Information Sharing Guide

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Indiana Court Times on 05/30/2017 by Court Times

Mobile app provides guidance on sharing children’s records

Do you know how to obtain children’s educational, court, or health records? Do you know under what circumstances you can share these records with others? There is a mobile app to help you with these complex questions: the Information Sharing Guide.

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children’s Data Sharing and Mapping Committee asked these and other questions in a 2015 survey to child welfare stakeholders. Most participants agreed on the need to obtain information on children in order to gain a full understanding of the child and to allow them to meet the needs of children and families.

However, many participants lacked a clear understanding about confidentiality laws such as “HIPAA” (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and “FERPA” (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). When may they share information with other entities who are working with the same children and families? When may they only share information after obtaining a release or a court order?

Many survey participants reported that they seek to obtain, or share, information based on existing relationships. They more often share information if they have a regular working relationship rather than based on a solid understanding of the law. Unless there is an existing relationship, there are usually delays that create less-informed decision-making and other results detrimental to children and families.

Because of these challenges, the Data Sharing and Mapping Committee gathered a group of subject matter experts to develop an Information Sharing Guide, or ISG, to assist various agencies and individuals who need to obtain or share records about children.