Confidentiality: Respecting the Privacy of All Families — Learning Links
These resources are intended as a starting point to learn more about respecting the privacy of all families, and confidentiality. Some resources may require a subscription or have restricted access due to a publisher paywall. You will need a PDF viewer for some of the resources – download Adobe Reader here.
Ethics and personal-professional principles:
- The Division for Early Childhood Code of Ethics (PDF)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children Position Statements on Ethical Conduct
- Code of Ethics, National Afterschool Association (PDF)
Legal considerations and confidentiality:
- Caring for Our Children – As a collaborator with the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW), administered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the NRC manages the updating of the Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition (CFOC3) standards. CFOC3 is a collection of 686 national standards that represent the best evidence, expertise, and experience in the country on quality health and safety practices and policies that should be followed in today’s early care and education settings. For information on confidentiality please see Standard 188.8.131.52: Written Policy on Confidentiality of Records.
- Federal and State laws and regulations such as IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Family Education and Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as Maine Child Care Licensing Regulations hold child care professionals legally accountable for maintaining family privacy.
- Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) – The U.S. Department of Education established the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) as a “one-stop” resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems and other uses of student data. PTAC provides timely information and updated guidance on privacy, confidentiality, and security practices through a variety of resources, including training materials and opportunities to receive direct assistance with privacy, security, and confidentiality of student data systems.
- Student Privacy 101: FERPA for Parents and Students – Ever have questions about your rights regarding education records? This 4-minute video highlights the key points of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Exceptions to the rule about sharing information:
- “Need to know” situations exist that can be shared whether or not parental permission has been obtained, such as in cases of:
- Child abuse — If the child care professional has a reasonable concern that a child may be neglected or abused, as a mandated reporter, the professional is required by law to report this to the proper authorities. Child care licensing rules state how and where to report suspected child abuse and neglect. In Maine, contact Child Abuse Reporting.
- Health conditions that are notifiable (refers to any communicable disease, occupational disease, or environmental disease, the occurrence or suspected occurrence of which is required to be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to Maine’s Disease Reporting Rules) — the director or designee must notify their public health department. In Maine, notify the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ME CDC). Staff and families should also be told about the illness but without disclosing the identity of the ill person. For a list of Maine’s Notifiable Conditions see Rules for the Control of Notifiable Conditions, Chapter 2(J).
- 3 Easy Ways to Meet a Parent’s Privacy Expectations – this article is based on a chapter in Managing Legal Risks in Early Childhood Programs: How to Prevent Flare-Ups from Becoming Lawsuits by Tom Copeland and Holly Elissa Bruno.
- ACF Confidentiality Toolkit (129 pg. PDF) — The Administration for Children and Families have published their ACF Confidentiality Toolkit (129 pg. PDF). The goal of the toolkit is to help state and local efforts understand how and when it is appropriate to share information about a family or individual, in order to provide more effective services, in ways consistent with confidentiality laws and requirements.
- Confidentiality and Information Sharing Guidelines for Early Childhood (PDF) — Access and privacy information recommendations from Toronto Best Start.
- Confidentiality – This online workshop/presentation on confidentiality is designed to meet federal requirements for staff training while increasing staff awareness of their responsibilities regarding privacy of student records.
- Data Privacy and Confidentiality Info Module Center for Inclusive Child Care — These free short Info Modules are designed to provide an overview on various topics around disabilities and inclusion. Developed in Minnesota, some information reflects Minnesota state laws/regulations.
- Maintaining Confidentiality in Child Care Ces (PDF) — Health and safety notes from the California Childcare Health Program.
- Understanding the Confidentiality Requirements Applicable to IDEA Early Childhood Programs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – October 2016 (PDF): The purpose of this document is to assist early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—Part B section 611 (Grants to States), Part B section 619 (Preschool Grants), and Part C (Grants for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities)—with addressing privacy and confidentiality questions.
- The Use of Technology to Support Early Childhood Practice: Protecting Child, Parent, and Practitioner Privacy (PDF) – This research-to-practice brief, from the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, presents some best practices that can guide early childhood programs in evaluating the use of online services to support practitioners in their work with children and families.
- Written Policy on Confidentiality of Records – Standard 184.108.40.206 of Caring for Our Children 3 (CFOC3) Chapter 9: Administration.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not and does not take the place of legal advice for any specific situation nor is it offered as such.