As an educational advocate, it's my mission to follow the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) Voluntary Code of Ethics for Special Education Advocates, to the best of my ability. 


The purpose of this Code is to provide a set of principles which special education advocate members of COPAA 

(Advocates) can use as a guide for their work, conduct, and decision making. This Code is voluntary and is intended only as a guide.

I'm constantly trying to gain more 

knowledge and expertise concerning special education and its applicable federal and state laws, and work within the bounds of these laws. As well as working to better understand 

how to protect the civil rights of children with disabilities, their rights to due process, and their rights to equal access to equitable public school education. 

This Voluntary Code is intended to accomplish the following: 
a. Serve as an Advocate’s guide to professional conduct. 
b. Help parents make informed choices about engaging advocacy services. 
​c. Instill public confidence in the integrity of Advocates and the roles

they fill. 

As your advocate, I voluntarily subscribe tothis Code and follow the Code’s ethical principles as a guide for proper professional conduct.

Ethical Principles

I – Competence, an advocate: 

1. Works within the limits of his or her competence. 

2. Informs a client when they're not competent to handle a matter or any portion of a client matter. 

3. Is candid concerning the Advocate’s knowledge and skills. 

4. Continues his or her special education advocacy education by successfully 

completing 12 hours of continuing education courses annually. Continuing 

education courses may be obtained through private or non-profit vendors, bar association continuing legal education courses, paralegal courses, State Department of Education courses or seminars, civil rights or disability rights organizations; professional associations of attorneys or advocates; or other continuing education courses or programs related to special education practice, advocacy, negotiation, or mediation. 

5. Is knowledgeable with regard to the regulations of the jurisdictions in which they work or in which state their clients are located. 

6. Provides competent assistance. Competent assistance requires the special education knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the assistance required under the circumstances. 

​7. Exercises reasonable care. 

III – Conflicts of Interest, an advocate will: ​​
1. Disclose all potential conflicts of interest. An Advocate is obligated to place the interest of the client ahead of any personal interest or personal gain, and to disclose all facts in any situation where a potential conflict of interest may arise. 
a. An Advocate will at a minimum, inform potential clients of any 
employment affiliations, financial or professional interests that may be perceived to bias recommendations, and in some cases, decline to provide services where the actual or apparent conflict of interest is such that it may fairly be concluded that such affiliation or interest is likely to impair professional judgments, result in personal gain, or impede advocacy 
efforts in any way. 
2. Make referrals and placements to service providers based solely on the needs of the student. 

IV – Communication, an advocate will: 

1. Never knowingly mislead others in the pursuit of a client’s matter. 
2. Pursue ethical means to solve an issue or produce a particular outcome. 
3. Present claims that are truthful and can be substantiated concerning the 
Advocate or the Advocate's service or the services of another advocate. 
4. Communicate with others in a fair and civil manner. 
5. Maintain as confidential all information about the client which is provided to the Advocate by the client, will use such information solely for advocating on behalf of the client, and will not disclose such information to any third party except (a) with prior authorization from the client; or (b) as otherwise required by law. 

V – Professionalism, an advocate will: ​​

1. Adhere to all applicable laws in the State of Maine or in which state their clients are located
2. Review relevant records and 
information prior to effectively offering specific assistance. 
3. Attempt to resolve special education disputes utilizing IEP meetings, mediation and resolution meetings, as described in the I.D.E.A. and Maine Unified Special Education Regualtions (MUSER) or in which state their clients are located
4. Manage her professional office and financial affairs in a manner that conforms to generally accepted business and financial practices. 
5. Treat all parties subject to a dispute with candor, fairness and civility. 

© COPAA (2008)


Deb Davis Advocacy

​​Working collaboratively towards successful outcomes

II – Responsibilities to Client,

an advocate:​​

1. Helps clients make informed decisions about appropriate educational services by providing clients with relevant information. 

2. Helps clients articulate their concerns and desires for student's educational 
3. Makes full disclosure to every individual involved with a matter that he or she is not licensed to practice law and cannot give legal advice. 
4. Handles matters in a timely manner and without undue delay.
5. Educates clients about special education law and regulations, and helps 
them become more skillful and effective advocates. 
6. Maintains regular contact. 
7. Treats clients and others with dignity and respect. 
8. Secures a written agreement for services with clients before performing 
any professional services.
9. Obtains a client’s permission before discussing the client’s matter with anyone other than the client, and adheres to any Federal or applicable State confidentiality requirements. 
10. Maintains client records and keeps client information confidential. 
11. Discloses that an advocate-client privilege may not exist, and that the Advocate must comply with any court or hearing officer or administrative law judge orders, and may be required to comply with lawfully-issued subpoenas. 
12. Maintains and shares information regarding local, state, regional, and national resources for parents and students, and information regarding current trends and practices in special education.
13. Provides culturally and educationally appropriate services. 

Deb Davis

Non-Attorney Education Advocate​​