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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET ABOUT YOUNG CHILDREN 31 Protect Confidentiality As a teacher of young children, you will have access to a great deal of informa- tion about the children and their families. That information helps you care for the children and be consistent with and knowledgeable about the children’s home environments. But the information comes with responsibility. Professionals like you are responsible for keeping information about children and their families confidential. You should share information with other professionals in your program only when needed to provide consistent, high-quality care for the children. While your intentions may be good, you should generally avoid sharing information about a child or a family with anyone outside of that family, and you should consider doing so only after consulting your director for guidance. Sharing information unnecessarily with other families, other staff members, or friends is unprofessional and is engaging in gossip. The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct provides guidance on confidential- ity with the following principle: We shall maintain confidentiality and shall respect the family’s right to pri- vacy, refraining from disclosure of confidential information and intrusion into family life. However, when we have reason to believe that a child’s welfare is at risk, it is permissible to share confidential information with agencies, as well as with individuals who have legal responsibility for intervening in the child’s interest. (NAEYC 2011) This principle extends to situations in which two or more families share custody of a child. Each family is entitled to privacy and confidentiality of the information it shares with the program. And each family has the right to expect open sharing of information about the child. As the child’s teacher, your role is to support the child and to remain impartial if families are in con- flict. Your director can provide helpful guidance when conflicts between fam- ilies occur in your classroom. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL