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Foster Care Data Breach – How To Make A Claim

Foster care data breaches can put already vulnerable children at risk and cause emotional distress to foster parents. What’s more, a foster data breach can affect the anonymity and security of children in care. Under legislation such as the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Data Protection Act 2018, social services must safeguard the personal data they collect.

Foster care data breach claims guide

Foster care data breach claims guide

So if a foster care data breach has affected you, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Moreover, if the foster care system breached your child’s data, you can act as a litigation friend, claiming compensation on your child’s behalf. However, not all data breaches mean a compensation claim is possible only when it can be proven that the breach occurred because there was a failure to adhere to data protection laws.

If a social worker or children’s care services breached personal data about you, please contact Legal Expert to inquire about making a data breach compensation claim. We can appoint a skilled data breach solicitor to work on your compensation claim. You can make a claim with a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor, so you will only pay a success fee if you win your claim.

To begin your claim, please get in touch with us today:

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What Is A Foster Care Data Breach?

Foster care happens when a child is removed from the home by social services and put into the temporary care of a state-certified caregiver. Many children in foster care have had traumatic backgrounds. For example, violent biological parents may have abused the child before child services removed them from the family home.

A personal data breach is a security incident which leads to personally identifiable information being lost, stolen, disclosed, altered, destroyed or accessed without authority. A foster care data breach can mean sensitive and personal information about a vulnerable child or their foster family being exposed.

Information breaches can cause emotional distress to children and foster families because it exposes sensitive data. A child services data breach can threaten a family’s security if the data breach releases confidential information such as names and addresses. Therefore an abuser could gain access to the child.

Furthermore, those employed by child care services could also be subjected to an employee data breach if their personal information is exposed by an employer data breach.

Examples of incidents that could cause a data breach:

  • Social services disclose confidential data without a lawful basis
  • A council email containing personal information about a child in care is sent to the wrong email address.
  • Lost personal data on a device that is left on a train.
  • A cybercriminal accesses a council’s database that contains the addresses of foster carers.
  • Social services disclose the whereabouts of a foster family by accident to the child’s biological parents.

Local Government Data Breach Statistics

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) releases statistics about the number of data security reports they receive quarterly. In Q3 2021/22, 217 local government data security incidents were reported to the ICO. 208 were non-cyber and 9 were cyber data security incidents.

Types Of Foster Care Data Breach

Personal data breaches can happen by accident or deliberate actions. However, human error is the most common way for a data breach to occur. The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), and the Data Protection Act 2018, do not protect all types of data just data that is personal. This can include name, address, and email address but can also include data that needs extra protection such as health data, data about your religion or your sexual orientation.

Below we look at example data breach scenarios:

  • Social services could send information about a child in foster care to the wrong email address. Therefore social services could put the child’s security at risk.
  • Similarly, a social services employee may neglect to use Blind Carbon Copy on a mass email to foster parents. Therefore this would share information that identifies the foster parents with the group.
  • Hackers may target child services to gain illegal access to their databases. The hackers may steal personal information and use it for blackmail purposes.
  • Lost or stolen devices, such as work laptops. If the device is not password protected, a stranger can access personal data on the laptop.
  • Child services publish by accident information about their employees online, causing a foster worker data breach.

Reporting Foster Care Data Breaches To The Information Commissioner

Foster care data breaches can be very serious, especially if they endanger a child. If child services discover that they have breached your personal data, they should inform you as soon as possible. The organisation will also report the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours; if the data breach jeopardises the rights and freedoms of the data subject. The ICO may investigate the data breach and issue a fine.

If you believe you have discovered a child services data breach, please raise your concerns with the organisation. They should resolve the problem internally and may be able to advise you on what to do to keep you and your family safe.

However, if you do not feel they have taken the data breach seriously enough, you can report the data breach incident to the ICO. But please get in touch with the Information Commissioner’s Office within three months of your last meaningful contact with the organisation’s data protection officer.

How To Claim For A Foster Care Data Breach

You may be eligible to claim for a foster care data breach under the following circumstances:

  • You are within the data breach claims time limit, as determined by the Limitation Act 1980.
  • An organisation breached your personal data by not adhering to data protection laws
  • Furthermore, you suffered emotional distress after the data breach. Or you experienced psychological injuries such as PTSD and/or you lost out financially.

Please get in touch with Legal Expert today to enquire about claiming compensation for a data breach.

Foster Care Data Breach Compensation Calculator

If you make a successful data breach claim, you will receive up to two different types of compensation:

  • Material damages compensate you for any money lost because of the data breach.
  • You can also claim non-material damages compensation. Therefore you will be compensated for any emotional distress or stress due to the data breach. Moreover, if you experienced psychiatric injuries, you can claim compensation for these.

Please use the table to estimate how much non-material damages compensation you can claim. The compensation amounts in the table are based on Judicial College guidelines. But please be aware that the amount of compensation you receive may vary depending on your circumstances.

Psychiatric Illness About Damages
PTSD – Severe The person has a reactive psychiatric disorder which has caused psychological trauma. The person could suffer permanent effects, preventing them from being able to work as they did before the trauma. £56,180 to £94,470
PTSD – Moderately Severe Distinct from the most severe category, this victim does have a better recovery prognosis. The effects may still cause significant disability. £21,730 to £56,180
PTSD – Moderate This person should mostly have recovered and if there are any effects, these are not grossly disabling. £7,680 to £21,730
PTSD – Less Severe In around 1 – 2 years this person should almost fully be recovered. If there are still any symptoms these should only be minor. £3,710 to £7,680
Mental Injuries – Severe The compensation awarded accounts for factors such as how this person can cope with work and other parts of their life. £51,460 to £108,620
Mental Injuries – Moderately Severe This person will have significant problems with education, work, relationships and other parts of their life. They do however have a better prognosis. £17,900 to £51,460
Mental Injuries – Moderate Whilst there may have been problems with the above factors, by the time of a trial there will have been marked improvements. They have a better prognosis. . £5,500 to £17,900
Mental Injuries – Less Severe Factors such as how long any symptoms experienced lasted for and how severe they were will determine compensation awarded. £1,440 to £5,500

To discuss how much compensation you could receive, please call our claims helpline, and an advisor can speak to you in-depth.

Start A Claim For A Foster Care Data Breach

Please get in touch with Legal Expert today to inquire about claiming compensation for a foster care data breach. If you are eligible for compensation, we can provide you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to handle your claim.

A No Win No Fee solicitor will not require any upfront payment. Instead, your solicitor will charge you a success fee if you win your claim. Moreover, because you don’t pay an upfront solicitor fee, a No Win No Fee solicitor may be the more affordable option for you.

To discuss your options and see if you can begin your claim, please get in touch with us today:

Find Out More About Data Breach Claims

If you wish to claim compensation for a data breach, these online guides may be helpful.

We are appreciative of you reading our guide to foster care data breaches.

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    Meet The Team

    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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