Friday, October 4, 2013

Confidentiality In Foster Care

I had the following conversation with a coworker the other day:

Coworker: I learned recently that you can't put pictures of your foster kids on Facebook.
Me:  Correct.  I have a blog post in my draft line up about that very topic.

So here it is.

For anyone chomping at the bit to hear a bunch of details and see cute faces once we begin having placements, don't get your hopes up.  We cannot post any personal information about foster children in our care, including photos and names, anywhere on the internet.  There are several reasons for this:

1.  It's the rule.  We're simply not allowed to, in order to protect the privacy of the child and the child's birth family, who deserves respect, no matter what the situation.

2. We'll be helping these kids deal with some tough issues and bad stuff they've been through.  No way am I going to post all kind of details about their situation and what happened to them. That's just insensitive. Any children that come to our home will have experienced some kind of abuse, neglect, perhaps an alcoholic or drug addicted parent, or other endangerment or trauma, in order to come into care.  That's a given.  But we'll just leave it at that for purposes of internet world.

3. This is their story to tell.  Not ours.

So, if you know us in real life, you will of course know our kids' names, see them in person, and see many cute pictures of them on our phone or camera. For family far away, we'll set up private photo sites online. Our Christmas cards will most definitely include any children in our care at the time. We want you to know our kids and love on our kids.   But we must appropriately protect their privacy during their time in care.  We ask that you would also respect this rule in your own use of social media if you take pictures of, or make mention of, our family.

But, if you only know us through the internet, please don't expect to see pictures, learn names or get the scoop on what our kids have been through.   Don't worry, I'm still going to talk about them on the blog, share happy times as well as struggles, and discuss general day to day issues we face as foster parents.  It will just be with no pictures, no details and with cute but obscure nicknames like Little One, Baby Girl, Lil Man or whatever we come up with.

If and when a child or children are adopted into our family permanently and legally, we can then post pictures, names and news about them on the internet as we wish.  But until that day, confidentiality is the name of the game.

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