The Code of Ethics is not intended to duplicate or paraphrase law, statute, or agency personnel policies, nor is it intended to qualify in any way an employee’s obligation to comply with those authorities. It is instead a tool to be used in helping staff work through the often difficult ethical issues that confront them on a regular basis.
My first responsibility is to the people I serve. In working through ethical dilemmas, the best interests of a person with developmental disabilities are my first concern.
I will honor and respect all people as unique and valuable individuals. I recognize the danger of imposing my own priorities and values, and will seek to assist people in determining the course of their own lives and directing the means of achieving their own goals.
I will recognize and support the central importance of family and friends. Each person is the center of a support network composed of varying numbers of family and acquaintances, including those who have a close and long-term relationship and therefore know the individual better than any professional. Even though these relationships may not always seem wise or productive, I will recognize and honor their significance.
I will support the right of adults to exercise freedom of choice in personal relationships. I will provide information and resources in a positive and respectful manner, encouraging consumers to gain self-confidence and experience all aspects of life.
I will attempt to balance legitimate need for protection with the right to function as a member of the larger society. Through education and training, people must be empowered to deal with daily life in their neighborhood and avoid threats to health and safety. I also recognize that over-protection can harm persons with developmental disabilities by limiting their ability to grow and learn.
I will be cautious in making assumptions about developmental potential. I understand that behavior, appearance, and even test scores can cause professionals and family members to make hasty judgments about the ability of an individual to learn and apply new skills. I will focus as much as possible on what people can do and their potential, rather than solely on deficits and limitations.
I will support full integration of people with developmental disabilities. While many services and supports are necessarily unique to people with developmental disabilities, I will endeavor to assist and encourage people to exercise their right to use those services and supports that are available to all community members.
I will stay current in my field. People with developmental disabilities deserve my best effort to keep up with innovations in the field of developmental disabilities so that I can identify and present those service options that are most likely to produce positive results.
I will apply the principles of teamwork both within VMRC and without. The cornerstone of teamwork is mutual respect. While our roles are often separate, I will focus on common goals, sharing equally in the benefits and daily challenges of making difficult decisions.
I will respect the right to privacy of persons with developmental disabilities. I will follow the lead of the individual and use my best professional judgment in sharing information with family, friends, and people who provide support to the consumer.