(Protection, Use, and Release of Personal Information)

Rehabilitation Services (RS) will safeguard the confidentiality of all personal information, including photographs and lists of names. All applicants and eligible individuals and, as appropriate, those individuals' representatives, service providers, cooperating agencies, and interested persons are informed through appropriate modes of communication of the confidentiality of personal information and the conditions for accessing and releasing this information.

All applicants or their representatives are informed about the RS need to collect personal information and the policies governing its use, including:

  1. Identification of the authority under which information is collected.
  2. Explanation of the principal purposes for which RS intends to use or release the information.
  3. Explanation of whether providing requested information to RS is mandatory or voluntary and the effects of not providing requested information.
  4. Identification of those situations in which RS requires or does not require informed written consent of the individual before information may be released.
  5. Identification of other entities to which information is routinely released.

An explanation of policies and procedures affecting personal information will be provided to each individual in that individual's native language or through the appropriate mode of communication.

The requirements listed above are met using the RS Handbook of Services.

Release to other programs in the Department for Children and Families (DCF)

RS staff may release client information without a signed release from the client to other programs within DCF on a need-to-know basis. A signed release is not necessary within DCF since all programs are part of the same state agency.

RS staff may release information without a signed release from the client to DCF contractors and service providers on a need-to-know basis. Contracts include assurances that the contractors, who are acting on behalf of RS and DCF, will use the information appropriately and maintain confidentiality standards.

If RS has obtained personal information about a client from another agency, provider or organization, such information may be released within DCF on a need-to-know basis. Restrictions on further release do not apply within DCF since all programs are part of the same state agency.

In analyzing "need-to-know", counselors shall consider whether entire reports or summary documents should be released, and whether the information is necessary for the purposes of the requesting program.

Release to programs outside of DCF

When programs outside of DCF which are not contractors of DCF request personal information, informed written consent of the client is required. Upon receiving the informed written consent of the individual or, if appropriate, the individual's representative, RS may release personal information to another agency or organization for its program purposes only to the extent that the information may be released to the involved individual or the individual's representative and only to the extent that the other agency or organization demonstrates that the information requested is necessary for its program.

Release to the Client Assistance Program

Informed written consent is required.

Requirements for release forms

See Section 8 /Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10 for copies of release of information forms approved by RS. RS staff may also accept release of information forms from other organizations. Whether using RS forms or forms provided by other organizations, the following informed written consent requirements must be met:

Release to applicants and eligible individuals

If requested in writing by an applicant or eligible individual, RS shall release all requested information in that individual's record of services to the individual or the individual's representative in a timely manner. Release may occur by making the record of services available to the individual to view, or by providing copies of information in the record of services, according to the individual's informed choice. There are two exceptions:


  1. Release of information that may be harmful to the individual

  2. Further release of information that has been obtained from another agency or organization

Fees for copies provided by RS

RS may establish reasonable fees to cover extraordinary costs of duplicating records or making extensive searches. Questions on current fees should be directed to the Central Office Fiscal Officer.

Amending the record of services

An applicant or eligible individual who believes that information in the individual's record of services is inaccurate or misleading may request that RS amend the information. If the information is not amended, the request for an amendment must be documented in the record of services.

Release to authorities

Informed written consent (a signed release of information form) is not required in the following circumstances:

State Program Use

All personal information in the possession of RS must be used only for the purposes directly connected with the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program. Information containing identifiable personal information may not be shared with advisory or other bodies that do not have official responsibility for administration of the program.

Release for audit, evaluation, and research

Personal information may be released to an organization, agency, or individual engaged in audit, evaluation, or research only for purposes directly connected with the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program, or for purposes that would significantly improve the quality of life for applicants and eligible individuals and only if the organization, agency, or individual assures that:

Information in this Part is based on ยง361.38 and DCF guidance.


Effective Date: April 26, 2005