Social Work Code of Ethics – NASW Code of Ethics

Last Updated on July 17, 2024 by Muzammil Ijaz

Social Work Code of Ethics – NASW Code of Ethics

Hi, thanks for joining me. I’m Karen Magruder, and this video is an overview of the N A S W Code of Ethics with our 2021 update. I am a therapist and also a social work professor, and I really saw that there might be a gap in student social work, student education around code of ethics, and that it’s a really helpful refresher for practitioners in the field to help, um, consult and, and be ethical practitioners. And I also hope that this is a helpful resource for maybe studying in school or licensing exams. But my disclaimer here is that this is primarily a resource that I’ve made for students. Students have asked me to post it online so that they can access it after classes end and have, um, had, you know, helpfully helped people out in the internet world as well. But I, this is not an official product of the University of Texas at Arlington or the A S W or the A S W B.

This is just meant to be a helpful supplemental resource based on my understanding, but always refer to the code of ethics in doubt. Let’s talk a little background about the code of ethics, and then I’ll share some of the 2021 updates. And then I’m gonna go through the whole thing. So, it was created by the National Association of Social Workers, the na s w, and all social workers are held to these standards regardless of whether they’re an official member of N A S W or not. The first version was approved back in 1960, but with latest revisions in 2021. It’s available both in English and Spanish [email protected]. And it’s not an exist exhaustive list of scenarios. It has guiding principles and ethical standards, and you can use those along with your own good judgment and supervision and, and context within your agency to make the most ethical decisions.

There’s a couple updates that happened in 20 20 20 21. The first was addressing the importance of professional self care. They updated the purpose section, as well as the ethical principle section to indicate the importance of self care. There was also revisions to the cultural competence section with increased specificity about what should be done to achieve and maintain cultural competence. So those are the big change highlights from the previous version. Let’s dive in to what the code of ethics is and what all those standards are. It’s organized into four sections. The preamble, the purpose, the principles, and the standards. The preamble basically provides a short summary of Social works, mission and co core values. It talks about the, um, the dual focus of individual wellbeing in a social context, as well as the wellbeing of the whole society. They use the term clients inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, or communities.

And here’s just one excerpt from it. It talks about that our mission is to enhance human wellbeing, meet basic needs, and pay attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. There’s much more to it, so I encourage you to check it out. But given that this is just a highlights video, that’s a little bit about the preamble, there are six core values outlined in the N A S W Code of Ethics. They are service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the value of human relationships, integrity and competence. And I’ll talk about each of those a little bit more, but let’s also talk about the purpose. The purpose of the code of ethics is to identify the core values of social work to summarize the ethical principles and standards which we follow to help social workers make ethical decisions to help the community, you know, hold us accountable and know what to expect in terms of our standards of conduct. It helps to socialize and train new social workers, and it can be used as a kinda metric for any formal discipline, should there be major ethical violations.

Some other highlights that I wanted to note that are in the purpose section, uh, some of these bullets I pulled out. So it talks about the code being a set of values, principles, and standards that guide our decision making. It’s not a set of rules to prescribe how we should act in all situations. And certainly we know that there’s a lot of complex ethical dilemmas that don’t have simple answers. And so our decisions and actions need to be consistent with both the spirit and the letter of the code. And there’s many other sources as well that you might seek to for guidance about ethical decision making. The code says that you can consult the relevant literature on professional ethics and seek appropriate consultation if you have an ethical dilemma, and you should be aware of any conflicts between your own personal values and professional values and deal with them responsibly.

And it also talks about some technology considerations, which we know are increasingly important. Okay, gold star here because this is one of the new updates in 2021. They added this section about self care with the, within the purpose, purpose section. They say that it’s paramount to social work practice and that we need to maintain personal and professional health, safety and integrity, and that also our organizations and institutions should promote self care among social workers. Moving on to the next section of the code, which is the ethical principles. So this is a little bit more context and detail. Again, this is just highlights, so you can read this yourself. But essentially with, um, service, we’re talking about helping people in need and addressing social problems. We challenge social injustices. We respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person. We recognize the importance of human relationships.

We behave in a trustworthy manner, and this gets a star as well because well, integrity is important, but also because this is another place where, um, self care language was added as well, and competence. We practice within our areas of competence and develop expertise and only practice within the scope of that expertise. Now we get to the main section of the code of ethics, which is the ethical standards. There are six different kind of levels of ethical standards. We have responsibilities to clients, colleagues in practice, settings as professionals to the social work profession and to the broader society. Let’s start with our ethical standards and our responsibilities to clients, which is, I believe the biggest section. I’m gonna just kind of go through some of the different standards here. It talks about commitment to clients, that the wellbeing of clients is our primary responsibility, unless the obligations to society or legal requirements supersede these in general, the wellbeing of the client absolutely comes first, but there may be some exceptions.

For example, if you have a client that has disclosed that they are abusing a child currently, maybe not in their best interest for you to report, but you’re legally required, and then that’s in the best interest of society at large to report that self-determination, we focus on helping clients achieve their goals and empowering them and giving them the tools to make those choices on their own. This, of course, can be very tricky, hence the the need for a code, because there’s a lot of ethical dilemmas related to this, but it can be limited if the client’s actions or potential actions pose a risk to sell for others, which is foreseeable, serious and imminent. I know that that leaves a lot up for interpretation. Um, and certainly there you want to get good supervision and consult the code and, and do what you can that is most aligned with our ethical principles.

While supporting self-determination whenever possible, you also must give informed consent, which has clear and understandable language, and make sure that the clients can ensure comprehension of that informed consent. This can be for treatment, for research, for taking a recording. Um, and so giving clients the opportunity to ask questions and seeking the appropriate channel from the appropriate third party. If the client lacks capacity to give consent, some of the things that need to be included and informed consent include purpose, risks, limit limitations, costs, alternative options, the right to refuse the timeframe, and any use of technology competence. We only represent ourselves and provide services based on our actual expertise. In Texas, for example, you actually can’t call yourself a social worker or have a job with social worker in the title unless you have a social worker license. So that would be an example of making sure that you’re representing yourself as a social worker only if you are licensed, and of course, being competent in the services that you are providing. If you’re interested in starting a new technique or practicing a new, you know, type of social work, you should research it, Make sure it’s evidence based, study it, seek training in it, get consultation and supervision on it before you’re ready to try that new technique on clients in a competent way.

Cultural competence is the next section, and this gets a star because this was updated as well, and I actually just copied straight from the code of ethics here to really show you what’s, um, what’s happening. So there’s more specificity essentially that gives a little bit more detail about what we are called to do. To be culturally competent social workers, we need to understand culture and its function in human behavior and society. We recognize the strengths that exist in all cultures, that knowledge guides our practice. We demonstrate skills and empower marginalized individuals and groups. We take action against oppression, racism, discrimination, inequities, and acknowledge our own personal privilege. We show awareness and cultural humility, engage in self-reflection and lifelong learning, holding institutions accountable for cultural humility. We seek to obtain education and understand the nature of social diversity and oppression, and we are also aware of cultural and socioeconomic differences in terms of access to technology and, and, you know, those barriers.

 

So great, great additions here. More ethical responsibilities to clients, conflicts of interest. We need to inform clients if a real or even potential conflict arises and take reasonable steps to resolve that conflict of interest. We want to avoid dual relationships if there’s a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. Now, personally, if I was, you know, your supervisor or teacher, I would say it’s best to avoid dual relationships, period. But the code of ethics actually specifies that you wanna avoid them if there’s a risk of exploitation or potential harm. If a social worker provides services to two or more people who have a relationship, you wanna clarify roles and obligations with all parties, make sure you have good boundaries there. Avoiding communication with clients about non-service related issues, being cautious about your own digital footprint and not engaging with clients on social networking sites.

Just some things to keep in mind there. Practicing confidentiality is ex is very important. We wanna tell clients if there’s any limits to confidentiality. For example, if there’s a serious harm to, um, risk of harm to self or others if there maybe is a court order situation if you’re seeking supervision or if they report child or elder abuse. So making sure that clients know what those limitations to confidentiality are, even if it’s group work, say, knowing that everyone is held to confidentiality standards, but that you can’t always guarantee that in a group setting. And so those are some important things to know. You may hear about the terra off decision, which essentially, um, relates to notifying a potential victim and law enforcement if there is a serious threat to, um, a client harming somebody else. More about privacy and confidentiality. We only solicit private information from clients for a compelling professional reason, not because we’re nosy or curious, but because it’s going to serve a purpose in our helping them.

We only disclose confidential client information when appropriate and with valid consent, we discuss confidentiality agreement among groups. I I talked about that. Don’t discuss confidential information in public places where it could be overheard. So don’t go out to a restaurant, you know, with your supervisor and talk loudly about your clients protecting their confidentiality in the media. So this has happened to me before where I’ve been interviewed in the news or for newspaper articles and having to either seek consent from the client to be featured or mentioned in that, or changing identifying details sufficiently that they would not be identified in that. Records need to be stored in a secure location that others cannot access. Electronic communication needs to have safe cards like encryption, passwords and firewalls, and you need to develop policies for notifying clients if there is a confidentiality breach, more privacy and confidentiality, just what you’re hoping for, right?

You wanna develop and inform clients about electronic searches, any of those policies. So don’t Google your clients, essentially <laugh>. Um, or if if your agency does background checks, you notifying them about that type of thing, disposing of records in a way that maintains confidentiality, protecting the confidentiality even of deceased clients. So the client passes away, That does not mean that you can share information about them. That confidentiality still needs to be protected the same way it would for a living client. You want to also plan ahead for how client, uh, confidentiality as well as continuity of services would occur. In the case of you being terminated, incapacitated, or dying, don’t disclose identifying details about clients even for training or educational purposes without their consent. So being an educator myself, I certainly give case examples, but I will always either ask for client permission or more often we’ll change identifying details or make kind of a composite case in order to protect that confidentiality.

And, um, don’t disclose any identifying details with consultants unless the client has consented or there’s a compelling need, is what the code of ethics says there. More privacy and confidentiality, right? Le legal proceedings. So again, my big disclaimer here, I’m not an attorney, this is not legal advice, but based on my understanding of the code of ethics and what I’ve been, you know, um, taught is that, uh, subpoenas, um, you can respond to the court requesting privilege. So I, like I’ve been served, um, a subpoena previously about a client, and it was kind of advised that you, you can still, you know, talk to the client about confidentiality. You can request privilege from the court, whereas a court order is a higher level and you do have to release those records. Um, but if the disclosure of information would be harmful to your client, you can request that the court either withdraw the order, limit the order, or maintain those records under seal.

Certainly, if you’re ever in a situation like this, consult with your agency, i s w legal, uh, advice. But, um, there are some kind of limitations to confidentiality when court things come into play. Sometimes if the client requests access to record, you need to provide it if it’s reasonable. If there is a concern that records would cause serious misunderstanding or harm, um, you can help the client interpret those records accurately. And if there is compelling evidence that access to their records could cause serious harm, you can limit the client’s access to portions of their records or all of the records, but you have to document the client’s request and your rationale for withholding those records.

Sexual relationships with clients, I think it’s about time that we start having some funny memes and pictures so that you don’t fall asleep on me, basically, don’t do it, right? That’s, that’s the highlights of this slide. The social worker assumes the full burden for setting those clear, appropriate and culturally sensitive boundaries. You cannot have a sexual relationship with current clients under any circumstances. You cannot have sexual relationships with a client’s relative if there is a risk of exploitation or harm. I have a hard time understanding how that wouldn’t harm the client. Um, again, I would say just don’t do that ever, but this is what the code of ethics says. And former clients, again, me personally, I say, Heck no, don’t do that. But the, the code of ethics says that you should not because of a potential for harm to the client, but if the social worker claims the exception due to extraordinary circumstances, you must demonstrate that the former client was not intentionally or unintentionally exploited, coerced or manipulated. So it can get pretty sticky. I say just steer clear of that. And X’s, you cannot provide social work services to someone that you’ve previously had a sexual relationship with.

More ethical responsibilities to clients, physical contact. You should not engage in physical contact if there is a possibility of psychological harm as a result. And the social workers must set clear, appropriate and culturally sensitive boundaries. Personally, I usually don’t touch my clients at all, but I have had situations where I’ve, um, done a hello handshake or maybe, you know, a touch on the shoulder with like, say, older adult clients that I’ve been working with who’ve been very upset, things like that. But of course, you wanna use your best judgment and make sure that it’s not providing any harm to the client that’s honoring their boundaries and their space and their history. Sexual harassment, thumbs down. Don’t do that. End of story there. Derogatory language. See above, don’t, don’t cuss out your clients please. Payment for services. You should not accept goods or services in lieu of, um, monetary payment bartering. There are some very rare situations. I think that the code talks about, that if it’s culturally accepted and the, and the norm in that culture, that maybe it can be okay. But in the vast majority of practice settings where you all are going to be or are working bartering would not be appropriate. You should also not solicit a private fee for a service that a client is entitled to for free through your agency. And fees should be fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the services that are performed.

If a client lacks decision making capacity, you need to take reasonable steps to safeguard their interests. You also need to take reasonable efforts to ensure continuity of services if they’re interrupted due to unavailability, natural disaster, illness, death, et cetera, and referral for services. You wanna refer when another professional specialized knowledge or expertise is needed to better serve that client. Or if you believe that you’re not being effective in making reasonable progress with a client termination of services, you wanna take reasonable steps to avoid abandoning clients and arrange for continuity of services. If services must be terminated, you should notify clients promptly and do not terminate in order to seek a social, financial, or sexual relationship with a client. You can terminate when the service is no longer required or when it no longer serves the client’s needs or interests. So that here are some things to think about.

If you’re ready to terminate, for example, for non-payment, you can terminate for non-payment. It is a job after all, but you need to make those payment expectations and consequences clear in contract. They need to not be poaching a danger to themself or others, and the consequences of non-pay rent need to be discussed. All right, time to put on my professor hat and give a pop quiz. Here are just some questions to review some of the things that we’ve covered so far before we move into the next and shorter sections. The code of ethics provides an exhaustive list of ethical dilemmas and step by step instructions. What do you think? This is actually false. They do provide some ethical principles and standards, which you can use for decision making, but it’s not a comprehensive list of every specific ethical situation that you could get tied up in.

 

And there needs to be some judgment and discretion there that is in, in line with the spirit of the code. True false social workers may have limited physical contact with clients. That is true, but you again, don’t wanna engage in physical contact if there’s a possibility of psychological harm, any kind of inappropriateness, you have to set those clear appropriate boundaries and certainly no romantic contact regardless of circumstances. The wellbeing and self-determination of a client is always the social worker’s top priority. Well, you would think so, but there are some very limited exceptions. If there is a foreseeable, imminent and serious risk. Um, there are times that you can, um, break confidentiality and even do something that is against the client’s best interest. If it is in the best interest of the, the broader society or something that you are mandated to do by your license, like reporting child abuse, for example.

Which of the following are not a valid reason to break confidentiality and reveal identifying client information without their consent? So let me show you which of the following are not valid reasons for breaking confidentiality without client consent. So a, if they report committing child or elder abuse, you can break confidentiality. B, you can break confidentiality if there’s a serious imit foreseeable risk to harming self or others. You can break confidentiality. Uh, well, you can seek supervision and you wanna give as little information as possible to get the supervision that you need. But say a student in a field internship, for example, that would be an expectation that they might share information with their supervisor. The social worker wants advice from a social worker friend employed at a different agency. Shoot, darn. I’ve got friends from grad school that I certainly talk to for encouragement and support and advice, but just because they’re also a licensed social worker does not mean that I can share identifying details about my caseload.

So I can certainly say, Hey, I need some encouragement right now. Or ask a general question about, you know, resources or things like that. But you can’t say, you know, Joe Schmoe needs x, y, Z, what should I do? If you receive a court order in general, um, you might need to break confidentiality to obey the court order. Subpoena sometimes can have a little bit more, uh, wiggle room. So, um, this is actually, I’m pulling this from the HHS website. They say that a court order, a HIPAA covered healthcare provider, which we would be, um, may share your protected health information if it has a court order. Um, but the provider can only disclose the information specifically described in that court order, whereas a subpoena is issued by someone other than a judge, like a county clerk or an attorney in a case and a HIPAA covered provider us, um, may disclose information to a party issuing a subpoena only if the notification requirements of a privacy rule are met.

So before responding to the subpoena, um, you need to get, basically, have evidence that there are reasonable efforts to notify the person who’s the subject of the request, see if they have a chance to object to the disclosure or seek a protective order of information from the court. Again, not legal advice, just what I’ve, um, read about this. And you also may not break confidentiality to, uh, conduct maybe a CEU training and giving a case example. Again, that needs to still protect confidentiality, true false, the same confidentiality expectations apply for social work with individuals, families, and groups. This is sort of a tricky question. It’s true in the sense that our confidentiality, right? Me holding confidentiality is the same if I’m working with an individual family or a group. But the confidentiality that the clients can expect may differ a little bit if it’s not a one-on-one setting.

So making sure that there is that understanding that while confidentiality is expected, it can always be guaranteed if it’s between more than just you and the client. If there’s others involved, social workers may deny client requests to view their records. This is true. If there is compelling evidence that the access to those records could cause serious harm to the client and that that’s documented, it’s very rare. Um, generally you would give them access to your records. Social workers have the right to terminate clients for non-payment. This is true if you have a contract that is on file, that the consequences have been discussed and that the client poses no danger to themselves or others. Congratulations. You’re on to the second section. I promise that the other sections are a bit shorter. So let’s talk about our ethical responsibilities to our colleagues respect. We don’t misrepresent the qualifications, views, or obligations of our colleagues. We avoid unwarranted negative criticism and we cooperate if it’s in the best interest of our clients. We protect their confidentiality and strive towards interdisciplinary collaboration.

If there’s a dispute involving a colleague, we do not take advantage of those disputes to advance our own interests and don’t exploit clients in the process or exploit colleagues. If there is impairment and competence around ethical conduct among a colleague, the social worker should really discouraged, prevent exposure, correct unethical conduct among others, but you need to consult directly with that colleague first and help them address the issue. The first step, and this is actually something that comes up on the licensing exams a lot, is that you need to address it with that, you know, colleague, um, and only then pursue other channels like through the employer, the Na s w or the licensing board in general. Now again, you know, if there’s, there’s a major issue regarding abuse or legal issues, um, certainly you wanna consult the appropriate channels about the best steps forward, but the code of ethics has this two step process outlined.

Seek consultation if it’s in the client’s best interest. Stay up to date on your colleagues’ area of expertise and disclose as little information as is necessary. So if you want to know, for example, about, say, resources for dialysis, you might talk about the person’s, you know, financial situation or how much, uh, you know, again, very broadly, right, uh, transportation issues, but you’re not gonna say, Oh, by the way, you should see her. You know, I don’t know her outfit so ugly, right? Like, you’re, you’re going to, um, only share what is directly relevant and necessary to get the supervision that you need and the resources that you need. Ethical responsibilities to colleagues in terms of sexual relationships. You should never have any kind of romantic relationship with a supervisee, a trainee, a student, or anybody else that you have any professional authority over. The good says to avoid sexual relationships with colleagues like on your same level.

If there is a potential for a conflict of interest, in my mind, I think that’s kind of always there. So again, my personal opinion is you wanna just steer clear those that is what the code says. And obviously sexual harassment, the don’t do that. Ethical standards in practice settings, supervision and consultation. So we only provide supervision or consultation if it’s within our area of knowledge and competence. We avoid dual relationships. Again, if there is a risk to harm to the supervisee, and we evaluate our supervisees performance fairly. We also, um, teach or train only within our areas of knowledge and competence. We base it on the most current information. So it, I was ethically mandated to create this update video on the updates to the code of ethics because that UpToDate, uh, information is important. We treat students, uh, performance, uh, fairly and inform clients, um, if they’re going to be receiving services from a student or an intern.

Billing practices need to accurately reflect the nature and extent of services provided. If there’s a client transfer, you discuss with the client whether consultation or transfer is in their best interest. You advocate for adequate resources. If you are an administrator, you don’t discriminate or, um, be unfair in your funding of allocation, and you avoid conflicts between your policies and the code of ethics is really important. And with continuing education, it’s, uh, actually an ethical responsibility for, um, for leadership and practice settings to provide training, staff development, even CEUs, commitment to our employers. Um, we wanna follow through on our commitments to employers when possible, improving agency policies and procedures. Maybe that’s updating technology, making things more efficient or more effective in serving our clients, making sure that employers understand what our social worker ethical obligations are, following the code above competing agency policies. Preventing and eliminating discrimination, not hiring employees or students if labor practices are unfair. And being a diligent steward of our agency resources.

Labor management disputes, social workers are allowed to be a part of labor unions. The code says that reasonable differences of opinion exist among social workers concerning their primary obligation or profession, uh, professionals during an actual or threatened labor strike. This is really a tricky situation, right? In some cases, maybe we need to do something to, um, advance social justice or make something happen to improve our work settings, but at the same time, we have a commitment to our clients. So just keeping that in mind that, uh, the, the code of ethics does not, uh, disallow us from being a part of labor management disputes. But I would say still considering the client’s best interest is very important. Our ethical standards as professionals are to be confident, not to be confident, competent, although it’s great to be confident too, routinely review the literature and empirical knowledge base to make sure all your practices are up to date. Don’t discriminate, be a soloist, fraud, deception, misrepresentation, all that is no good private conduct and impairment. You only wanna claim the credentials that you actually have and actively correct any inaccuracies. You don’t let your personal life interfere with your professional obligations, judgment or performance. Obviously life happens, but to the extent possible, um, keeping those, those good boundaries and professionalism despite what’s going on in your own life, if those personal issues are

Interfering you, seek consultation and take appropriate remedial action by seeking professional help of your own, making adjustments in your workload, potentially either terminating practice or doing other steps. Do not engage in uninvited solicitation of new clients or client testimonials if they’re vulnerable to undo influence, manipulation or coercion. So for example, I, it would not be ethical or appropriate for me to reach out to a current student and say, Hey, can you like write me a letter of recommendation like that I’m such a good teacher? Something like that because, you know, they’re, they’re vulnerable in the sense that I have the power over their grades, and that would not be appropriate. On the other hand, I did have, um, someone not a student, um, someone else that I tutored, um, and provided some kind of tutoring services and she proactively said like, Hey, can I provide you like a little testimonial?

Can I write about like how helpful this was for me? And I said, Sure, Um, because she offered. And so that’s just something to kind of keep in mind, especially if you’re doing marketing or advertising and acknowledging credit, um, to certainly, you know, citing sources, but also, um, giving credit, uh, more informally as well to projects and things that are happening in the profession. We also have ethical responsibilities to the social work profession more broadly. And that means in upholding the integrity of the profession, promoting and advancing our mission core values and ethics, contributing to the knowledge base, whether that be through formal research or just the great work that you’re doing in, in the community and act to prevent the unauthorized and unqualified practice of social work. So making sure that people have the appropriate education and license, uh, credentials with evaluation and research.

We want to monitor and evaluate policies, programs, and interventions. We promote and facilitate evaluation and research. This is an ethical mandate and it’s something that’s really actively encouraged. You wanna go through the institutional review boards that are applicable to your area of study, especially, you know, regarding human subjects research and get voluntary written consent without any ue. Um, basically coercion to, uh, influence participation. It should always be optional. If a client cannot consent to research, um, you wanna provide an appropriate explanation, obtain asset when possible, and get written consent from a proxy. Those are just all like different ways that the code outlines in terms of what to do if you can’t get consent, either because the person is not able to, or potentially it’s research that needs to be conducted secretly. But certainly that would be something that needs to go through IRB and go through a lot of different hoops to basically prove that that is the best way and that it’s not going to harm the client.

Uh, okay. Yep. This is what I was just saying. You want to have rigorous and responsible review. It needs to be justified, and there need to not be any equally effective alternatives that are feasible. Uh, participants need to be protected from unwarranted harm. We wanna ensure anonymity and confidentiality and report, report our findings accurately. Don’t fudge the numbers. Finally, we are on the home stretch. Let’s talk about ethical standards to the broader society. We advocate for living conditions that are conducive to the fulfillment of basic human needs and engage in social justice. We participate in the public, like through voting or advocacy and form participation. So this, my next slide is gonna talk a little bit more about macro level advocacy, but so many social workers start with really interest in micro focus, which is great, but we also do have that responsibility to the broader society and being able to have policy informed practice and practice informed policy.

If there are public emergencies, we have an ethical mandate to provide services to the greatest extent possible. I have an mid chair of the Dallas mega shelter that I volunteered at after Hurricane Harvey, providing kind of crisis, inter intervention and, uh, resources to people who needed shelter and connecting them to resources that would help them. I think that that’s something that is really important for social workers to use our skills when there is a public crisis to meet those needs, uh, and, and do that in a way that we can serve our community in those exceptional times. Ethical responsibilities to the broader society. Regarding social and political action, we have a mandate, uh, an ethical responsibility to engage in social and political action is aligned with seeking equality services, opportunities, basic human needs and social justice. This does not mean that you have to necessarily be, um, you know, a card caring member of a certain political party, and you need to, of course, be aware of how politics and policies impact your practice. But our goal here is to, um, advocate for things that are beneficial for our clients that promote that equality and opportunity for our clients, and that re uh, promote conditions of respect and cultural and social diversity and inclusion.

And something to be import, uh, think about here is depending on your agency of where you are employed, um, some, some agencies have certain rules about, uh, taking action as an employee. So for example, as an employee, um, of a, a university, I can’t, you know, go into my classroom and say I’m a or onto the news or something and say I’m a professor and I’m voting for X candidate and you should vote this way on this certain bill. Um, and kinda representing your agency that way. But generally, you know, if it’s not tied to your agency, you can do your own, you know, personal, um, advocacy. But obviously that can be tricky. So just thinking about how to navigate all of that. And sometimes, depending on the way that your agency is classified, you might be able to do, uh, advocacy on behalf of and, and with your employer as well.

All right. Our second pop quiz before we wrap up to review some of the key concepts from this part. Social workers should never have a dual relationship with a client or supervisee. I say true, but the code of ethics technically says that you should avoid them if there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. If a social worker colleague is incompetent impaired or acting on ethically, you should first consult directly with that colleague and help them address the issue prior to pursuing disciplinary retraining through their employer. Na s w or state Local Licensing board Juror False. It is considered unethical for social workers to join and organize labor union that is false. Uh, there can be reasonable differences in how we think through different policies and issues and the best way to resolve them. And any time that you’re involved in something like that, you should just be following the other parts of the code about client best interests.

Social workers may conduct some types of evaluation or research without client consent. This is true if it meets those certain parameters that I’ve talked about, um, with that research. But again, making sure you’re going through I rrb and getting all those boxes checked. Social workers should not engage in political advocacy as this may be a conflict of interest with their employer all <laugh>. Um, again, you know, thinking through there, there can be some complicated dynamics here, but as social workers, we are encouraged to engage in advocacy on, uh, on behalf of and in collaboration with empowering our clients. I hope this was a helpful and quick review of the code of ethics. I wanna say good luck to you as a social work professional, and thank you for the difference that you make in our community. You are valued and I wish you the best in your ethical practice.