Response to Ethics Matter
Dore Frances

August 1, 2004

Good Morning:

I would like to respond to the posting - Ethics Matter

I have copied my response to some of the programs I network with, therapists in those programs, people in the social services field who have known of my work for years as a Child Right's Advocate, and others who know of my ethical standards and have witnessed them first hand. I always leave myself open to their feedback as well, and ask for it often.

It appears by this article that you perceive anyone who not a member of the IECA to be something less than respectable.

I have witnessed many people in the industry over the years, both member and non members as manipulators of the public mind, rather than conveyors of truth. That is likely the reason most every code of conduct, no matter what the organization is, stresses honesty above all else. Too often I have seen this conduct fall short of the code. Spin substitutes for truth.

Perception substitutes for reality. Victory substitutes for success. The shadings are subtle. The arguments are heated.

The proponents are ostracized. It does matter, both in the big picture and the bottom line, as we are touching the life of a child, and our fingerprints will be on that child for the rest of their life. The ripple effects will go way beyond our life in most cases. What we are, as individual human beings, is a composite of our daily decisions, thoughts and actions, large and small. "The truth matters. Loyalty matters. Lies matter. Values matter." Is this not what we teach our children?

An organization's ethics flow from the top down and back up again, and permeates throughout the company mindset.

Nothing is hidden, especially in this wired age where news - especially bad news - gushes in an instant. You are very correct in stating that the IECA, as a real organization, says it takes its ethical standards very seriously.

I, as a non-member, who abides by the same ethical standards, also takes them very seriously, and it does not take being a member of an organization to make this happen. It takes personal integrity. I have yet to hear of a member of IECA being disciplined for an infraction, however, I witness infractions, with no discipline, which is part of why I choose not to be a member. When becoming a member of an organization, there has to be more to it that being able to wear the label that you are a member. What serious efforts exist to oversee that their members are ethical? With very little effort I have been able to experience unethical members. Again, we are human beings, not "members" in this life. A label of an organization does not change your moral fiber of who you are as a person. I know I have been called and "tested" many times by "members" to see what my ethical standards are, over and over again. It gets frustrating after awhile, as it eats up my valuable time, and takes away from what I focus on as my life's passion, children and families. If you have a question, just call me and ask. I would much rather speak with you as an individual than play a "game." Yes, I understand it is not perfect, no organization can claim that, as that is human nature. In so stating, I have been using IEC for 8 years to describe myself as an Independent Educational Consultant and I have never been contacted by the IECA, or anyone else, stating that this title represents an organization, nor have I ever stated that I represent or am associated with an organization. In fact, when asked, I absolutely state that I am not a member of the IECA, by choice. And I do not feel I need to have my ethics or integrity questioned due to that fact. I post my ethical standards, I include them in my brochure, and I send them in writing to anyone who requests them. They are the same as the IECA's. An organization does not produce ethical standards by simply allowing you to become a member. I have never used the letters IEC as a marketing technique. I have gone out on a limb many times, and have even contacted Mark Sklarow at the IECA about others who, in my opinion, are unscrupulous practitioners. He admitted to me that he runs across them as well. He has witnessed people selling Discovery Toys calling themselves Educational Consultants.

I have always provided superior service at a cost well below most Educational Consultants, I take pro-bono cases to assist families with IEP's, and I stand in line with the ethical standards that are written by the industry, whether the IECA, NATSAP, or any other organization I associate with as a non-member. Most family members who call me are totally confused about how to make the right placement choice for their child. They are confused by multiple and often conflicting Internet website marketing pages. I say this to them, "All websites, including mine, are just like a magazine advertisement. The glossy print is there to capture your attention and we all put as much information forward as we can. However, you have to look behind the scenes, get references, and dig deeper, as this is a decision about your child's life."

One of the main reasons I take this so very seriously is that my own daughter was in a program, and I have stood where that parent stands. I feel it every time I work with a family. Every child, who's life I touch, has my fingerprints on them, and the ripple effect is one I may never get to see, however, when I lay my head down at night, I sleep, knowing I did my very best with each and every child and family I touched that day. "Who to Believe?" Good question. I have clients who worked with IECA consultants and their child has been in one, two and in one case three programs and they paid over $7,000.

And now I have to help a parent evaluate me, not as a member, not as a title, as a person who cares about them and their child. I always work much harder, and longer, with a family that has to replace their child, as they now have been bruised, are untrusting, and their child is angrier than ever before. I absolutely agree that the most reliable way for a parent to decide who to believe and evaluate a professional's trustworthiness, is to obtain independent third party opinions, and investigate their record of accomplishment and experience. However, to tie that only to an organization, has proven to me, not to always be the best way. I have parents call references of other parents, therapists, and social service agencies, as well as programs and schools I network with in my efforts to help families. They are the ones who know me first hand and deal with me on an every day basis. They are the one who see the kids I work with, and see the results.

An organization cannot attest to that as much as people on the front line. Personal biases and agendas exists whether a person is a member of IECA or not. I have witnessed it first hand.

Dore E. Frances, IEC
Independent Educational Consultant
Program/School Advisory Consultant
Horizon Family Solutions

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