THE QUESTION: You have a year-long occupational therapy internship at a local nonprofit preschool that enrolls children with special needs. The majority of these children’s families are eligible for financial assistance from the county. You suspect some of the families are underestimating their household incomes so they can receive more aid. One particular case involves an unmarried man and woman with a 2-year-old daughter. The family only reports the mother’s income, thus boosting the daughter’s financial assistance package by almost 50 percent. You know the daughter would be ineligible for the services without this money, and you know the child is benefiting physically and psychologically from the therapy she’s receiving.
WHAT’S YOUR ANSWER?
A. Contact the county department that oversees the program and report the matter as suspected fraud, regardless of the negative impact on the daughter.
B. You offer your personal help to the parents, but recommend that they report their correct income because there could be other families in greater financial need.
C. Aware that the parents’ behavior could deprive others of financial support, you discreetly speak to your supervisor and consider taking other steps to rectify the situation.
D. You report your suspicions to the school authorities, ask them to verify the facts and, if applicable, take the necessary measures to rectify the situation.
WHAT’S MY ANSWER?
I picked D: You report your suspicions to the school authorities, ask them to verify the facts and, if applicable, take the necessary measures to rectify the situation.
I had a hard time choosing between Answer C and Answer D. A couple things I considered was my role as an Intern. I may not know if there are other variables here that are being considered. For example, is the child the unmarried man’s as well? I liked Answer C because it recognized that other children may be deprived because of this couples potentially unethical behavior. However, as an intern, I find the authorities should be taking the steps to verify information, not me and my supervisor.
Well, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your answer and why in the comments below.