BC Counsellor - Spring/Summer 2015 - (Page 17)
It is time for BC Counsellors to begin a provincial discussion about case notes.
A quick look at the listserve (see BCSchoolCounsellor.com) shows that each
district, and perhaps even each school within a district, has different protocols
regarding notes. Questions about information and files abound with little agreement provincially, yet it is the counsellor caught in the ethical dilemma of notes.
While the following comments should not be considered as provincial protocols,
they do serve to open conversation.
Less is More
Information collected regarding a student in the school system is
protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (FOIPPA), but remains property of the School District. Notes made
about a student that become part of a counselling file are not confidential
to the counsellor but belong to the School District. This applies to both
paper and electronic files. While counselling conversations may remain
confidential to the participants, records of those conversations are subject
to subpoena and requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Situations Do Not Need
Of course, that opens the question
about knowing that it is a one-time situation, but each individual student visit to
the counsellor's office does not necessitate opening a file. It may be prudent
to keep a log of visitors, though.
Ongoing counselling notes should include sufficient
information to allow monitoring and evaluation of services
and timelines by the counsellor. Case files include consultations and referrals made on behalf of the student and
relevant details to support student needs. Notes that may
be seen by an outside party - such as the student's parent
- can make the student vulnerable if the notes are accessed,
especially if the student has been receiving counselling
about an issue that is divisive within the family.
Think Before You Write
Write your notes with the expectation that someone else will read
them with a critical eye. Case notes
are not a place for counsellor's to
theorize, but a source of useful
facts. Judgemental statements
do not belong in case notes.
Know the Rules and
Have a discussion with other counsellors in your School District to clarify
district protocols regarding counselling
notes. Ask questions about storage and
access. Write the editor of this magazine
at firstname.lastname@example.org with your
thoughts on case notes and join the
provincial discussion on the BC School
Reference: Martin, Lorna. (2007). Record Keeping and Note Taking for School Counsellors. hwww.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/specedu/guidance/
BC Counsellor | Spring/Summer 2015 | www.bcschoolcounsellor.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Spring/Summer 2015
The Fine Print
The Savvy Social Media School Counsellor
Education, Travel or Work?
The Role of School Counsellor
5 Tips for Keeping Notes
Index to Advertisers
BC Counsellor - Spring/Summer 2015