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Consent is permission, generally given in writing, by a person, his/her attorney or authorized representative to disclose specified information within a limited time period to specifically identified individuals or entities. When consenting to the disclosure of otherwise confidential information, parents and guardians need to be fully informed of both the positive and negative consequences that might occur when permitting others to access these records.

It is the responsibility of the person seeking consent to provide sufficient information to the parent or guardian. Given the complexity of many release forms, it is critical for parties consenting or authorizing the release to be informed and understand their rights. Individuals should be encouraged to review these forms with an attorney or other trusted professional before signing to ensure they fully understand the terms, conditions and scope of the release. When considering the disclosure of confidential information about their child, parents should understand the consequences that may exist if they refuse to authorize a release of information involving their child, including the possibility that there may be other ways in which confidential information can be accessed; e.g., a valid court order. These precautions can avoid confusion and ensure that parents are fully informed as to what they are consenting to, which may have a positive impact on the outcome of a case.

A standard authorization to release information should be clearly written in plain language and articulate the following:
  • The specific information that may be released
  • Who may be provided with the information
  • The purpose for which the information may be used
  • The duration of the authorization subject to an expiration date
  • Terms for revocation by the consenting party
Versions should also be available in other commonly spoken languages, such as Spanich, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole.


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