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CODE OF ETHICS OF THE STAFF OF THE DAY CARE CENTRE FOR THE ACQUISITION OF WORK SKILLS BY PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DIFFICULTIES OF MARIA'S WORLD FOUNDATION
The Code of Ethics sets out the basic principles and standards for ethical conduct of the staff working with adult individuals with intellectual difficulties in the areas of education, healthcare, social care, etc.
All employees of Maria's World Foundation, including interns and volunteers, must be familiar and comply with the ethical standards laid down in this Code during the course of performing their professional duties and daily interaction with clients, other service providers and public institutions.
In addition, all employees of Maria's World Foundation must comply with the ethical principles of their respective professions.
The Code of Ethics for staff working with adult individuals with intellectual difficulties and their families aims to achieve the following:
1. Formulate the basic values and principles, which the staff working with clients must be familiar with and adhere to in their practice;
2. affirm the will and striving of staff working with people with intellectual difficulties to behave in an ethical manner in their practical work;
3. Focus behaviour and support staff working with people with intellectual difficulties in resolving the ethical dilemmas they encounter in their practice;
4. Outline the moral responsibilities of professionals working with people with intellectual difficulties to clients with mental difficulties, their families and society.
Basic ethical principles
• Guaranteeing protection of the best interest of the client in accordance with international and national law (UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities), ratified by the Bulgarian Parliament in January 2012;
• Respect for the dignity and human personality of each client of the Day Care Centre;
• Respect for the personal history and religious, ethnic and cultural identity of each client of the Day Care Centre;
• Respect for the right of persons with intellectual difficulties to freedom of opinion and expression and for their will and preferences;
• Individual approach to each client and his/her family;
• Aligning facilities and activities with the needs and preferences of people with intellectual and physical disabilities;
• Voluntary use of services;
• Work in a multidisciplinary team;
• Specific team selection and training procedure;
• Regular professional supervision of the team aimed at maintaining the highest professional standard of quality in service delivery;
Professional quality standards
• Confidentiality – the team of the Day Care Centre must respect the confidentiality of client information at all times;
• Anonymity – if a client wishes to remain anonymous, he/she may do so. Their name would only be entered into the mandatory records to be kept, which are stored under lock and key. Access to the records is question is solely available to team members directly engaged in service delivery and to representatives of public institutions for the purposes of inspection;
• Voluntary participation – participation in social services is voluntary and informed.
• Equality and non-judgmental attitude – the team of the Day Care Centre has a non-judgmental and respectful attitude to all clients of the Centre;
• Sensitivity – the activities at the Day Care Centre have been designed and are provided in a manner that adequately corresponds to the specific nature of the mental functioning of clients (mild and moderate intellectual difficulty and Down syndrome), on the one hand, and to their cultural, ethnic and religious beliefs, on the other hand. The team of the Day Care Centre undergoes special training and is subject to supervision with a view to ensuring they are equipped with the necessary skills enabling adequate service provision.
All professionals working with adults with intellectual difficulties carry out their functions in line with the following values and principles:
Article 1 All persons shall receive care in a respectful manner with due consideration for their inherent dignity.
Article 2 Each client of the Centre has the right to acquire work skills within an integrated and specialist work environment.
Article 3 Each client of the Centre is an inherently unique and valuable individual.
Article 4 Each client has a right to:
• Freely express an opinion;
• Freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
• form his/her own opinion and express it freely;
• participate in decision-making regarding his/her own needs and future.
Article 5 Each client of the Centre has the right to protection against acts that infringe upon his/her dignity, physical, mental or other forms of violence, improper influence or abuse.
Article 6 Each client has the right to protection of his/her normal physical, mental, ethical and social development.
Article 7 Each child and family deserves support enabling them to reach their full potential.
Article 8 Client interests are to be protected in the best possible manner in all cases.
Article 9 Each client in a situation that involves risk and/or abuse needs special protection and being removed from the situation that presents a risk.
Moral obligations to persons with intellectual difficulties
Article 10 Align our practice with the latest knowledge about human development and understanding of the individual specificities of each client of the Centre.
Article 11 Understanding of and respect for the uniqueness of each client of the Centre.
Article 12 Take into account the specific uniqueness of each client of the Centre.
Article 13 Create a safe and healthy environment that promotes the social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of each client of the Centre.
Article 14 Protect the right of each client of the Centre to freely express an opinion on any matter of interest to him/her.
Article 15 Work in the best interest of each client of the Centre.
Article 16 Refrain from involvement in practices that disregard the inherent dignity of each client of the Centre or present a threat to his/her physical and emotional health and development.
Article 17 Refrain from involvement in practices that are in any way discriminatory vis-à-vis the clients of the Centre on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, language, ability or status, or family conduct or convictions.
Article 18 Recognise the symptoms of violence and abuse over people with intellectual difficulties — physical, material, sexual, verbal, emotional abuse or neglect. Be familiar with and adhere to the laws and procedures protecting people with intellectual difficulties from violence.
Article 19 In case of suspected abuse, notify the respective competent institutions and ensure that appropriate measures are taken.
Article 20 When suspected abuse of a client of the Centre is alleged by a third party, provide full assistance to ensure that appropriate measures for client protection are taken.
Article 21 When we become aware of actions or situations that present a risk to the health and safety of the Centre's clients, we have the moral and legal responsibility to notify the respective competent bodies.
Moral responsibilities to the family members (lawful representatives) of the persons with intellectual difficulties
Article 22 Our first and foremost responsibility is to support families in building skills for an independent life and employment of people with intellectual difficulties.
Article 23 Respect the dignity of each family and its culture, traditions, language and beliefs.
Article 24 Respect the values of families and their right to be involved in decision-making concerning the client's development at the Day Care Centre.
Article 25 Respect the right of families to be informed about the manner of working with clients at the Centre.
Article 26 Inform parents/guardians about any research projects the Centre's clients have been included in and endeavour to present opportunities to exercise their right to refuse participation in a guilt-free manner. Prevent and refrain from participation in research, which present a risk or may harm the health, education, development or welfare of the Centre's clients.
Article 27 Inform parents/guardians about the public events in which the clients of the Centre participate and present them with opportunities to exercise their right to refuse participation in a guilt-free manner. Prevent and refrain from participation in public events, which present a risk or may harm the health, education, development or welfare of the Centre's clients.
Article 28 Refrain from using any relations established with families in order to obtain a personal gain and from forming relationships with family members that may compromise the efficiency of our work with the clients of the Centre.
Article 29 Protect and ensure the confidentiality of information and respect the family's right to privacy, except in cases of mistreatment and abuse. This shall not apply where we have reasons to believe that the welfare of the client of the Centre is at risk.
Article 30 We are committed to developing rules for the protection of the confidentiality of information that are accessible and mandatory for all staff and client families. Confidential information about the clients of the Centre may only be disclosed after prior permission from the family has been obtained. The rule does not apply in cases of mistreatment, inadequate care and abuse.
Article 31 Where a conflict arises between family members, we will work openly, sharing our impressions of the client of the Centre, with a view to assisting all parties engaged in making an informed decision. However, we will strictly refrain from taking sides in the conflict.
Moral responsibilities to colleagues
Article 32 Build and maintain relationships based on respect, trust, cooperation and a collegiate spirit.
Article 33 Exchange information and resources that are relevant to the welfare and protection of the rights of people with intellectual difficulties.
Article 34 Work to maintain and affirm our authority and that of our colleagues by refraining from actions that may undermine the prestige of the profession and show zero tolerance to such actions.
Article 35 Work to affirm the authority and positive image of the organisation by refraining from actions that may have a detrimental effect on its reputation and show zero tolerance to such actions.
Moral responsibilities to society
Article 36 Provide programmes and services aimed at people with intellectual difficulties that conform to the highest standards for quality and good practice in the area. We shall refrain from providing services for which we do not have the requisite competence, qualifications, resources or licence.
Article 37 Work to create a safe public environment in which people with intellectual difficulties receive adequate social, educational, health and legal care and services, have the right to employment and social inclusion, and to a life without violence, exploitation and abuse.
Article 38 Work for better cooperation between organisations and interdisciplinary cooperation between the professions concerned with the wellbeing of people with intellectual difficulties.
Article 39 Promote and contribute to better understanding by society of people with intellectual difficulties and their needs.
Article 40 Work to promote the rights of people with intellectual difficulties and the sensitivity of society to the infringement of those rights.
Article 41 Work to support the implementation and enforcement of the policies and laws on the wellbeing of people with intellectual difficulties and their families and oppose those who infringe upon them.
I undertake to:
1. Respect the uniqueness and potential of each client of the Centre.
2. Work in the best interest of each client of the Centre.
3. In my work refrain from using physical punishments and methods that degrade the dignity of any client of the Centre.
4. Respect and support families in the encouragement of clients of the Centre to acquire skills for an independent life and work skills.
5. Respect my colleagues and support and encourage them in ensuring compliance with this Code of Ethics.
6. Maintain a high standard of professional conduct by continually expanding my knowledge and skills.
7. Act as an advocate of people with intellectual difficulties and their families in the community and society.
8. Comply with the ethical rules laid down herein.
I declare that I have read and understood the text and accept to comply with and follow the principles laid down herein.