Our Policies & Procedures
It is the policy of YouthNet to protect the confidentiality of its participants and their families. With the exception of the limitations listed below, program staff will only share information about mentors, mentees, and their families with other YouthNet professional staff and the Board of Directors. Further, all prospective mentors, mentees, parents/guardians and guidance counsellors/school staff should be informed of the scope and limitations of confidentiality by program staff.
Additionally, mentors are required to keep information about their mentee and his/her family confidential.
In order for YouthNet to provide a responsible and professional service to participants, it may be necessary to ask mentors, mentees, parents/guardians, guidance counsellors, and other outside sources to divulge extensive personal information about the prospective participants and their families, including:
- Information gained from mentors and mentees, written or otherwise, about themselves and/or their families, in application to and during program participation.
- Information gained about participants from outside sources including confidential references, school staff and employers.
Records are, therefore, considered the property of YouthNet, not YouthNet staff, and are not available for review by mentors, mentees, or parents/guardians.
Limits of Confidentiality
Information from mentor and mentee records may be shared with individuals or organizations as specified below under the following conditions:
- Information may be gathered about program participants and shared with other participants, individuals, or organizations only upon receipt of signed release forms from mentors, mentees, or parents/guardians/guidance counsellors.
- Identifying information (including names, photographs, videos, etc.) of program participants may be used in YouthNet publications or promotional materials only upon written consent of the mentor, mentee, and/or parent/guardian/guidance counsellors.
- Members of the Board of Directors have access to participant files at any time. Such members shall be required to comply with YouthNet’s’s Confidentiality Policy and may use the information only for purposes stated by the approved action of the Board of Directors. Known violations shall be reported to the Board chairman. A violation of YouthNet’s Confidentiality Policy by a Board member shall constitute adequate cause for removal from the Board.
- Information may only be provided to law enforcement officials or the courts pursuant to a valid and enforceable subpoena.
- Information may be provided to legal counsel in the event of litigation or potential litigation involving YouthNet. Such information is considered privileged information, and its confidentiality is protected by law.
- Program staff and volunteers are mandatory reporters and as such must disclose information indicating that a mentor or mentee may be dangerous to or intends to harm him/herself or others.
- If program staff receive information at any point in the match process that a volunteer is using illegal substances, there is a criminal history of any kind, or is inappropriately using alcohol or other controlled substances, they will have the option to reject the prospective mentor or close the existing match and will notify the guidance counsellor of their decision.
- At the time a mentor or mentee is considered as a match candidate, information is shared between the prospective match parties. The information to be shared may include:
- Mentors: age, gender, race, religion, interests, hobbies, employment, marriage or family status, living situation, reasons for applying to the program, and a summary of why the individual was chosen for the particular match. Results of driving records and criminal histories may also be shared.
- Mentees: age, gender, race, religion, interests, hobbies, family situation, living situation, a summary of the client needs assessment, and expectations for match participation.
Safekeeping of Confidential Records
The Executive Director is considered the custodian of confidential records. It is his/her responsibility to supervise the management of confidential information in order to ensure safekeeping, accuracy, accountability and compliance with Board policies.
Requesting Confidential Information from Other Agencies
A mentee’s or volunteer’s right to privacy shall be respected by YouthNet. Requests for confidential information from other organizations or persons shall be accompanied by a signed release from the mentor, mentee, and/or parent/guardian/guidance counsellors.
Violations of Confidentiality
A known violation of YouthNet’s confidentiality policy by a program participant may result in a written warning or disciplinary action such as suspension or termination from the program.