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Client Assessment & Discontinuation

Post Series: Ethics Scenario Archive


“BCBA recently had clinic administration call parents of early learner to pick up during a tantrum and discharged child with a referral to get a “mental health evaluation”. No behavior data was taken and no assessment of the tantrum behaviors. Behaviors were typical of an early learner starting ABA services.”

Committee Input (e.g., considerations for pathways forward, potential barriers, potential solutions):

In accordance with Ethics Code 7.02, we would encourage the submitter to foremost review if addressing the concern/individual directly would correct the issue.  The BACB recommends that all persons suspected of an ethics violation be contacted directly wherever possible.  You can find further information on the steps for reporting an ethics violation on the BACB website under the Ethics tab.If the person submitting this is a BCBA and felt that their colleague was performing outside of their scope during assessment or the behavioral incidents (before/after), we encourage you to reflect on what your immediate actions could have been during this process.In review of the submission, the committee is recommending that parties involved explore the following codes in relation to this issue.  The committee would recommend additional training and mentorship for all BCBAs to practice within their scope of competence in all areas including (1) accepting clients within the scope, (2) seeking supervision, (3) interrupting and discontinuing services, and (4) proper assessment methodology.Additionally, we recommend that the submitter consider their company’s internal grievance policy/process to ensure that the BCBA in question receives adequate supervision moving forward.  Finally, if a board complaint is found to be warranted after review of the Ethics Toolkit for decision-making and continuity of care, the submitter should also file concerns/reports to the board of licensure (AZBoPE).

Ethics Codes (specific standards that could apply to support/oppose):

  • 1.02 Boundaries of Competence
  • 2.01 Accepting Clients
  • 2.15 Interrupting or Discontinuing Services (subpart d)
  • 2.15 Interrupting or Discontinuing Services (subpart e)
  • 3.01 Behavior-Analytic Assessment
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