Confidentiality Works Best When Dealing With Family Matters, Say Family Counsellors In Ministry Of Social Development

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 06, 2021 (SKNIS): Social work is often a very sensitive matter particularly when it comes to interacting with individuals, especially at-risk persons or families in crisis.

An essential quality for successful interventions by social workers is confidentiality. It is key for all engagements undertaken by Family Counsellors attached to the Counselling Unit within the Ministry of Social Development.

The counsellors are piloting a United States Agency for International Development USAID)-funded programme called Family Matters. The programme aims to enable families to protect youth from various risk factors such as crime and violence in order to enhance their development into positive and productive citizens. Implementation began in 2017.

Family Counsellor Jeremy Thomas indicated that confidentiality is emphasized by Michele de la Coudray-Blake, Director of the Counselling Unit to all personnel.

“We are sticklers for confidentiality,” said Mr. Thomas, on the season debut of the radio and television programme Working for You on January 06, 2021.

To protect the identity of their subjects, the counsellors, who often work as a team on some of the more complicated matters, avoid using names in general staff discussions.

“When we go into the home as well, we make sure we stress confidentiality. We make sure we stress, listen, whatever is said here, stays here. … Their business is safe with us,” Counsellor Thomas added, noting that the Unit has never received a report regarding a breach of confidentiality by a staff member.

Family Counsellor Alicia Collins added that a survey of participants found that the counsellors received exceptional grades in being trustworthy. She said that this has made their work easier as they strive to make a positive impact on family caregivers and the youth.

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