Personal information left in file cabinet misplaced by local nonprofit

SAN DIEGO — Records containing some personal information of participants in a program for youth at a San Diego nonprofit were misplaced and could be vulnerable to misuse, according to the organization.

Officials at Social Advocates for Youth said records related to its Dual Diagnosis program from the first half of 2013 were mistakenly left behind in a filing cabinet when the nonprofit moved.

Someone who purchased the cabinet from a salvage store found most of the files and turned them into county health officials, who notified SAY San Diego, but records from March and April of that year remain missing. The files contained participants’ names, case numbers, dates and length of service received, locations of service and provider names, but not Social Security or driver’s license numbers, date of birth or financial information, according to SAY San Diego.

“We take this incident, and client privacy, very seriously,” said Nancy Gannon Hornberger, SAY San Diego’s CEO. “We are taking steps to prevent any future data incident, and as always will continue to review and improve our processes, policies, and procedures that address data privacy.”

According to the organization, there is no indication of actual or attempted misuse of participant information. SAY San Diego is notifying the affected participants and providing them with data protection information and resources, and is also notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the state Attorney General’s Office, Hornberger said.

The nonprofit operates numerous programs that assist youth with substance abuse prevention, school readiness, mental health counseling and foster care support, among other things.