Discuss the issue of fraud in the provision of behavior analytic services.
1. As a BCBA, what steps can you take to prevent fraud in your work place?
2. Discuss this from the perspective of a supervisor
3. Discuss this from the perspective of an employee in the clinic setting.
4. List all applicable BCBA ethics codes sections. Provide the rationale for the chosen code(s)
You can use the following articles and websites:
Professional and Ethical
Compliance Code for
BEHAVIOR ANALYST CERTIFICATION BOARD®
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB’s) Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for
Behavior Analysts (the “Code”) consolidates, updates, and replaces the BACB’s Professional
Disciplinary and Ethical Standards and Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts.
The Code includes 10 sections relevant to professional and ethical behavior of behavior analysts,
along with a glossary of terms. Effective January 1, 2016, all BACB applicants and certificants will
be required to adhere to the Code.
In the original version of the Guidelines for Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysts, the authors acknowledged
ethics codes from the following organizations: American Anthropological Association, American Educational Research
Association, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, California Association for Behavior
Analysis, Florida Association for Behavior Analysis, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of School
Psychologists, and Texas Association for Behavior Analysis. We acknowledge and thank these professional organizations
that have provided substantial guidance and clear models from which the Code has evolved.
Approved by the BACB’s Board of Directors on August 7, 2014.
This document should be referenced as: Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2014). Professional and ethical compliance code for
behavior analysts. Littleton, CO: Author.
© 2014 Behavior Analyst Certification Board,® Inc. (BACB®), all rights reserved. Ver. March 18, 2019.
Responsible Conduct of Behavior Analysts
Reliance on Scientific Knowledge
Boundaries of Competence
Maintaining Competence through Professional Development
Professional and Scientific Relationships
Multiple Relationships and Conflicts of Interest
Behavior Analysts’ Responsibility to Clients
Third-Party Involvement in Services
Rights and Prerogatives of Clients
Documenting Professional Work and Research
Records and Data
Contracts, Fees, and Financial Arrangements
Accuracy in Billing Reports
Referrals and Fees
Interrupting or Discontinuing Services
Behavior-Analytic Assessment Consent
Explaining Assessment Results
Behavior Analysts and the Behavior-Change Program
Involving Clients in Planning and Consent
Individualized Behavior-Change Programs
Approving Behavior-Change Programs
Describing Behavior-Change Program Objectives
Describing Conditions for Behavior-Change Program Success
Environmental Conditions that Interfere with Implementation
Considerations Regarding Punishment Procedures
Least Restrictive Procedures
Avoiding Harmful Reinforcers
Discontinuing Behavior-Change Programs and Behavior-Analytic
Behavior Analysts as Supervisors
Designing Effective Supervision and Training
Communication of Supervision Conditions
Providing Feedback to Supervisees
Evaluating the Effects of Supervision
Behavior Analysts’ Ethical Responsibility to the Profession of Behavior Analysts
Disseminating Behavior Analysis
Behavior Analysts’ Ethical Responsibility to Colleagues
Promoting an Ethical Culture
Ethical Violations by Others and Risk of Harm
Avoiding False or Deceptive Statements
Statements by Others
Media Presentations and Media-Based Services
Testimonials and Advertising
Behavior Analysts and Research
Conforming with Laws and Regulations
Characteristics of Responsible Research
Using Confidential Information for Didactic or Instructive Purposes
Grant and Journal Reviews
Accuracy and Use of Data
10.0 Behavior Analysts’ Ethical Responsibility to the BACB
10.01 Truthful and Accurate Information Provided to the BACB
10.02 Timely Responding, Reporting, and Updating of Information Provided to the BACB
10.03 Confidentiality and BACB Intellectual Property
10.04 Examination Honesty and Irregularities
10.05 Compliance with BACB Supervision and Coursework Standards
10.06 Being Familiar with This Code
10.07 Discouraging Misrepresentation by Non-Certified Individuals
1.0 Responsible Conduct of Behavior Analysts.
Behavior analysts maintain the high standards of behavior of the profession.
1.01 Reliance on Scientific Knowledge.
Behavior analysts rely on professionally derived knowledge based on science and behavior analysis when
making scientific or professional judgments in human service provision, or when engaging in scholarly or
1.02 Boundaries of Competence.
(a) All behavior analysts provide services, teach, and conduct research only within the boundaries of their
competence, defined as being commensurate with their education, training, and supervised experience.
(b) Behavior analysts provide services, teach, or conduct research in new areas (e.g., populations,
techniques, behaviors) only after first undertaking appropriate study, training, supervision, and/or
consultation from persons who are competent in those areas.
1.03 Maintaining Competence through Professional Development.
Behavior analysts maintain knowledge of current scientific and professional information in their areas
of practice and undertake ongoing efforts to maintain competence in the skills they use by reading the
appropriate literature, attending conferences and conventions, participating in workshops, obtaining
additional coursework, and/or obtaining and maintaining appropriate professional credentials.
(a) Behavior analysts are truthful and honest and arrange the environment to promote truthful and honest
behavior in others.
(b) Behavior analysts do not implement contingencies that would cause others to engage in fraudulent,
illegal, or unethical conduct.
(c) Behavior analysts follow through on obligations, and contractual and professional commitments with
high quality work and refrain from making professional commitments they cannot keep.
(d) Behavior analysts’ behavior conforms to the legal and ethical codes of the social and professional
community of which they are members. (See also, 10.02a Timely Responding, Reporting, and Updating
of Information Provided to the BACB)
(e) If behavior analysts’ ethical responsibilities conflict with law or any policy of an organization with
which they are affiliated, behavior analysts make known their commitment to this Code and take steps
to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner in accordance with law.
Professional and Ethical Compliance Code
for Behavior Analysts
1.05 Professional and Scientific Relationships.
(a) Behavior analysts provide behavior-analytic services only in the context of a defined, professional,
or scientific relationship or role.
(b) When behavior analysts provide behavior-analytic services, they use language that is fully
understandable to the recipient of those services while remaining conceptually systematic with
the profession of behavior analysis. They provide appropriate information prior to service delivery
about the nature of such services and appropriate information later about results and conclusions.
(c) Where differences of age, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual
orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status significantly affect behavior analysts’ work
concerning particular individuals or groups, behavior analysts obtain the training, experience,
consultation, and/or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their services, or they make
(d) In their work-related activities, behavior analysts do not engage in discrimination against
individuals or groups based on age, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual
orientation, disability, language, socioeconomic status, or any basis proscribed by law.
(e) Behavior analysts do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons
with whom they interact in their work based on factors such as those persons’ age, gender, race,
culture, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic
status, in accordance with law.
(f) Behavior analysts recognize that their personal problems and conflicts may interfere with their
effectiveness. Behavior analysts refrain from providing services when their personal circumstances
may compromise delivering services to the best of their abilities.
1.06 Multiple Relationships and Conflicts of Interest.
(a) Due to the potentially harmful effects of multiple relationships, behavior analysts avoid multiple
(b) Behavior analysts must always be sensitive to the potentially harmful effects of multiple
relationships. If behavior analysts find that, due to unforeseen factors, a multiple relationship has
arisen, they seek to resolve it.
(c) Behavior analysts recognize and inform clients and supervisees about the potential harmful effects
of multiple relationships.
(d) Behavior analysts do not accept any gifts from or give any gifts to clients because this constitutes a
1.07 Exploitative Relationships.
(a) Behavior analysts do not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or other
authority such as students, supervisees, employees, research participants, and clients.
(b) Behavior analysts do not engage in sexual relationships with clients, students, or supervisees,
because such relationships easily impair judgment or become exploitative.
(c) Behavior analysts refrain from any sexual relationships with clients, students, or supervisees, for at
least two years after the date the professional relationship has formally ended.
(d) Behavior analysts do not barter for services, unless a written agreement is in place for the barter that
is (1) requested by the client or supervisee; (2) customary to the area where services are provided;
and (3) fair and commensurate with the value of behavior-analytic services provided.
2.0 Behavior Analysts’ Responsibility to Clients.
Behavior analysts have a responsibility to operate in the best interest of clients. The term client as used
here is broadly applicable to whomever behavior analysts provide services, whether an individual
person (service recipient), a parent or guardian of a service recipient, an organizational representative, a
public or private organization, a firm, or a corporation.
2.01 Accepting Clients.
Behavior analysts accept as clients only those individuals or entities whose requested services are
commensurate with the behavior analysts’ education, training, experience, available resources,
and organizational policies. In lieu of these conditions, behavior analysts must function under the
supervision of or in consultation with a behavior analyst whose credentials permit performing such
Behavior analysts’ responsibility is to all parties affected by behavior-analytic services. When multiple
parties are involved and could be defined as a client, a hierarchy of parties must be established and
communicated from the outset of the defined relationship. Behavior analysts identify and
communicate who the primary ultimate beneficiary of services is in any given situation and advocate
for his or her best interests.
(a) Behavior analysts arrange for appropriate consultations and referrals based principally on the best
interests of their clients, with appropriate consent, and subject to other relevant considerations,
including applicable law and contractual obligations.
(b) When indicated and professionally appropriate, behavior analysts cooperate with other
professionals, in a manner that is consistent with the philosophical assumptions and principles of
behavior analysis, in order to effectively and appropriately serve their clients.
2.04 Third-Party Involvement in Services.
(a) When behavior analysts agree to provide services to a person or entity at the request of a third
party, behavior analysts clarify, to the extent feasible and at the outset of the service, the nature of
the relationship with each party and any potential conflicts. This clarification includes the role of
the behavior analyst (such as therapist, organizational consultant, or expert witness), the probable
uses of the services provided or the information obtained, and the fact that there may be limits to
(b) If there is a foreseeable risk of behavior analysts being called upon to perform conflicting roles
because of the involvement of a third party, behavior analysts clarify the nature and direction of
their responsibilities, keep all parties appropriately informed as matters develop, and resolve the
situation in accordance with this Code.
(c) When providing services to a minor or individual who is a member of a protected population at the
request of a third party, behavior analysts ensure that the parent or client-surrogate of the ultimate
recipient of services is informed of the nature and scope of services to be provided, as well as their
right to all service records and data.
(d) Behavior analysts put the client’s care above all others and, should the third party make
requirements for services that are contraindicated by the behavior analyst’s recommendations,
behavior analysts are obligated to resolve such conflicts in the best interest of the client. If said
conflict cannot be resolved, that behavior analyst’s services to the client may be discontinued
following appropriate transition.
2.05 Rights and Prerogatives of Clients.
(a) The rights of the client are paramount and behavior analysts support clients’ legal rights and
(b) Clients and supervisees must be provided, on request, an accurate and current set of the behavior
(c) Permission for electronic recording of interviews and service delivery sessions is secured from
clients and relevant staff in all relevant settings. Consent for different uses must be obtained
specifically and separately.
(d) Clients and supervisees must be informed of their rights and about procedures to lodge complaints
about professional practices of behavior analysts with the employer, appropriate authorities, and the
(e) Behavior analysts comply with any requirements for criminal background checks.
2.06 Maintaining Confidentiality.
(a) Behavior analysts have a primary obligation and take reasonable precautions to protect the
confidentiality of those with whom they work or consult, recognizing that confidentiality may be
established by law, organizational rules, or professional or scientific relationships.
(b) Behavior analysts discuss confidentiality at the outset of the relationship and thereafter as new
circumstances may warrant.
(c) In order to minimize intrusions on privacy, behavior analysts include only information germane
to the purpose for which the communication is made in written, oral, and electronic reports,
consultations, and other avenues.
(d) Behavior analysts discuss confidential information obtained in clinical or consulting relationships,
or evaluative data concerning clients, students, research participants, supervisees, and employees,
only for appropriate scientific or professional purposes and only with persons clearly concerned
with such matters.
(e) Behavior analysts must not share or create situations likely to result in the sharing of any identifying
information (written, photographic, or video) about current clients and supervisees within social
2.07 Maintaining Records.
(a) Behavior analysts maintain appropriate confidentiality in creating, storing, accessing, transferring,
and disposing of records under their control, whether these are written, automated, electronic, or in
any other medium.
(b) Behavior analysts maintain and dispose of records in accordance with applicable laws, regulations,
corporate policies, and organizational policies, and in a manner that permits compliance with the
requirements of this Code.
Behavior analysts never disclose confidential information without the consent of the client, except
as mandated by law, or where permitted by law for a valid purpose, such as (1) to provide needed
professional services to the client, (2) to obtain appropriate professional consultations, (3) to protect
the client or others from harm, or (4) to obtain payment for services, in which instance disclosure is
limited to the minimum that is necessary to achieve the purpose. Behavior analysts recognize that
parameters of consent for disclosure should be acquired at the outset of any defined relationship and is
an ongoing procedure throughout the duration of the professional relationship.
2.09 Treatment/Intervention Efficacy.
(a) Clients have a right to effective treatment (i.e., based on the research literature and adapted to the
individual client). Behavior analysts always have the obligation to advocate for and educate the
client about scientifically supported, most-effective treatment procedures. Effective treatment
procedures have been validated as having both long-term and short-term benefits to clients and
(b) Behavior analysts have the responsibility to advocate for the appropriate amount and level of
service provision and oversight required to meet the defined behavior-change program goals.
(c) In those instances where more than one scientifically supported treatment has been established,
additional factors may be considered in selecting interventions, including, but not limited to,
efficiency and cost-effectiveness, risks and side-effects of the interventions, client preference, and
practitioner experience and training.
(d) Behavior analysts review and appraise the effects of any treatments about which they are aware that
might impact the goals of the behavior-change program, and their possible impact on the behavior-
change program, to the extent possible.
2.10 Documenting Professional Work and Research.
(a) Behavior analysts appropriately document their professional work in order to facilitate provision
of services later by them or by other professionals, to ensure accountability, and to meet other
requirements of organizations or the law.
(b) Behavior analysts have a responsibility to create and maintain documentation in the kind of detail
and quality that would be consistent with best practices and the law.
2.11 Records and Data.
(a) Behavior analysts create, maintain, disseminate, store, retain, and dispose of records and data
relating to their research, practice, and other work in accordance with applicable laws, regulations,
and policies; in a manner that permits compliance with the requirements of this Code; and in a
manner that allows for appropriate transition of service oversight at any moment in time.
(b) Behavior analysts must retain records and data for at least seven (7) years and as otherwise required
2.12 Contracts, Fees, and Financial Arrangements.
(a) Prior to the implementation of services, behavior analysts ensure that there is in place a signed
contract outlining the responsibilities of all parties, the scope of behavior-analytic services to be
provided, and behavior analysts’ obligations under this Code.
(b) As early as is feasible in a professional or scientific relationship, behavior analysts reach an
agreement with their clients specifying compensation and billing arrangements.
(c) Behavior analysts’ fee practices are consistent with law and behavior analysts do not misrepresent
their fees. If limitations to services can be anticipated because of limitations in funding, this is
discussed with the client as early as is feasible.
(d) When funding circumstances change, the financial responsibilities and limits must be revisited with
2.13 Accuracy in Billing Reports.
Behavior analysts accurately state the nature of the services provided, the fees or charges, the identity of
the provider, relevant outcomes, and other required descriptive data.
2.14 Referrals and Fees.
Behavior analysts must not receive or provide money, gifts, or other enticements for any professional
referrals. Referrals should include multiple options and be made based on objective determination
of the client need and subsequent alignment with the repertoire of the referee. When providing or
receiving a referral, the extent of any relationship between the two parties is disclosed to the client.
2.15 Interrupting or Discontinuing Services.
(a) Behavior analysts act in the best interests of the client and supervisee to avoid interruption or
disruption of service.
(b) Behavior analysts make reasonable and timely efforts for facilitating the continuation of behavior-
analytic services in the event of unplanned interruptions (e.g., due to illness, impairment,
unavailability, relocation, disruption of funding, disaster).
(c) When entering into employment or contractual relationships, behavior analysts provide for orderly
and appropriate resolution of responsibility for services in the event that the employment or
contractual relationship ends, with paramount consideration given to the welfare of the ultimate
beneficiary of services.
(d) Discontinuation only occurs after efforts to transition have been made. Behavior analysts
discontinue a professional relationship in a timely manner when the client: (1) no longer needs the
service, (2) is not benefiting from the service, (3) is being harmed by continued service, or (4) when
the client requests discontinuation. (See also, 4.11 Discontinuing Behavior-Change Programs and
(e) Behavior analysts do not abandon clients and supervisees. Prior to discontinuation, for whatever
reason, behavior analysts: discuss service needs, provide appropriate pre-termination services,
suggest alternative service providers as appropriate, and, upon consent, take other reasonable steps
to facilitate timely transfer of responsibility to another provider.
3.0 Assessing Behavior.
Behavior analysts using behavior-analytic assessment techniques do so for purposes that are
appropriate given current research.
3.01 Behavior-Analytic Assessment.
(a) Behavior analysts conduct current assessments prior to making recommendations or developing
behavior-change programs. The type of assessment used is determined by client’s needs and consent,
environmental parameters, and other contextual variables. When behavior analysts are developing a
behavior-reduction program, they must first conduct a functional assessment.
(b) Behavior analysts have an obligation to collect and graphically display data, using behavior-analytic
conventions, in a manner that allows for decisions and recommendations for behavior-change
3.02 Medical Consultation.
Behavior analysts recommend seeking a medical consultation if there is any reasonable possibility that a
referred behavior is influenced by medical or biological variables.
3.03 Behavior-Analytic Assessment Consent.
(a) Prior to conducting an assessment, behavior analysts must explain to the client the procedure(s) to
be used, who will participate, and how the resulting information will be used.
(b) Behavior analysts must obtain the client’s written approval of the assessment procedures before
3.04 Explaining Assessment Results.
Behavior analysts explain assessment results using language and graphic displays of data that are
reasonably understandable to the client.
3.05 Consent-Client Records.
Behavior analysts obtain the written consent of the client before obtaining or disclosing client records
from or to other sources, for assessment purposes.
4.0 Behavior Analysts and the Behavior-Change
Behavior analysts are responsible for all aspects of the behavior-change program from conceptualization
to implementation and ultimately to discontinuation.
4.01 Conceptual Consistency.
Behavior analysts design behavior-change programs that are conceptually consistent with behavior-
4.02 Involving Clients in Planning and Consent.
Behavior analysts involve the client in the planning of and consent for behavior-change programs.
4.03 Individualized Behavior-Change Programs.
(a) Behavior analysts must tailor behavior-change programs to the unique behaviors, environmental
variables, assessment results, and goals of each client.
(b) Behavior analysts do not plagiarize other professionals’ behavior-change programs.
4.04 Approving Behavior-Change Programs.
Behavior analysts must obtain the client’s written approval of the behavior-change program before
implementation or making significant modifications (e.g., change in goals, use of new procedures).
4.05 Describing Behavior-Change Program Objectives.
Behavior analysts describe, in writing, the objectives of the behavior-change program to the client
before attempting to implement the program. To the extent possible, a risk-benefit analysis should be
conducted on the procedures to be implemented to reach the objective. The description of program
objectives and the means by which they will be accomplished is an ongoing process throughout the
duration of the client-practitioner relationship.
4.06 Describing Conditions for Behavior-Change Program Success.
Behavior analysts describe to the client the environmental conditions that are necessary for the
behavior-change program to be effective.
4.07 Environmental Conditions that Interfere with Implementation.
(a) If environmental conditions prevent implementation of a behavior-change program, behavior
analysts recommend that other professional assistance (e.g., assessment, consultation or therapeutic
intervention by other professionals) be sought.
(b) If environmental conditions hinder implementation of the behavior-change program, behavior
analysts seek to eliminate the environmental constraints, or identify in writing the obstacles to
4.08 Considerations Regarding Punishment Procedures.
(a) Behavior analysts recommend reinforcement rather than punishment whenever possible.
(b) If punishment procedures are necessary, behavior analysts always include reinforcement procedures
for alternative behavior in the behavior-change program.
(c) Before implementing punishment-based procedures, behavior analysts ensure that appropriate
steps have been taken to implement reinforcement-based procedures unless the severity or
dangerousness of the behavior necessitates immediate use of aversive procedures.
(d) Behavior analysts ensure that aversive procedures are accompanied by an increased level of training,
supervision, and oversight. Behavior analysts must evaluate the effectiveness of aversive procedures
in a timely manner and modify the behavior-change program if it is ineffective. Behavior analysts
always include a plan to discontinue the use of aversive procedures when no longer needed.
4.09 Least Restrictive Procedures.
Behavior analysts review and appraise the restrictiveness of procedures and always recommend the
least restrictive procedures likely to be effective.
4.10 Avoiding Harmful Reinforcers.
Behavior analysts minimize the use of items as potential reinforcers that may be harmful to the health
and development of the client, or that may require excessive motivating operations to be effective.
4.11 Discontinuing Behavior-Change Programs and Behavior-Analytic Services.
(a) Behavior analysts establish understandable and objective (i.e., measurable) criteria for the
discontinuation of the behavior change program and describe them to the client. (See also, 2.15d
Interrupting or Discontinuing Services)
(b) Behavior analysts discontinue services with the client when the established criteria for
discontinuation are attained, as in when a series of agreed-upon goals have been met. (See also,
2.15d Interrupting or Discontinuing Services)
5.0 Behavior Analysts as Supervisors.
When behavior analysts are functioning as supervisors, they must take full responsibility for all facets
of this undertaking. (See also, 1.06 Multiple Relationships and Conflict of Interest, 1.07 Exploitative
Relationships, 2.05 Rights and Prerogatives of Clients, 2.06 Maintaining Confidentiality, 2.15
Interrupting or Discontinuing Services, 8.04 Media Presentations and Media-Based Services, 9.02
Characteristics of Responsible Research, 10.05 Compliance with BACB Supervision and …