(a) A licensee may not disclose any information acquired provided by a client or from persons consulting the licensee in a professional capacity, except that which may be voluntarily disclosed under these following circumstances:
(1) In the course of formally reporting, conferring or consulting with administrative superiors, colleagues or consultants who share professional responsibility, in which instance all recipients of such information are similarly bound to regard the communication as privileged;
(2) With the written consent of the person who provided the information;
(3) In case of death or disability, with the written consent of a personal representative, other person authorized to sue, or the beneficiary of an insurance policy on the person's life, health or physical condition;
(4) When a communication reveals the intended commission of a crime or harmful act and such disclosure is judged necessary by the social worker to protect any person from a clear, imminent risk of serious mental or physical harm or injury, or to forestall a serious threat to the public safety; or
(5) When the person waives the privilege by bringing any public charges against the licensee.
(b) When the person is a minor and the information acquired by the licensee indicates the minor was the victim of or witness to a crime, the licensee may be required to testify in any judicial proceedings in which the commission of that crime is the subject of inquiry and when the court determines that the interests of the minor in having the information held privileged are outweighed by the requirements of justice.
(c) Any person having access to records or anyone who participates in providing social work services or who, in providing any human services, is supervised by a licensee, is similarly bound to regard all information and communications as privileged in accord with this section.
(d) Nothing shall be construed to prohibit a licensee from voluntarily testifying in court hearings concerning matters of adoption, child abuse, child neglect or other matters pertaining to children, elderly, and physically and mentally impaired adults, except as prohibited under the applicable state and federal laws.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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