Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Panel #308
CE Offered: BACB — 
Sold to the Highest Bidder: Ethics in the Age of Private Equity
Sunday, May 26, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 201 C
Area: PCH/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Thomas L. Zane, Ph.D.
Chair: Thomas L. Zane (University of Kansas)
JON S. BAILEY (Florida State University, Ret.)
YULEMA CRUZ (Rutgers University)
MARY JANE WEISS (Endicott College)

The ethics involved in practicing applied behavior analysis continues to be incredibly important for ethical service delivery. Over the past several years, the role of private equity in behavior analysis has been seriously increasing. Venture capitalists have awakened to the fact that there is lots of money to be made in autism services. Business people are buying aba clinics that service individuals with autism, because there is great profits to be made from the insurance mandate money. We are hearing more ethical horror stories that involve venture capitalists buying agencies, and then firing staff and increasing case loads to maximize profits. And, much to our chagrin, the public press is picking up on these awful stories, writing very public and very national news stories about how behavior analysis, as practiced by these venture capitalists, are practicing unethical behavior with a fragile population. This ethics panel of ethics experts will discuss the ethics of private equity, and we will do so in our innovative way of posing ethical dilemmas to the panelists, for them to discuss how they think about such cases and what to do about them.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Any and all practicing behavior analysts.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. define and describe what a private equity firm does and how they do it; 2. describe at least 3 actions that private equity firms have done to harm clients and caregivers 3. describe exact actions that behavior analysts, who work for private equity firms, can take to promote ethical practice in their work.
Keyword(s): autism, Ethics, evidenced-based-practice, Private equity



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Modifed by Eddie Soh