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My Values

Take the Values and Ethics Assessment!

The full Code of Ethics, including the unique values in which our ethical principles are rooted, may be found at the NASW website, www.naswdc.org.

Your Background history

You, the social worker, have recently moved into Brickville after working at the community-based agency (i.e., Brickville Community Development Corporation) for three years. Your primary role is to: 1) facilitate a youth leadership development group; 2) provide assessment and referrals for job training and employment with youth and adults; 3) provide case management services for youth in community; and 4) facilitate a safety and security committee.

A real estate developer has proposed a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the community that is controversial. You have been asked to both assist a family impacted by the redevelopment plan, and to become involved at the community level to assist in facilitating a community process to aid the community in addressing the situation.

Your value concerns

You grew up in the same larger metropolitan area, but in the suburbs. You have a personal connection to the community situation, because you knew from your high school, the children of the developer, Logan Stifel. You personally feel torn about the redevelopment plan – you can see the merits to both sides of the controversy. You are unclear about what is truly in the best interests of the community, although you believe that the residents need to more fully realize their power to affect change in their community.

Take the Values and Ethics Assessment!

The full NASW Code of Ethics, including the unique values in which our ethical principles are rooted, may be found at the NASW website, www.naswdc.org. There are ethical considerations that influence community and family work and that may go unrecognized within the complex situations.

This purpose of this short assessment is to invite the exploration of your ability to practice social work ethically and responsibly. After your answers have been recorded, your instructor may want to engage you and your classmates in discussion. It will help you considerably if you can explain why you think your answer is consistent with a specific portion of the NASWCode of Ethics. It is important to remember that ethical behavior is mediated by context. Thus, the information given in the examples below may be insufficient for a definitive answer. In those situations, think about the contexts in which you would provide a different answer and be prepared to explain why, using the NASW Code of Ethics as guidance.

  1. How can you support clients’ decisions, even when you believe those decisions are morally wrong (but legal)? For example, how might you support a community’s decision to support a redevelopment plan, even if it meant that some residents would have to permanently move, experience grief and loss, and/or lose neighborhood connections? Could you support family members who chose not to provide in-person care for their older adult relative or help their relatives with this care? How?
  2. If you find yourself with a client who is of a different religious, racial, or ethnic background, how can you support their decisions made within their cultural context? For example, if you are working with a family who is low-income and belongs to a church that requires tithing, how can you support their decision to provide a specific percentage of their income to their church, even if they cannot afford to do so? Are you willing to take the time to read, or talk to more experienced colleagues about work with clients with these differences?
  3. How can you delineate clear and appropriate professional boundaries with clients? How might you handle a situation in which you are asked to take a personal stance on a community issue for a community in which you live and work?
  4. How can you work in situations where you have multiple clients – a community, a family, and individuals within the family – and develop assessments, carry out interventions, and evaluate work conducted with these multiple clients?
  5. How can you appropriately maintain client confidentiality? If you have difficulty keeping the confidences of others in your everyday life, can you be certain that you can keep professional confidences? For example, how can you keep the confidence of a client who tells you that they know the identity of the person who committed a crime, and have not turned them in? How might you handle a situation in which Virginia Stone shares that a family member recently confessed to her that he believes he accidentally set the apartment fire that resulted in the deaths of four children? Do you or she have any type of obligation (i.e., legal, ethical or moral) to report the information? What are the potential consequences of not reporting?
  6. If you believe that the rules within your organization or the laws of your state contravene the values of this profession, such as social justice, or the accord of dignity to all, are you willing to engage in organizational, community, and or social and political action efforts to change this? How would you handle it if, in the case of Brickville, the CDC you work for would decide to not get involved in the decision-making about the redevelopment, when you believe that you must as a social worker?
  7. Impairment of professional helpers by drugs, alcohol, or other addictions is not uncommon. If you suspect that a colleague is so impaired, how will you intervene? Furthermore, how can you be vigilant about your own behavior in this regard? Would failure to act be a violation of the Code?
  8. One symptom of burnout may be the use of disparaging language to describe clients-epithets, crude descriptions, etc. Is this behavior a violation of the Code? If so, what will you do about it?
  9. How can you practice in as transparent a manner as possible? Name some examples from the Brickville case that could involve questions of transparency.
  10. How will you engage in evidence-based practice? How can you engage in evidence-based practice in the Brickville case?

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