Parent Chat Line: Privacy and Confidentiality

Diane McGregor, Kitchener, ON

 

At Parenting Now, we would like you to know that we respect your privacy.

On our Parent Chat Line, we will not ask you to share any identifying information, including your name. We will not share any information you provide to us (including anything you say on the chat line) with anyone outside of authorized Parenting Now staff.

Our system does record your IP address. This is a string of numbers separated by periods that identifies the computer you are using to be on the internet.

The Parent Chat Line service is provided via an external website called MyLiveChat.com.

Only project staff have access to our MyLiveChat dashboard and only the Parenting Now Manager can see all conversations that occur, for supervisory, quality control and program development purposes. All user IP addresses are displayed on the Parenting Now private dashboard of MyLiveChat, when they enter the parentingnow.ca website.

LIMITS to Privacy and Confidentiality

While we hold your privacy and confidentiality with deep respect, there are limits to confidentiality that are set by Provincial law and professional practice.

The first is if something you state causes us to be concerned about the physical, sexual, and/or emotional safety of a child.

The Child, Youth and Family Services Act of Ontario (2017) requires that any service provider make a report if they are concerned about the physical, sexual or emotional safety of a child or youth (up to age 18). You can access the Act by clicking here.

This means that if you tell us that you have or plan to harm a child or youth, we are required to alert Family and Children’s Services and provide them with any information you have given us, including your IP address.

For instance, if you tell us that you have punished your child by hitting him with a stick, we would call our local authorities. However, if you tell us that you are feeling overwhelmed and worried that you will punish your child in a hurtful way, we will talk with you and help you develop other strategies.

Other examples might include: If you tell us that there is violence in your home (such as domestic violence), even if the child or youth is not a target of the violence, we are required to report this to Family and Children’s Services. If you tell us your child or youth is being sexually abused or exploited, we are required to report this. If you tell us that your child or youth’s basic needs are being neglected (food, shelter, medical treatment, etc), we are required to report this.

If you live outside of the Waterloo Region, we would attempt to contact the jurisdiction indicated by your I.P. address. We would contact the police in that area and follow their direction.

The second reason that we might break confidentiality happens if you tell us that you are planning suicide or planning to physically harm another person (of any age).

Our Parent Chat Line is not a crisis line and our team of experienced parents are not counsellors. They are neither qualified nor permitted to have conversations with you about these topics. However, they are able to link you to an appropriate support resource. If we are concerned about serious and immediate danger to yourself or someone else, we would contact the local police service and provide what information we have about you.

We know that when these or other equally serious situations are occurring, they are distressing for everyone involved.

It is very difficult to reach out for help in these moments and we have great respect for those who do.  The safety of children, youth, parents and any other person who comes onto our Parent Chat Line is of great importance to us, as is our respect for your privacy.

Breaking confidentiality is a difficult step for anyone to take and we do not take this step lightly. We understand that you might no longer wish to come to our chat line in the event that we are required to break confidentiality, but we sincerely hope that you would. We would love to continue to chat with you about your parenting experiences.

For more information,  please read our Terms of Use Policy and our Privacy Policy.

We are also very interested in your feedback….about this issue or any others that you think of as you are on the parent chat line. Contact us at parentingnow@kwcounselling.com. You can also leave a comment on this post!

Hope to chat soon.



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