NAEYC's Code of Ethical Conduct Guidelines for Responsible Behavior

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NAEYC's Code of Ethical Conduct Guidelines for Responsible Behavior Powered By Docstoc
					Editor’s note: We need the help
of all Young Children readers who are
familiar with NAEYC's Code of Ethics.
Perhaps you have been involved in
thinking through one or more of the                   NAEYC’s Code of Ethical Conduct:
ethical dilemmas that have been
regularly appearing in Young Children –                     Guidelines for Responsible Behavior in
in staff meeting, at an Affiliate Group
meeting, or with friends. Many of you                             Early Childhood Education
have used the principles and ideals in
NAEYC’s Code of Ethics to help solve
dilemmas you face in your work.
Because of these experiences, you have
information that can be valuable t o
NAEYC as we review the Code for
needed revisions or additions.                      NAEYC recognizes that many daily             The Code sets forth a conception o f
The Code is published on the following          decisions required of those who work         our professional responsibilities in four
pages to aid your review.                       with young children are of a moral and       sections, each addressing an arena of
• Are any of the principles or ideals           ethical nature. The NAEYC Code o f           professional relationships: (1) children
phrased confusingly? How would you              Ethical Conduct offers guidelines for        (2) families (3) colleagues, and ( 4 )
change the wording?                             responsible behavior and sets forth a        community and society. Each section
• Have you found the Code lacking in            common basis for resolving the principal     includes an introduction to the primary
guidance for a particular ethical               ethical dilemmas encountered in early        responsibilities of the early childhood
dilemma involving children or their             childhood education. The primary focus       practitioner in that arena, a set o f
families? Describe the situation for us.        is on daily practice with children and       ideals pointing in the direction o f
Please send your suggestions regarding          their families in programs for children      exemplary professional practice, and a
how we can clarify any point in the             from birth to 8 years of age:                set of principles defining practices that
Code to:                                        preschools, child care centers, family       are required, prohibited, and permitted.
    NAEYC Ethics Panel                          day care homes, kindergartens, and
     Office of the Executive Director           primary classrooms. Many of the                  The ideals reflect the aspirations o f
     1509 1 6t h Street, NW                     provisions also apply to specialists who     practitioners. The principles are
    Washington, DC 20036-1426                   do not work directly with children           intended to guide conduct and assist
If you have not yet used the “case              including program administrators,            practitioners in resolving ethical
study” dilemmas we publish, we hope             parent educators, college professors,        dilemmas encountered in the field.
you soon will start discussing each one         and child care licensing specialists.        There is not necessarily a corresponding
in your staff meetings.                                                                      principle for each ideal. Both ideals and
                                                    Standards of ethical behavior in         principles are intended to direct
---------------------------------------------   early childhood education are based on       practitioners to those questions which
NAEYC’s Code of Ethical Conduct was             commitment to core values that are           when responsibly answered, will provide
prepared under the auspices of the              deeply rooted in the history of our field.   the basis for conscientious decision
Ethics Commission of the National                                                            making. While the Code provides
Association for the Education of Young          We have committed ourselves to:              specific direction for addressing some
Children. The Commission members                • Appreciating childhood as a unique         ethical dilemmas, many others will
were: Stephanie Feeney (Chairperson),           and valuable stage of the human life         require the practitioner to combine the
Bettye Caldwell, Sally Cartwright, Carrie       cycle                                        guidance of the Code with sound
Cheek, Josue Cruz, Jr., Anne G. Dorsey,         • Basing our work with children on           professional judgment.
Dorothy M. Hill, Lilian G. Katz, Pamm           knowledge of child development
Mattick, Shirley A. Norris, and Sue             • Appreciating and supporting the close          The ideals and principles in this Code
Spayth Riley. Financial assistance for          ties between the child and family            present a shared conception o f
this project was provided by NAEYC,             • Recognizing that children are best         professional responsibility that affirms
the Wallace Alexander Gerbode                   understood in the context o f                our commitment to the core values o f
Foundation, and the University o f               family culture and society                  our field. The Code publicly
Hawaii.                                         • Respecting the dignity, worth, and         acknowledges the responsibilities that
NAEYC gratefully acknowledges the               uniqueness of each individual (child,        we in the field have assumed and in so
research and development work done              family member, and colleague)                doing supports ethical behavior in our
for this project by Stephanie Feeney,           • Helping children and adults achieve        work. Practitioners who face ethical
Ph.D., Professor and Early Childhood            their full potential in the context o f      dilemmas are urged to seek guidance in
Education Specialist at the University o f      relationships that are based on trust        the applicable parts of this Code and in
Hawaii at Manoa, and Kenneth Kipnis,            respect and positive regard                  the spirit that informs the whole.
Ph.D., Professor of Philisophy at the
University of Hawaii at Manoa.

     Young Children - March 1 9 9 6
          Section 1:                          not apply to programs that have a           responsibility to bring about
                                              lawful mandate to provide services to a     collaboration between the home and
  Ethical responsibilities            to
                                              particular population of children.)         school in ways that enhance the child's
            children                          P-1.3—We shall involve all of those         development.
                                              with relevant knowledge (including staff
    Childhood is a unique and valuable        and parents) in decisions concerning a      Ideals:
stage in the life cycle. Our paramount        child.
responsibility is to provide safe,            P-1.4—When, after appropriate               I -2.1—To develop relationships o f
healthy, nurturing, and responsive            efforts have been made with a child and     mutual trust with families we serve.
settings for children. We are committed       the family, the child still does not        I -2.2—To acknowledge and build
to supporting children’ s development         appear to be benefiting from a              upon strengths and competencies as
by cherishing individual differences, by      program, we shall communicate our           we support families in their task o f
helping them learn to live and work           concern to the family in a positive way     nurturing children.
cooperatively, and by promoting their         and offer them assistance in finding a      I -2.3—To respect the dignity of each
self-esteem.                                  more suitable setting.                      family and its culture, customs, and
                                              P-1.5—We shall be familiar with the         beliefs.
Ideals:                                       symptoms of child abuse and neglect         I -2.4—To respect families' child rear-
                                              and know and follow community               ing values and their right to make
I-1.1—To be familiar with the                 procedures and state laws that protect      decisions for their children.
knowledge base of early childhood             children against abuse and neglect.         I -2.5—To interpret each child's pro-
education and to keep current through         P-1.6—When we have evidence o f             gress to parents within the framework
continuing education and in-service           child abuse or neglect, we shall report     of a developmental perspective and t o
training.                                     the evidence to the appropriate             help families understand and appreciate
I -1.2—To base program practices              community agency and follow up to           the value of developmentally appro-
upon current knowledge in the field o f       ensure that appropriate action has been     priate early childhood programs.
child development and related                 taken. When possible, parents will be       I -2.6—To help family members
disciplines and upon particular               informed that the referral has been         improve their understanding of their
knowledge of each child.                      made.                                       children and to enhance their skills as
I -1.3—To recognize and respect the           P-1.7—When another person tells us          parents.
uniqueness and the potential of each          of their suspicion that a child is being    I -2.7—To participate in building sup-
child.                                        abused or neglected but we lack             port networks for families by providing
I -1.4—To appreciate the special              evidence, we shall assist that person in    them with opportunities to interact with
vulnerability of children.                    taking appropriate action to protect the    program staff and families.
I -1.5—To create and maintain safe            child.
and healthy settings that foster              P-1.8—When a child protective
children's social, emotional, intellectual,   agency fails to provide adequate            Principles:
and physical development and that             protection for abused or neglected
respect their dignity and their               children, we acknowledge a collective       P-2.1—We shall not deny family mem-
contributions.                                ethical responsibility to work toward       bers access to their child's classroom or
I -1.6—To support the right of                improvement of these services.              program setting.
children with special needs t o               P-l.9—When we become aware of a             P-2.2—We shall inform families of pro-
participate, consistent with their ability,   practice or situation that endangers the    gram philosophy, policies, and personnel
in regular early childhood programs.          health or safety of children, but has not   qualifications, and explain why we teach
                                              been previously known to do so, we          as we do.
                                              have an ethical responsibility to inform    P-2.3—We shall inform families of and,
                                              those who can remedy the situation          when appropriate, involve them in
                                              and who can keep other children from        policy decisions.
P-1.1—Above all we shall not harm
                                              being similarly endangered.                 P-2.4—We shall inform families of and,
children. We shall not participate in
                                                                                          when appropriate, involve them in sig-
practices that are disrespectful,
                                                                                          nificant decisions affecting their child.
degrading, dangerous, exploitative,                    Section II:                        P-2.5—We shall inform the family o f
intimidating, psychologically damaging,
                                               Ethical responsibilities           to      accidents involving their child, of risks
or physically harmful to children. This
                                                         families                         such as exposures to contagious
principle has precedence over
                                                                                          disease that may result in infection, and
all others in this Code.
                                                  Families are of primary importance      of events that might result in psy-
P-1.2—We shall not participate in
                                              in children's development.                  chological damage.
practices that discriminate against
                                              (The term family may include others,        P-2.6—We shall not permit or partici-
children by denying benefits, giving
                                              besides parents, who are responsibly        pate in research that could in any way
special advantages, or excluding them
                                              involved with the child.) Because the       hinder the education or development of
from programs or activities on the basis
                                              family and the early childhood educator     the children in our programs. Families
of their race, religion, sex, national
                                              have a common interest in the child's       shall be fully informed of any proposed
origin, or the status, behavior, or beliefs
                                              welfare, we acknowledge a primary           research projects involving their
of their parents. (This principle does

     Young Children - March 1 9 9 6
children and shall have the opportunity                    A—                                          C—
to give or withhold consent.
                                                    Responsibilities        to                  Responsibilities          to
P-2.7—We shall not engage in or
support exploitation of families. We                    co-workers                                  employees
shall not use our relationship with a
family for private advantage or personal     Ideals:                                     Ideals:
gain, or enter into relationships with
family members that might impair our         I -3A.I—To establish and maintain           I-3C.I—To promote policies and
effectiveness in working with children.      relationships of trust and cooperation      working conditions that foster
P-2.8—We shall develop written               with co-workers.                            competence, well-being, and
policies for the protection o f              I -3A.2—To share resources and              self-esteem in staff members.
confidentiality and the disclosure o f       information with co-workers.                I -3C.2—To create a climate of trust
children's records. The policy               I -3A.3—To support co-workers in            and candor that will enable staff t o
documents shall be made available to all     meeting their professional needs and in     speak and act in the best interests o f
program personnel and families.              their professional development.             children, families, and the field of early
Disclosure of children's records beyond      I -3A.4—To accord co-workers due            childhood education.
family members, program personnel,           recognition of professional                 I -3C.3—To strive to secure an ad-
and consultants having an obligation o f     achievement.                                equate livelihood for those who work
confidentiality shall require familial                                                   with or on behalf of young children.
consent (except in cases of abuse or
P-2.9—We shall maintain
                                             P-3A.1—When we have concern
confidentiality and shall respect the
                                             about the professional behavior of a co-    P-3C.1—In decisions concerning chil-
family's right to privacy, refraining from
                                             worker, we shall first let that person      dren and programs, we shall appropri-
disclosure of confidential information
                                             know of our concern and attempt t o         ately utilize the training, experience,
and intrusion into family life. However,
                                             resolve the matter collegially.             and expertise of staff members.
when we are concerned about a child's
                                             P-3A.2—We shall exercise care in            P-3C.2—We shall provide staff
welfare, it is permissible to reveal
                                             expressing views regarding the personal     members with working conditions that
confidential information to agencies and
                                             attributes or professional conduct o f      permit them to carry out their
individuals who may be able to act in
                                             co-workers. Statements should be            responsibilities, timely and
the child's interest.
                                             based on firsthand knowledge and            nonthreatening evaluation procedures,
P-2.10—In cases where family
                                             relevant to the interests of children and   written grievance procedures,
members are in conflict we shall work
                                             programs.                                   constructive feedback, and op-
openly, sharing our observations of the
                                                                                         portunities for continuing professional
child, to help all parties involved make
                                                           B—                            development and advancement.
informed decisions. We shall refrain
                                                                                         P-3C.3—We shall develop and
from becoming an advocate for one                   Responsibilities        to
                                                                                         maintain comprehensive written
party.                                                  employers                        personnel policies that define program
P-2.11—We shall be familiar with and
                                                                                         standards and, when applicable, that
appropriately use community resources
                                             Ideals:                                     specify the extent to which employees
and professional services that support
                                                                                         are accountable for their conduct
families. After a referral has been made,
                                             I -3B.I—To assist the program in            outside the work place. These policies
we shall follow up to ensure that
                                             providing the highest quality of service.   shall be given to new staff members
services have been adequately
                                             I -3B.2—To maintain loyalty to the          and shall be available for review by all
                                             program and uphold its reputation.          staff members.
                                                                                         P-3C.4—Employees who do not meet
                                                                                         program standards shall be informed o f
                                                                                         areas of concern and, when possible,
          Section III:                                                                   assisted in improving their performance.
                                             P-3B.I—When we do not agree with
  Ethical responsibilities           to                                                  P-3C.5—Employees who are dismissed
                                             program policies, we shall first attempt
           colleagues                                                                    shall be informed of the reasons for
                                             to effect change through constructive
                                                                                         their termination. When a dismissal is
                                             action within the organization.
In a caring, cooperative work place,                                                     for cause, justification must be based
                                             P-3B.2—We shall speak or act on
human dignity is respected, professional                                                 on evidence o f inadequate or inappro-
                                             behalf of an organization only when
satisfaction is promoted, and positive                                                   priate behavior that is accurately
                                             authorized. We shall take care to note
relationships are modeled. Our primary                                                   documented, current, and available for
                                             when we are speaking for the
responsibility in this arena is t o                                                      the employee to review.
                                             organization and when we are
establish and maintain settings and                                                      P-3C.6—In making evaluations and
                                             expressing a personal Judgment.
relationships that support productive                                                    recommendations, judgments shall be
work and meet professional needs.                                                        based on fact and relevant to the
                                                                                         interests of children and programs.

    Young Children - March 1 9 9 6
P-3C.7—Hiring and promotion shall be        I -4.6—To support policies and laws         the problem to appropriate authorities
based solely on a person's record o f       that promote the well-being of children     or to the public.
accomplishment and ability to carry out     and families. To oppose those that          P-4.11—When a program violates or
the responsibilities of the position.       impair their well-being. To cooperat e      requires its employees to violate this
P-3C.8—In hiring, promotion, and pro-       with other individuals and groups in        Code, it is permissible, after fair as-
vision of training, we shall not partici-   these efforts.                              sessment of the evidence, to disclose
pate in any form of discrimination based    I -4 7 —To further the professional         the identity of that program.
on race, religion, sex, national origin,    development of the field of early child
handicap, age, or sexual preference. We     hood education and to strengthen its
shall be familiar with laws and             commitment to realizing its core values
regulations that pertain to employment      as reflected in this Code.
                                            Principles:                                  Order this informative
                                                                                         NAEYC brochure…
         Section IV:                        P-4.1—We shall communicate openly
 Ethical responsibilities t o               and truthfully about the nature and
                                            extent of services that we provide.            Code of Ethical Conduct
  community and society
                                            P-4.2—We shall not accept or
                                            continue to work in positions for which                  and
    Early childhood programs operate
                                            we are personally unsuited or
within a context of an immediate                                                          Statement of Commitment
                                            professionally unqualified. We shall not
community made up of families and
                                            offer services that we do not have the
other institutions concerned with
                                            competence, qualifications, or
children's welfare. Our responsibilities
                                            resources to provide.
                                                                                           by Stephanie Feeney and
to the community are to provide
programs that meet its needs and t o
                                            P-4.3—We shall be objective and                     Kenneth Kipnis
                                            accurate in reporting the knowledge
cooperate with agencies and
                                            upon which we base our program
professions that share responsibility for
children. Because the larger society has
                                            practices.                                   A code of ethics for early
                                            P-4.4—We shall cooperate with other
a measure of responsibility for the                                                      childhood educators which
                                            professionals who work with children
welfare and protection of children and
                                            and their families.                          offers guidelines for
because of our specialized expertise in
                                            P-4.5—We shall not hire or
child development, we acknowledge an                                                     responsible behavior and set
                                            recommend for employment any person
obligation to serve as a voice for
                                            who is unsuited for a position with
children everywhere.                                                                     forth a common basis for
                                            respect to competence, qualifications,
                                            or character.                                resolving ethical dilemmas
Ideals:                                     P-4.6—We shall report the unethical
                                            or incompetent behavior of a colleague
                                                                                         encountered in early
I -4.1—To provide the community             to a supervisor when informal resolution     childhood education.
with high-quality, culturally sensitive     is not effective.
programs and services.                      P-4.7—We shall be familiar with laws
I -4.2—To promote cooperation               and regulations that serve to protect        NAEYC order #503
among agencies and professions              the children in our programs.
concerned with the welfare of young         P-4.8—We shall not participate in            50 cents each; 100 for $10
children, their families, and their         practices which are in violation of laws,
teachers.                                   and regulations that protect the
I -4.3—To work, through education,          children in our programs.
research, and advocacy, toward an           P- 4.9—When we have evidence that
environmentally safe world in which all     an early childhood program is violating
children are adequately fed, sheltered,     laws or regulations protecting children,
and nurtured.                               we shall report it to persons responsible
I -4.4—To work, through education,          for the program. If compliance is not
research, and advocacy, toward a            accomplished within a reasonable time,
society in which all young children have    we will report the violation t o
access to quality programs.                 appropriate authorities who can be
I -4.5—To promote knowledge and             expected to remedy the situation.
understanding of young children and         P-4- 1 0 —When we have evidence that
their needs. To work toward greater         an agency or a professional charged
social acknowledgment of children's         with providing services to children,
rights and greater social acceptance o f    families, or teachers is failing t o meet
responsibility for their well-being.        its obligations, we acknowledge a col-
                                            lective ethical responsibility to report

    Young Children - March 1 9 9 6