We live in a day and age that is characterized by new relationships, new realities and new pressures on us as individuals and as members of a global community. We are all required to abide by the laws and regulations which allow society to function, however it is not possible to legislate integrity. At the Samaritan Counseling Center we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and ethics in the delivery of services to our clients and the community at large. This applies equally to our fundraising efforts.

Our Code of Ethics is an expression of our core values and represents a framework for decision-making within the organization  In adopting this code of ethics we have sought to instill a corporate culture of integrity which values diversity, respect, accountability and continuous improvement. At Samaritan Counseling everyone, from the Board down, is expected to participate in fostering and improving our ethical culture and is responsible for understanding this Code of Ethics and acting in accordance with it at all times.

Business Conduct

Our Code of Business Conduct serves to (1) emphasize the organization’s commitment to ethics and compliance with the law; (2) set forth basic standards of ethical and legal behavior; (3) provide reporting mechanisms for known or suspected ethical or legal violations; and (4) help prevent and detect wrongdoing. All of our associates, employees and Directors working for the organization are expected to abide by the following code of business conduct:

Avoid Real and Perceived Conflicts of Interest.

  •  Associates, affiliates and Directors shall avoid real and perceived conflicts of interest. Business decisions and actions must always be based on the best interest of the organization and those whom we serve. Prohibitions specific to this policy include:
  •  Gifts.Receiving from, or giving to, a supplier, client or competitor, gifts, gratuities, special allowances, discounts or other benefits not generally available of more than nominal value.
  •  Loans. Providing loans to, or guarantees of obligations of, Employees or their family members will not be allowed.
  •  Outside Activity. Engaging in any outside activity that materially detracts from or interferes with the performance by an associate of his or her services to the organization.
  •  Personal Interests. Having a direct or indirect personal interest in a transaction involving the organization.
  •  Personal Investments. Directly or indirectly, owning a material amount of stock in, being a creditor of, or having another financial interest in a supplier, client or competitor.

Confidentiality

Officers, directors, employees or agents of the organization will often come into contact with, or have possession of, proprietary, confidential or client-sensitive information and must take appropriate steps to assure that such information is strictly safeguarded. Directors, officers, employees and agents shall maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to them by the organization and any other confidential information about the organization or its clients that comes to them, from whatever source, in their capacity as a director, officer, employee or agent, except when disclosure is authorized or legally mandated.

Fair Dealing

The success our our organization depends on building productive relationships with one another and third parties based on honesty, integrity, ethical behavior and mutual trust. Associates, affiliates and Directors shall behave honestly and ethically at all times and with all people regardless of race, religion, age, gender, disability, national ancestry, sexual orientation or economic condition. They shall act in good faith and with due care in the discharge of duty to the organization and its clients. In no case will our associates, Directors or employees take unfair advantage of anyone through manipulation, concealment, abuse of privileged information, misrepresentation of material facts, or any other unfair-dealing practices.

Protection and Proper Use of Organizational Assets

Proper and efficient use of organizational and other third party assets, such as electronic communication systems, information (proprietary or otherwise), material, facilities and equipment, as well as intangible assets, is the responsibility of everyone in the organization. Associates must not use such assets for personal profit for themselves or others. In addition, associates must act in a manner to protect such assets from loss, damage, misuse, theft, removal and waste. Finally, associates must ensure that such assets are used only for legitimate business purposes.

Compliance with Laws, Regulation and Corporate Governance Doctrines

Associates, Directors and affiliates are required to comply fully with all laws, rules and regulations affecting the organization’s business and its conduct in business matters. Beyond the strictly legal aspects involved, associates at all times are expected to act honestly and maintain the highest standards of ethics and business conduct, consistent with the professional image of the organization.

Discrimination and Harassment

The organization will respect the dignity, rights and aspirations of each of its associates and is committed to provide an equal opportunity work environment free from discrimination and harassment.

Disclosure of Accounting Deficiencies

All associates, Directors or affiliated persons have the responsibility to promptly report to the Finance Committee any information concerning (a) significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal control over financial reporting which could adversely affect the organization’s ability to record, process, summarize and report financial data or (b) any fraud, whether or not material, that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the organizations’s financial reporting, disclosures or internal control over financial reporting.

Fundraising

The Samaritan Counseling Centers of the Mid-South embraces the National Society of Fundraising Executives Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice , which guide the solicitation and use of charitable funds in manners that comply with all applicable local, state, provincial, federal, civil, and criminal laws. All of the associates, affiliates, employees and Directors of the Samaritan Counseling Center engaged in solicitation of donations from public or private sources are aware of and are expected to abide by the specified principles of professional practice.

Therefore, our Directors, associates and affiliates of Samaritan Couseling involved in the solicitation of donations shall at all times…

  1. practice their profession with integrity, honesty, truthfulness and adherence to the absolute obligation to safeguard the public trust;
  2. act according to the highest standards and visions of their organization, profession and conscience;
  3. put philanthropic mission above personal gain;
  4. inspire others through their own sense of dedication and high purpose;
  5. improve their professional knowledge and skills, so that their performance will better serve others;
  6. demonstrate concern for the interests and well being of individuals affected by their actions;
  7. value the privacy, freedom of choice and interests of all those affected by their actions;
  8. foster cultural diversity and pluralistic values, and treat all people with dignity and respect;
  9. affirm, through personal giving, a commitment to philanthropy and its role in society;
  10. adhere to the spirit, as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations;
  11. advocate within their organizations, adherence to all applicable laws and regulations;
  12. avoid even the appearance of any criminal offense or professional misconduct;
  13. bring credit to the fundraising profession by their public demeanor;
  14. encourage colleagues to embrace and practice these ethical principles and standards of professional practice;
  15. be aware of codes of ethics promulgated by other professional organizations that serve philanthropy.
  16. not engage in activities that conflict with their fiduciary, ethical and legal obligations to their organizations and their clients.
  17. effectively disclose all potential and actual conflicts of interest; such disclosure does not preclude or imply ethical impropriety.
  18. not exploit any relationship with a donor, prospect, volunteer or employee for the benefit of the member or the member’s organization.
  19. comply with all applicable local, state, provincial, federal, civil and criminal laws.
  20. take care to ensure that all solicitation materials are accurate and correctly reflect the organization’s mission and use of solicited funds.
  21. take care to ensure that donors receive informed, accurate and ethical advice about the value and tax implications of contributions.
  22. take care to ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donors’ intentions.
  23. take care to ensure proper stewardship of philanthropic contributions, including timely reports on the use and management of such funds.
  24. obtain explicit consent by the donor before altering the conditions of contributions.
  25. not disclose privileged or confidential information to unauthorized parties.
  26. adhere to the principle that all donor and prospect information created by, or on behalf of, an organization is the property of that organization and shall not be transferred or utilized except on behalf of that organization.
  27. not give, sell, rent or otherwise share donor information or with any other organization.
  28. use accurate and consistent accounting methods that conform to the appropriate guidelines adopted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for the type of organization involved.
  29. not accept compensation that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor shall they accept finder’s fees.
  30. not pay finder’s fees, or commissions or percentage compensation based on contributions, and shall take care to discourage their organizations from making such payments.

Delivery of Clinical Services

(Adapted from the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors – Revised 5/20/95)

Principle 1: Non-Discrimination

The counselor nor the Agency shall not discriminate against clients or professionals based on race, religion, age, gender, disability, national ancestry, sexual orientation or economic condition.

  1. Counselors shall avoid bringing personal or professional issues into the counseling relationship. Through an awareness of the impact of stereotyping and discrimination, the counselor guards the individual rights and personal dignity of clients.
  2. Counselor shall be knowledgeable about disabling conditions, demonstrate empathy and personal emotional comfort in interactions with clients with disabilities, and make available physical, sensory and cognitive accommodations that allow clients with disabilities to receive services.

Principle 2: Responsibility

The substance abuse counselor shall espouse objectivity and integrity, and maintain the highest
standards in the services the counselor offers.

  1. The counselor shall maintain respect for institutional policies and management functions of the agencies and institutions within which the services are being performed, but will take initiative toward improving such policies when it will better serve the interest of the client.
  2. The counselor, as educator, has a primary obligation to help others acquire knowledge and skills in dealing with the mental illnesses and issues
  3. The counselor who supervises others accepts the obligation to facilitate further professional development of these individuals by providing accurate and current information, timely evaluations and constructive consultation.
  4. The counselor who is aware of unethical conduct or of unprofessional modes of practice shall report such inappropriate behavior to the appropriate authority.

Principle 3: Legal and Moral Standards

Counselor shall uphold the legal and accepted moral codes which pertain to professional conduct.

  1. The counselor shall be fully cognizant of all federal laws and laws of the counselor’s respective state governing the practice of alcoholism and drug abuse counseling and other forms of mental illness.
  2. The counselor shall not claim either directly or by implication, professional qualifications/affiliations that the counselor does not possess.
  3. The counselor shall ensure that products or services associated with or provided by the counselor by means of teaching, demonstration, publications or other types of media meet the ethical standards of this code.

Principle 4: Public Statements

The counselor shall honestly respect the limits of present knowledge in public statements concerning alcoholism and drug abuse.

  1. The counselor, in making statements to clients, other professionals, and the general public shall state as fact only those matters which have been empirically validated as fact. All other opinions, speculations, and conjecture concerning the nature of nalcoholism and drug abuse, its natural history, its treatment or any other matters which touch on the subject of alcoholism and drug abuse shall be represented as less than scientifically validated
  2. The counselor shall acknowledge and accurately report the substantiation and support for statements made concerning the nature of alcoholism and drug abuse, its natural history, and its treatment. Such acknowledgment should extend to the source of the information and reliability of the method by which it was derived.

Principle 5: Publication Credit

The counselor shall assign credit to all who have contributed to the published

material and for the work upon which the publication is based

  1. The counselor shall recognize joint authorship and major contributions of a professional nature made by one or more persons to a common project. The author who has made the principal contribution to a publication must be identified as first author.
  2. The counselor shall acknowledge in footnotes or in an introductory statement minor contributions of a professional nature, extensive clerical or similar assistance and other minor contributions.
  3. The counselor shall in no way violate the copyright of anyone by reproducing material in any form whatsoever, except in those ways which are allowed under the copyright laws. This involves direct violation of copyright as well as the passive assent to the violation of copyright by others.

Principle 6: Client Welfare

The counselor shall promote the protection of the public health, safety and welfare and the best interest of the client as a primary guide in determining the conduct of all counselors.

  1. The counselor shall disclose the counselor’s code of ethics, professional loyalties and responsibilities to all clients.
  2. The counselor shall terminate a counseling or consulting relationship when it is reasonably clear to the counselor that the client is not benefiting from the relationship.
  3. The counselor shall hold the welfare of the client paramount when making any decisions or recommendations concerning referral, treatment procedures or termination of treatment.
  4. The counselor shall not use or encourage a client’s participation in any demonstration, research or other non-treatment activities when such participation would have potential harmful consequences for the client or when the client is not fully informed. (See Principle 9)
  5. The counselor shall take care to provide services in an environment that will ensure the privacy and safety of the client at all times and ensure the appropriateness of service delivery.

Principle 7: Confidentiality

The counselor working in the best interest of the client shall embrace, as a primary obligation, the duty of protecting client’s rights under confidentiality and shall not disclose confidential information acquired in teaching, practice or investigation without appropriately executed consent.

  1. The counselor shall provide the client his/her rights regarding confidentiality, in writing, as part of informing the client in any areas likely to affect the client’s confidentiality. This includes the recording of the clinical interview, the use of material for insurance purposes, the use of material for training or observation by another party.
  2. The counselor shall make appropriate provisions for the maintenance of confidentiality and the ultimate disposition of confidential records. The counselor shall ensure that data obtained, including any form of electronic communication, are secured by the available security methodology. Data shall be limited to information that is necessary and appropriate to the services being provided and be accessible only to appropriate personnel.
  3. The counselor shall adhere to all federal and state laws regarding confidentiality and the counselor’s responsibility to report clinical information in specific circumstances to the appropriate authorities.
  4. The counselor shall discuss the information obtained in clinical, consulting, or observational relationships only in the appropriate settings for professional purposes that are in the client’s best interest. Written and oral reports must present only data germane and pursuant to the purpose of evaluation, diagnosis, progress, and compliance. Every effort shall be made to avoid undue invasion of privacy.
  5. The counselor shall use clinical and other material in teaching and/or writing only when there is no identifying information used about the parties involved.

Principle 8: Client Relationships

It is the responsibility of the counselor to safeguard the integrity of the counseling relationship and to ensure that the client has reasonable access to effective treatment. The counselor shall provide the client and/or guardian with accurate and complete information regarding the extent of the potential professional relationship.

  1. The counselor shall inform the client and obtain the client’s agreement in areas likely to affect the client’s participation including the recording of an interview, the use of interview material for training purposes, and/or observation of an interview by another person.
  2. The counselor shall not engage in professional relationships or commitments with family members, friends, close associates, or others whose welfare might be jeopardized by such a dual relationship.
  3. The counselor shall not exploit relationships with current or former clients for personal gain, including social or business relationships.
  4. The counselor shall not under any circumstances engage in sexual behavior with current or former clients.
  5. The counselor shall not accept as clients anyone with whom they have engaged in sexual behavior.

Principle 9: Interprofessional Relationships

The counselor shall treat colleagues with respect, courtesy, fairness, and good faith and shall afford the same to other professionals.

  1. The counselor shall refrain from offering professional services to a client in counseling with another professional except with the knowledge of the other professional or after the termination of the client’s relationship with the other professional.
  2. The counselor shall cooperate with duly constituted professional ethics committees and promptly supply necessary information unless constrained by the demands of confidentiality.
  3. The counselor shall not in any way exploit relationships with supervises, employees, students, research participants or volunteers.

Principle 10: Remuneration

The counselor shall establish financial arrangements in professional practice
and in accord with the professional standards that safeguard the best interests of the client first,
and then of the counselor, the agency, and the profession.

  1. The counselor shall inform the client of all financial policies. In  circumstances where an agency dictates explicit provisions with its staff for private  consultations, clients shall be made fully aware of these policies.
  2. The counselor shall consider the ability of a client to meet the financial  cost in establishing rates for professional services.
  3. The counselor shall not engage in fee splitting. The member shall not send  or receive any commission or rebate or any other form of remuneration for referral of clients  for professional services.
  4. The counselor, in the practice of counseling, shall not at any time use  one’s relationship with clients for personal gain or for the profit of an agency or any  commercial enterprise of any kind.
  5. The counselor shall not accept a private fee for professional work with a  person who is entitled to such services through an institution or agency unless the client is  informed of such services and still requests private services. 

Principle 11: Societal Obligations

The counselor shall to the best of his or her ability actively engage the legislative processes, educational institutions, and the general public to change public policy  and legislation to make possible opportunities and choice of service for all human beings of any ethnic or social background whose lives are impaired by mental illness or distress.