I'm so irked (my privacy was violated) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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TWICE today my fd's caseworker gave my last name via email to fd's bio family. TWICE. And, to really just irk me, the 2nd time, she forwarded the bio family an email that included a series of emails about how I would prefer she bcc me, I didn't want her to have my last name, I didn't know her, just in case, blah blah blah.

Is there not a right to privacy in this???
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#2 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Ugh. Ugh. I have had stuff like that happen to me when it was so super inappropriate for last names to be shared. It gets me everytime. I feel upset for you.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#3 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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Yknow, i had assumed that a FPs last name would be kept private (cuz if they have your name, they can get online and find out every other detail about your life including your address)...so was surprised that my agency has everyone sign in for visitation, so there is my name right on the same sheet as bio parents. I suppose had i been thinking i could have used a last name initial but i didnt think about it at the time. i'm not worried at all w/ these particular parents but still, i think its something they should revise.

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#4 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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I can understand forgetting to BCC especially if you're not used to to doing it. But passing on a communication just between you and the SW, to the third party? Um...time to go up the chain of command to the supervisor, IMO. That's unprofessional and unethical. If you saw that, then I'd forward that last email to the supervisor.

I don't really worry all that much about people having my first and last name. I've been a corrections officer, and the inmates all knew my first and last name so really if I wasn't concerned about that I can't say that worrying about folks with their kids in care was on my radar.

I might consider getting a new, separate email just for this agency, that way your real email isn't exposed to spamming, ect. I do that for bulletin board subscriptions, shopping, ect. Or if that would be too much of a pain, I'd see about getting a new alias for your private email.
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#5 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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We were told that bio parents have the right to know our names and addresses, unless, for some reason the child needed to be protected beyond the obvious. Not to mention it's on all the court paperwork and such.
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#6 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My info isn't on any court paperwork, we're listed as the "placement."

I forwarded everything to my licensing worker... I'll give her a day or two to respond appropriately, but otherwise I'll be forwarding it all to the case workers supervisor w/ a letter expressing my disappointment at their lack of professionalism...
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#7 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I don't really worry all that much about people having my first and last name. I've been a corrections officer, and the inmates all knew my first and last name so really if I wasn't concerned about that I can't say that worrying about folks with their kids in care was on my radar.
I think that's different. As a foster parent, you have this person's kid. In many cases, this person desperately wants the kid back. Not terribly infrequently, there is a history of violence or a propensity toward irrational or desperate behavior. There can be drugs and alcohol involved too, which of course precludes rational behavior in and of itself. The situation is super volatile. All kinds of issues could arise.

I'd be way more comfortable as a corrections officer having my full name shared with inmates than I am as a foster parent having my full name shared with the families of the kids in my care.

The suggestion of contacting the supervisor about the email being forwarded that included your private communications with the social worker is a good suggestion.

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#8 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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We were told that bio parents have the right to know our names and addresses, unless, for some reason the child needed to be protected beyond the obvious. Not to mention it's on all the court paperwork and such.
I am aware that in a minority of states, this is the general practice. I know that in a few states, foster parents are even required (as a general rule) to open their homes to visitations.

I'm an experienced foster mom who has had wonderful and very open relationships with families of kids in my care. With older kids, the kids know your last name anyway and most wouldn't hesitate to share it with their parents. I still wouldn't be comfortable in a state where that was the *standard.* I just wouldn't feel comfortable, especially given that I have "my own" wee ones here.

Oh, and where I come from, names are redacted from court paperwork when given to either foster parents or the child's parents (even if both are present in court and are being called by the judge for various purposes...in which case the redacted paperwork seems like more of a formality than anything).

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My info isn't on any court paperwork, we're listed as the "placement."

I forwarded everything to my licensing worker... I'll give her a day or two to respond appropriately, but otherwise I'll be forwarding it all to the case workers supervisor w/ a letter expressing my disappointment at their lack of professionalism...
Well handled!

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#9 of 18 Old 09-22-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tynme View Post
We were told that bio parents have the right to know our names and addresses, unless, for some reason the child needed to be protected beyond the obvious. Not to mention it's on all the court paperwork and such.
Many states are like that. Maybe not addresess but names are not considered to be private unless there is a legimate safety concern in the specific case.
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#10 of 18 Old 09-23-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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I can understand forgetting to BCC especially if you're not used to to doing it. But passing on a communication just between you and the SW, to the third party? Um...time to go up the chain of command to the supervisor, IMO. That's unprofessional and unethical. If you saw that, then I'd forward that last email to the supervisor.
I second this. That was unbelievably unprofessional. I would contact a supervisor and type up a report/incident outline to provide to the agency, maybe cc the main supervisor. Unless you specifically said it's okay to share, they had no right. Esp the former e-mails you sent. Oooohhh...that makes me so mad.

We recently moved and I specifically made it clear to the sw that she doesn't have my consent to share my new information with the family. When we moved, I made sure our phone/address info is unlisted and have protected it fiercely. There's a huge safety risk with one of the parents in our case, and I don't trust that knowledge being released. I would be furious if they did.

I'd sit down, type yourself up a nice outline, unemotional, and state clearly that this was a violation of your privacy and you had not given your consent. Send that on to the supervisor. Oooohhhh....

 

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#11 of 18 Old 09-23-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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Sorry. Just read further and saw that you have contacted the case worker.

 

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#12 of 18 Old 09-23-2009, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I contacted our licensing worker, and she basically said "Oh, that sucks, I'm sorry."

So, this is on me. I've put in a call to the supervisor, just waiting for a response now.
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#13 of 18 Old 09-24-2009, 10:31 PM
 
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I don't blame you for wanting your privacy protected. I've been stalked by birthparents before. No fun.

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#14 of 18 Old 09-26-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
I think that's different. As a foster parent, you have this person's kid. In many cases, this person desperately wants the kid back. Not terribly infrequently, there is a history of violence or a propensity toward irrational or desperate behavior. There can be drugs and alcohol involved too, which of course precludes rational behavior in and of itself. The situation is super volatile. All kinds of issues could arise.

I'd be way more comfortable as a corrections officer having my full name shared with inmates than I am as a foster parent having my full name shared with the families of the kids in my care.
Have you been a corrections officer? I've been both.

The women in my facility were often mentally ill, most were heavily involved in drugs, many were involved in fraud (especially ID theft). Part of the daily routine of being a corrections officer is having people directly threaten harm to your person and your family--not only from the inmates but on many occasions by stressed out family and friends. I would say that 99 percent of the women had kids, and frequently their illness, rage, and grief had no outlet except to direct it at staff. In addition, I lived in the community where most of the people that were inmates were from. Which means that I did indeed see many former inmates and family members I recognized in the community out and about.

So we'll have to agree to disagree that all kinds of issues can't and don't arise in a correctional situation as opposed to a foster care situation. I find the level of "reasons why someone would be out to get you" comparable.

I understand why someone would feel discomfort and privacy violation--but in my opinion there are some jobs you take that involve more risk. Any time you are going to put yourself in the path of disturbed individuals and get involved in their families, you assume risk. Though certainly agencies should be VERY CLEAR before involvement what information will be shared with whom, so people can make an informed decision.

As I stated, I think the violation in the OP is the forwarding of a private email without permission. I sincerely doubt that *that* is agency policy, while sharing names may very well be. But again, I think it's unethical for any agency to not make sure their foster parents 100 percent understand that it can happen.
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#15 of 18 Old 09-27-2009, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Agency policy is not to share foster parent names (1st or last) at all, not without their direct permission.

In this case, caseworker played stupid. Actually sent me an email saying that she checked the 2nd email to verify that it was the anonymous email before she sent it to us both... and then the next day told me she couldn't understand why I was so angry, because she only cc'd her the 1st email, and not a 2nd one.

It is definitley against policy. But now I'm just really irked that she wouldn't own up to her mistake.
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#16 of 18 Old 09-27-2009, 02:06 AM
 
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Have you contacted her superior? Because if the initial sharing is a policy violation, then she did the forwarding, and now is playing ignorant of standing rules--that's pretty serious. Especially if she's blowing it off now, instead of really understanding WHY you are upset or acknowledging it!

Unless maybe her supervisor won't give a rip. I have run into those too, though I've been lucky and it hasn't been often.

ETA: Doh, I missed the post where you said you had moved up the chain. I really hope that the supervisor is a good one. Not that it can take away the privacy slip up, but that hopefully it'll make an impression that it shouldn't happen again to the worker. IME, if someone is careless and clueless like that, it's probably not the first time it's happened.
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#17 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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Have you been a corrections officer? I've been both.
You are right that I can't make an accurate assessment of how I would feel as a corrections officer unless in those shoes.

I do have experience working professionally with folks in highly volatile settings, but I don't have experience specifically as a corrections officer. I'm sorry to have "spoken" without giving that due consideration. I hereby retract the sense of confidence in my statement comparing what my concerns would be in the two experiences: foster parenting and working as a corrections officer. I can't know for sure how I'd respond unless I am there.

I will agree to disagree with you, though, because while I expected and understand that there are threats made in both cases, by a variety of people (including friends and families), the likelihood of someone seeking you out outside of the setting/professionally-made contact and following through with threats is diminished as personal stakes are lowered. I still would argue that personal stakes are arguably at their highest for many folks in many circumstances when you have someone's kid in your care at that very moment. Threats are often and at least partially posturing, both in foster care and in prison.

It would actually be very interesting to look at statistics (if there are any) on crimes committed against corrections officers that could not/would not have taken place if their full names hadn't been shared with folks in correctional facilities. It would be equally interesting to look at statistics (if there are any) on crimes committed against foster parents or crimes in which the foster family was placed in danger while parents, friends, or relatives of the child sought to, for example, retrieve the child...and to find out how many of those could have been prevented by non-disclosure of names.

All that said, mran, I remain upset over this for and with you. It hits home. I'm glad you aren't letting this go, and I hope to hear some resolution.

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#18 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 01:48 AM
 
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It would actually be very interesting to look at statistics (if there are any) on crimes committed against corrections officers that could not/would not have taken place if their full names hadn't been shared with folks in correctional facilities. It would be equally interesting to look at statistics (if there are any) on crimes committed against foster parents or crimes in which the foster family was placed in danger while parents, friends, or relatives of the child sought to, for example, retrieve the child...and to find out how many of those could have been prevented by non-disclosure of names.
I agree that it would be interesting--the problem is, as we've even learned in this thread, policies on name disclosure can vary from state to state, and even county to county (or in the case of correctional institutions, institution to institution). You also have the variables of how likely it is that people will encounter each other in the community (I would say the majority of correctional institutions do not have that problem since they're somewhat consolidated, my jail was somewhat of an exception for a variety of reasons--it was more comparable to a city jail. There's also the factor of violently experessed mental illness (I would say you're more likely to come across that in a correctional institution, while in foster care there's a wider variety of parents who get children removed--it could be anything from needing to clean up squalor to attempted murder, way bigger spectrum there). And then there's the factor of how much privacy the target engages in on a regular basis. (Do they have a listed phone number? Do they have a private family-and-friends only email vs. one that they used for everything? Do they have a highly identifying handle on the net and do they post enough detailed information to make IDing them easier? How easy would it be to get their license plate--this can be a concern with smaller corrections facilities in some states, as it may be very easy for the public to get an address from a license plate...I had that happen to me as a CO.)

I don't think that it would be really possible to have a pissing contest about who's more in danger, to be honest. I would say anyone in ANY job (let me throw in mental health workers in here too, I know of MANY MANY mental health paraprofessionals and counselors who have been attacked, threatened, and/or stalked by clients) who has contact with people in crisis and a history of violence or substance abuse has the potential of taking on great personal and family risk--*depending*. Depending on the client, the family, the situation. Anectdotally, I was NEVER harrassed or stalked as a foster parent (admittedly, I was only an emergency care provider though). I received a skull fracture being attacked on the job in corrections, received unwanted mail at my apartment in corrections, and was stalked as a volunteer homeless outreach person. And I have heard secondhand incidents of the reverse happening--foster parents internet stalking the birth parents for whatever reason, without good intentions or just to get gossip material (take it with a grain of salt though, it IS secondhand info on those, I don't know anyone personally who has ever done that). The only way I could see to possible guarantee protection would be to set up a double-blind system, and I don't think that is ethical, truly, or practical--and a lot of people shoot themselves in the foot with not being careful with their information in the first place, albeit in ignorance.
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