In line with the Australian Privacy Principles, Skills for Kids outlines its information handling policy as follows:
Information COLLECTION AND HOLDING
Skills for Kids aims to collect information in a useful, fair, lawful and non-intrusive manner. On referral, we ask permission from parents to collect information about their child. This information is used to identify and facilitate the appropriate therapy services. As part of the assessment process, information is collected through observation of children’s performance as well as through teacher and parent questionnaires, discussion, and reports from other professionals. Information held may also include clinical session notes, emails, transcripts of telephone conversations and child work samples. With parent permission, video and audio information of children’s performance for assessment or intervention purposes is also held. By law, we hold useful information electronically or in hard copy for 7 years after discharge or until the child is 25 years, whichever is the longer.
Information USE AND DISCLOSURE
All information gathered is used or disclosed solely for the original purpose of collection: to facilitate best practice service provision for a child. We request permission from parents to share written and verbal information with others to support a collaborative and seamless partnership between therapy, home and preschool / school and to enable children to generalise learnt skills into the ‘real world’ context of classroom / playground / community. When children are using Medicare Plans or Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) it is mandatory that initial and follow-up written reports are forwarded to the family doctor or to Medicare Local. By law, we are required to disclose information without parent permission in exceptional circumstances. These may include evidence of child abuse, issue of a court order, location of a missing person or prevention of serious and imminent threat to a person’s health or welfare. No personal information is disclosed to overseas persons or agencies. There is no secondary use of information for advertising or research purposes, unless otherwise negotiated. Sometimes numerical data is required by Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) or Better Start Initiative (BSI) or requested by professionals undertaking research. This data, which has no identifying information, may include the number of children with a particular diagnosis, the number of sessions provided, the type of therapy provided etc.
Skills for Kids takes all reasonable care to ensure that the personal information we collect or disclose is accurate, complete and current. We request parents advise us if personal information we are holding is inaccurate, out of date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading. Parents have a responsibility to provide us with updated information.
All files are confidential with access limited to therapists and where necessary clerical staff for administrative purposes. Skills for Kids staff have been instructed on the principles of the Privacy Legislation and are committed to protecting privacy rights. Information is regularly back up on external storage systems.
This document is available on our website www.skillsforkids.com.au and is posted in our clinic Reception area.
Parents can request a copy of information about their child generated by Skills for Kids. From the age of 18 years, young people can request a copy of information about themselves. Requests to access information should be made to the Director, Dr Susan Lowe. Information about children who are ‘Under the Care of The Minister’ can only be provided with permission from the child’s caseworker. Information cannot be provided in the case of Medico Legal assessments.
Skills for Kids does not use or disclose an identifier that has been assigned by a Commonwealth government ‘agency’ i.e. Tax File Number, Medicare Number.
Parents may choose to withhold information about their child, or for themselves and their child to attend anonymously or with pseudonyms, with the understanding that this will probably jeopardise the quality of provided service.
As Skills for Kids provides health and education related services, it is sometimes necessary to collect sensitive information from clients. Permission is sought from clients on referral to collect and disclose such information.
BREACH OF PRINCIPLES
If you believe that Skills for Kids has breached any of the above principles please advise the Director, Dr Susan Lowe, in writing. The information you provide will then be handled through formal procedures. If you are not satisfied with the way I work to resolve the breach you may contact
• Officer of the Australian Information Commissioner. W: www.oaic.gov.au T: 1300 363 992
• Occupational Therapy Australia W: www.otaus.com.au
• Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) W: www.ahpra.gov.au
The possible outcomes include an apology, change to Skills for Kids’ policies and procedures, staff training or compensation for financial or non-financial loss.
If you require any further information, please contact Dr Susan Lowe on 02 4739 0267.