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Posted: Sep 6, 2007 18:38


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Mark Sklarow - Executive Director
Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA)
Fairfax, Virginia

One doesn't need to look beyond current news headlines in medicine, the college loan industry or professional sports to see that ethics are very much in the forefront of both media attention and the public's faith in areas that had been immune from such suspicion. This focus on honesty and credibility is welcome as the focus on education becomes sharper.

IECA is proud of the leadership it has shown in demanding the highest standards in professional ethics. As the wilderness therapy, emotional growth school and RTC industries have grown and changed, IECA's expectations of its members have also evolved with more exact and stringent guidelines governing member behavior.

For over 30 years IECA members have been precluded from accepting placement fees, transforming what had been a common practice and ensuring that families were receiving advice based only on the best interest of their child.

IECA has moved to establish more stringent requirements for membership in recent years that include a review of marketing materials, professional references, and a demonstrated history of successful placement advice. Those working with teens in crisis are expected to demonstrate further competence that qualifies them with this difficult work. In recent years, working closely with NATSAP, experts in ethics and other leaders, IECA has adopted new, formal limits on the type and value of gifts its members may accept. These new rules have had an immediate impact as programs have redirected marketing funds to scholarships, foundation support and educational training. These new rules also preclude any two-way exchange of referrals, disallowed as a form of compensation. As before, IECA has led the way to guarantee that only the interest of the teen guides the consultant's work.

More information about the new Principles of Good Practice can be found on the IECA web site at Included is a complete copy of the principles that all IECA members are required to sign annually.

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