Code of Ethics
Hope Center for Children (HCFC), Inc. is committed to the highest ethical standards and the fulfillment of our mission and values. The success of HCFC and our reputation depend upon the ethical conduct of everyone affiliated with us. Volunteers, employees, directors and officers set an example for each other by the pursuit of excellence in high standards of performance, professionalism, and ethical conduct. While no document can anticipate all of the challenges that may arise, this document communicates key guidelines to assist HCFC volunteers, employees and officers in making good decisions that are ethical in accordance with applicable legal requirements.
- PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY
A personal commitment to integrity in all circumstances benefits each individual as well as the organization. We therefore:
- Strive to meet the highest standards of performance based on quality research-based services, to be responsive to community needs, and work to prevent child maltreatment and build strong families.
- Communicate honestly and openly and avoid misrepresentation.
- Promote a working environment where honesty, open communication and minority opinions are valued and in accordance with our concern/grievance policy.
- Maintain an active governance committee which ensures proper compliance and oversight by the Board of Directors.
HCFC is responsible to its stakeholders. To uphold this trust we:
- Promote good stewardship of resources, including fees, grants and other contributions that are used to pay operating expenses, salaries, and employee benefits.
- Commit to using funds and resources as intended and in compliance with all applicable anti-terrorist financing and asset control laws, statutes, and executive orders.
- Follow the system of internal control as outlined in our financial policies and procedures. The Board of Directors commits to ensuring these procedures are reviewed regularly and implemented.
- Engage an independent accounting firm to conduct an examination of our financial statements, in accordance with generally accepted accounting and auditing standards.
- Will always have an active finance and audit committee which will review finance statements at least quarterly, review updates and oversee all finance policies and procedures. The committee will engage and review the audit and will be made up primarily of finance experts.
- Observe and comply with all laws and regulations affecting HCFC.
- Commit to proper use of resources and to limiting waste or the abuse of resources for their intended purposes.
- Remain committed to appropriate screenings of staff and volunteers and to restricting access to clients when staff or volunteers have a criminal record, behaviors, or are in the midst of an investigation that would compromise safety, client confidentiality, or HCFC mission.
3. SOLICITATIONS AND VOLUNTARY GIVING
The most responsive contributors are those who have the opportunity to become informed and involved. We therefore:
- Promote voluntary giving in dealing with donors and vendors.
- Refrain from any use of coercion in fundraising activities.
- Look for ways to consistently educate our donors on our work and ways that they may volunteer.
- Those doing fundraising within the organization will follow the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethics.
- Increase public awareness of HCFC using marketing that is ethical and befitting to the organization and clients served.
- Fundraising will not be done for personal gain.
4. DIVERSITY, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY & CULTURAL COMPETENCY
HCFC is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the principle of diversity. We therefore:
- Value, champion, and embrace diversity in all aspects of HCFC activities and respect others without regard to race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or status as qualified disabled or handicapped individual.
- Support equal opportunity employment programs.
- Refuse to engage in or tolerate any other form of discrimination or harassment.
- Address matters of cultural insensitivity seriously, taking proactive steps toward better understanding of one another among staff, volunteers, and the residents and families that we serve.
- Ensure that staff is trained on issues of cultural diversity and that individuals served have a copy of their client rights.
- Provide regular training of staff and review of the HCFC cultural competency plan.
5. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
To avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest that could tarnish the reputation of HCFC or undermine public trust, HCFC employees and Directors will:
- Avoid any activity or outside interest that conflicts or appears to conflict with the best interest of HCFC, including involvement with a current or potential HCFC vendor.
- Ensure that outside employment and other activities do not adversely affect the performance of their HCFC duties or the achievement of HCFC’s mission.
- Ensure that travel, entertainment, and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the HCFC mission and not for personal gain or interests.
- Decline any gift, gratuity, or favor in the performance of HCFC duties except for items of nominal value, unless directly related to HCFC business.
- Employees, Directors, Officers, and Volunteers of HCFC will never commit HCFC, through written or verbal consent, to any specified contract, services, or other engagement unless the Board of Directors has already authorized him/her to do so, or unless this responsibility is already a part of his/her outlined job responsibilities.
- Refrain from influencing the selection of staff, consultants, or vendors who are relatives or personal friends/affiliates, or who employ or are employed by a person whose relationship could adversely affect the appearance of impartiality.
- No member of the Board of Directors shall knowingly take any action or make any statement intended to influence the conduct of HCFC in such a way as to confer any benefit on such member or on any corporation in which he or she has a significant interest as stakeholder, stockholder, director or officer.
- In the event that a matter for consideration or decision comes before the Board of Directors that raises potential conflict of interest for any member of the Board, the member shall disclose the conflict of interest as soon as he or she becomes aware of it, and the disclosure shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
- Any member of the Board of Directors who is aware of a potential conflict of interest with respect to any matter coming before the Board shall not vote in connection with the matter.
- These guidelines shall not be construed as preventing or discouraging any Board of Directors from disclosing relevant information with respect to any matter as to which he or she has knowledge on from answering questions or stating his or her position with respect to any such matter.
- Directors shall not knowingly take any action, or make any statement, intended to influence the conduct of HCFC in such a way to confer any financial benefit on themselves, their immediate family members, or any organization in which they or their family members have a significant interest as stakeholders, directors, or officers.
- Each Director shall annually complete a disclosure of all known potential conflicts of interest.
6. CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY
Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism and of the utmost importance for all the families and individuals that we serve. We therefore:
- Ensure that all information which is confidential, privileged, or nonpublic, remains undisclosed (except by due legal mandate or the safety of individuals involved).
- When information is given such as codes for internet, website, email, etc. these codes will be kept in confidence and shared with no one.
- For volunteers charged with updating public information such as contact lists, the website, newsletters, etc., volunteers will never post, send out or change information without prior authorization from their staff contact person.
- Respect the privacy rights of all individuals in the performance of their HCFC duties.
- Will not print or publish individual names of individuals served without written consent.
- Any marketing collateral created will follow confidentiality and privacy policies.
- Never repeat information about a client served to anyone other than staff or board members, unless there is absolutely no personal identifying information (such as a name) included.
- Ask and train volunteers to respect the privacy of residents by refraining from asking personal questions.
- Staff and volunteers will maintain professional boundaries with clients by not communicating outside of the professional setting and by staff and volunteers minimizing the amount of personal information that they share with clients.
7. POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS
HCFC encourages individual participation in civic affairs. However, as a charitable organization, HCFC may not make contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee and may not intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. We therefore:
- Refrain from making any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee on behalf of HCFC.
- Refrain from making any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee in a manner that may create the appearance that the contribution is on behalf of HCFC.
- Refrain from using any organizational financial resources, facilities, or personnel to endorse or oppose a candidate for public office.
- Clearly communicate that we are not acting on behalf of the organization, if identified as an official of HCFC while engaging in political activities in an individual capacity.
- Refrain from engaging in political activities in a manner that may create the appearance that such activity is by or on behalf of HCFC.
8. GUIDANCE AND DISCLOSURE
Volunteers and employees are encouraged to seek guidance from the Chief Executive Officer concerning the interpretation or application of this Code of Ethics. Directors and officers are encouraged to seek feedback from the Board President or Governance Chair. Any known or possible breaches of the Code of Ethics should be disclosed. Reports of possible breaches will be handled in the following manner:
- The provisions of this Code of Ethics are mandatory and full compliance is expected under all circumstances.
- Anyone observing possible violations of the Code of Ethics should report it according to our concern/grievance policy. Failure to report such a violation may result in corrective action up to and including termination of employment.
- Retaliation against an employee for reporting violations of the Code of Ethics is expressly forbidden and will not be tolerated by HCFC.
- In addition to this code, employees whose profession maintains a particular ethics code are expected to also adhere to this code.
- All reports of possible breaches will be treated with confidence as much as the organization’s duty to investigate and the law allow. If confidentiality cannot be maintained, the individual disclosing the possible breach will be notified.
- All reported breaches will be investigated and, if needed, appropriate action taken based upon the policies of the organization.
- HCFC affirms prompt and fair resolution of all reported breaches.
9. Addressing Concerns: Hope Center for Children has policies in place which will assure that any client receiving services, their legally responsible guardian, employees, and volunteers shall have access to proper procedures to address concerns or complaints. The best method for addressing these complaints is outlined in our concern/grievance policy in the personnel manual. All employees and clients are given a copy of this policy and a grievance form upon orientation. Complaints by consumers are viewed as a viable source of information, not only to resolve individual client problems and teach skills to empower them to resolve conflict, but to assist in the planning and delivery of services by the area program.
No director, officer or employee who in good faith reports a violation of the Code shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence when handled according to policy.
10. Respect for personal and HCFC resources: Hope Center for Children operates several programs located on a residential campus. This campus is home to some youth and is a temporary home to Family-Teachers. It is imperative that all employees, clients, volunteers, and guests treat all personal and HCFC property with care and respect. This means handling property according to policies outlined in our IT and facility policies, and taking care to utilize only property that they are authorized by HCFC or the owner to use. In all cases, according to this code, the following will be avoided:
- Theft, unauthorized possession or inappropriate use of property belonging to HCFC, a member of the HCFC community (staff/resident), a campus guest, or community member.
- Vandalism, destruction, damage, or inappropriate use of property belonging to the HCFC, a member of the HCFC community, a campus guest, or community member. Destruction, mutilation, and defacement of or tampering with books, magazines, library materials or equipment, or computer services or equipment.