Refuge staff.
The parents of your Safe Refuge hosting are going through a crisis. Their story is theirs to tell and not ours. The guiding principle is to protect the personal information and challenges of the child/family you are serving as you would protect your own personal information.
If a situation occurs where you are asked about your hosting and you are not sure if it is appropriate, please contact the Safe Refuge staff (Family Coach Supervisor or contact our office) before sharing the information.
What if someone asks me about the child(ren) we are hosting?
- We recommend being very brief and general in your replies.
For example, “Their mom just needs a break and we’re supporting the family by taking care of the kid(s) for a short while. We’re volunteering through this program called Safe Refuge.”
What about sharing on Social Media/Blogs/Emails?
- While social media may be a useful tool to share updates with friends and family, we ask that our volunteers not share any identifying information through social media. This includes any information on their race, ethnicity, age, where they live, etc. You may include general non-identifying posts like, “We are hosting a child this week, please pray for our family.”
- In order to protect our bio families’ privacy, please refrain from looking up the bio families’ names or information on social media.
- If you have any questions on posting on social media, please contact the Safe Refuge staff.
What if a child(ren) I am hosting needs to go to the doctor or has a medical appointment?
- If a non-emergency medical appointment is needed, consult with your Family Coach Supervisor before starting that process and discuss confidentiality in that setting.
What if a child(ren) I am hosting needs to be enrolled in school?
- If school enrollment is needed, consult with your Family Coach Supervisor before starting that process and discuss confidentiality in that setting.
- Present yourself to school staff as being a caretaker for the kids. Be very general with any details. Unless the child has an IEP in place or has special needs, we should be general to school staff and families and not give many details.
What about sharing with family members or extended church families?
- Please remember that all the information provided to you is confidential. While prayer is a powerful tool to use and you are encouraged to use it, be mindful of the confidentiality of your hosting and their biological family. Generalize requests as much as possible or just simply say, “things are rough right now, please pray.”
What about communication after the hosting ends?
- Once a hosted child(ren) leaves your care, you have no legal involvement with the child. Often, the families we are able to serve will seek additional help with hostings in the future. There are times when the families will reach out directly to their former host families for help. If that occurs, please redirect them to our office so that we could officially arrange any future hostings. There are times we may be aware of important changes that occurred during or after the hosting. For your own protection and safety please adhere to hostings through Safe Refuge for Children and Families only.
- That does not mean that you cannot communicate with the family of the child(ren) you hosted or receive updates on them. If the parent indicates they would like to stay in contact with your family, as appropriate, you may be able to. However, after a hosting ends, if the biological parents do not express interest it should be respected. Often our families are under a great amount of stress and are not in a place to reach out. However, if you have any updates on one of our families, please reach out to the Safe Refuge staff and let us know.
- If you would like an update on a child you previously hosted, the Safe Refuge staff can provide you an update if we are aware of any.