Ethics Policy

Policy & Procedures Regarding Professional Conduct of AFTA Members

AFTA members who (1) have had their registration, certificate or license to practice suspended or revoked (2) have been terminated from membership in a professional mental health organization, or (3) have been convicted of a felony arising out of professional activity or activities otherwise relevant to their professional qualifications or ethics, and who have exhausted all levels of appeal or decided not to appeal such disciplinary decisions against them must notify AFTA within 30 days of this occurrence. In the absence of a request for a review, the member will be expelled from AFTA membership.

Review

If the member requests review, the matter will be reviewed by the AFTA Board based on written record. The member shall submit in writing the total record of the matter being reviewed, grounds for appeal, and any evidence supporting the member's position. AFTA will not expel the member if it determines on the basis of the full record that: (1) there was a serious procedural error in the proceedings being reviewed that appears to have caused an erroneous decision; (2) the record demonstrates that the decision was substantively erroneous or that a lesser sanction is warranted. The member must provide appropriate releases from clients. The review will be conducted by a 3-member panel appointed by the President. No panel member will be in direct economic competition with the member under review or have any other conflict of interest. Panel members will make a recommendation to the AFTA Board of Directors concerning the member's membership status. The Board's decision, based on a two third majority, will be final.

Resignation from Membership

If an AFTA member resigns in anticipation of, or during the course of disciplinary action taken by AFTA, AFTA will complete its process, including possible termination of membership.

Records

Documentation of the member's termination of AFTA membership will be permanently retained in the AFTA central office. All records and supportive documentation of case review shall be maintained in the central office of AFTA for 5 years.

Confidentiality

All records of the proceedings shall be confidential except as follows: (1) the names, town and state of residence of members who have been terminated which information will be published in the AFTA Newsletter; (2) information that is already publicly available; and (3) information required to be disclosed by law.

Eligibility of Reinstatement

At such time as the sanction is lifted, or after 3 years, whichever is sooner, the member may reapply for membership. The member will have the burden of demonstrating that he or she has been rehabilitated. The re-admission decision will be at the sole discretion of AFTA. Members who fail to report the termination of their right to practice within 30 days will not be allowed to reapply for membership.

Procedures

AFTA will normally learn about the termination of a member's right to practice through the member's self-reporting. In cases where AFTA is alerted to the termination of practice of AFTA members by third parties or other sources, AFTA will contact the member for verification of charges. Members will be informed of the policy through (1) the AFTA Newsletter, (2) the membership application, and (3) a one-time enclosure with the 1999 annual dues statement. Members will be asked to sign a statement enclosed with their membership application attesting to the fact that their right to practice has not been terminated.

Dissemination of Information

The membership will be informed through the AFTA Newsletter of a decision to terminate membership of an AFTA member. If and when the member is reinstated, AFTA, with permission of the member, will announce the reinstatement in the AFTA Newsletter.

Effective Date

Approved by the Board: February 7, 1998.  Amended by the Board: June 23 & 24, 1998.
Effective date: October 1, 1998.