Can the Department of Human Services be sued for breaching confidentiality?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can the Department of Human Services be sued for breaching confidentiality?

My husband and I were attempting to adopt 2 girls in foster care. Another couple, whom we know personally, also wanted the girls. I was concerned about the form of punishment the other couple used and how the girls might react. I sent an email to the social worker and her supervisor about this. The social worker went to the other couple and told them what was said and that I said it. I know this for a fact because the mother of the other lady called me and asked if I had said it. She used the exact wording I used in my email.

Asked on July 18, 2018 under Personal Injury, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are assuming that what you said was confidential--it was not, unless they promised confidentiality before you sent them the email. People assume that anything sent from A to B is automatically confidential, but that is not the case; there must be an agreement as to confidentiality prior to the disclosure or communication. Without such a promise or agreement, anything you send may be freely shared.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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