Term Paper Social Work Ethics
Scenario one speaks about a single unemployed mother of two children who is thinking about having an abortion. She decides to make an appointment with a Social Worker about it, however that Social Worker decides that it’s not in the best interest of the client, doesn’t care about her wants and hands her a church pamphlet. Right away I see that there is a direct infraction, as a Social Worker one should never speak of their own beliefs and values when working alongside with a client. A Social Worker should always put what the client wants, within reason, first, as an act of self-determination for the client.
The infraction that I found in the Code of Ethics is the third principle “Responsibility to Client”, specifically looking at the sub-principles 3. 1 and 3. 4. 3. 1 Speaks of how College members must “provide clients with accurate and complete information regarding the extent, nature and limitations of any services available to them” (pg. 11 Code of Ethics). As a member of the College, we as Social Workers have a duty to provide all resources available to a client, even if it may not agree with our own personal values, attitudes and beliefs.
I also believe that we are responsible to provide accurate information; as a Social Worker I would not turn away a client looking for resources and tell her to go to a church, specifically my own church, and to seek God and forgiveness for thinking of abortion. I think it is important to deal with each situation without any hidden agendas and to look for the best possible outcome for the specific clients requests. 3. 4 Discusses how College members “do not discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, political affiliation, national origin etc…” (pg. 11, Code of Ethics).
I think this was appropriate as a sub-principle as it speaks of how this Social Worker in the scenario brings in their own personal values, attitudes and beliefs and uses them against the client seeking professional help. I believe it is a direct infraction of one’s religion and rights as a person. As a Social Worker, I would have spoken to Mrs. Tremblay thoroughly to make sure that this is what she wants, as it is a permanent decision and I would want to make sure that this decision was made purely from her decision and not based on what I have to say. I would have given Mrs.
Tremblay resources that are available that she may have wanted, such as hospitals, support groups, counseling services etc, and well as letting Mrs. Tremblay know that if she ever needs extra support that I would be available with a non-judgmental ear. Scenario two speaks of how Mr. Smith feels “blue” and see’s a Social Worker in therapy, however that Social Worker tells Mr. Smith that he/she is specialized in Mental Health, and diagnoses Mr. Smith with a depressive episode of Bipolar Affective Disorder, and tells the client to start group therapy and take a week vacation to help alleviate the symptoms.
From reviewing the case, it would have to depend on whether or not this Social Worker has a Doctorate Degree in Social Work to be able to diagnose the client or not (as mentioned in the footnote from the Advertising principle) however from reading the text, I feel as though this Social Worker believes that he/she has just specialized in the field of Mental Health, and not earned a Doctorate in the field. I found that the infraction happened under second principle of “Competence and Integrity”, under “Competence” with the sub-principles 2. . 1 and 2. 1. 3. 2. 1. 1 Discusses how “members are responsible for being aware of the extent and parameters of their professional scope” (pg. 5, Code of Ethics). I believe that this is a direct infraction to what happened in the scenario. Since the Social Worker believes that they are specialized in the field because it is an area of practice that they have worked in seeing many patients “like him”, however does not have the appropriate credentials, the services are beyond the member’s professional scope of practice.
As a Social Worker, and a member of the college, I would follow what the sub-principle says, and recommend for a particular service, refer Mr. Smith to other professionals who are able to legally diagnose Mr. Smith. 2. 1. 3 Discusses how “College members maintain current knowledge of policies, legislations programs and issues related to the community in their area of practice” (pg. 6, Code of ethics). I think that this was an appropriate sub-principle as it describes that any member of the College should have full knowledge of their boundaries regarding what and what they are not allowed to discuss with clients.
If I were the Social Worker in this scenario, I would have talked to Mr. Smith about how he is feeling, to try and see which professional I could recommend Mr. Smith to. I would take notes on what we talked about, such as Mr. Smith feeling withdrawn, poor appetite and loss of sleep and referred him to the professional I feel would fit Mr. Smith the best. I feel as though it would possibly be beneficial to continue seeing Mr. Smith to talk about how he is feeling, and create goals with him if he wanted to continue our services together, however I would not ersonally diagnose Mr. Smith since I do not have a specific Doctorate in that area. Scenario three discusses that an Aboriginal girl is having troubles at home, and was picked up and brought to the Social Workers office. The Social Worker feels conflicted because the family is an “upstanding” family in the community and that Social Worker cannot believe that they are having family troubles. The Social Worker calls to let the family know that they have the child.
With this case, I see that there is a slight of a conflict of interest and a judgment made seeing how the family is an “upstanding family” and that the Social Worker “cannot believe that they have having problems”. However, I feel as though there wasn’t an infraction made seeing as the Social Worker on the case did not provide any services to the family. The Social Worker was the Worker on hand who initially greeted the child upon the drop-off, therefore has a Duty to Report. The principle that I found this case was a part of was principle of Integrity found under the second principle, and the sub-principle is 2. . 1. 2. 2. 1 Speaks of how “College members do not engage in professional relationships that constitute of a conflict of Interest… College members do not provide any professional service to a client” (pg. 6, Code of Ethics). Since the Social Worker only performed what their specific task was, and did not provide any professional service to that child, I believe that no infraction was created. If I were a Social Worker on Case, I would have called the family to let the child know that they were in my current care, however I would not engage in any professional relationships since it is a conflict of interest.
I would speak to another coworker or supervisor to discuss this conflict, I would write a brief case note describing that I was initially at intake, that I could not continue my professional duty as a Social Worker due to the conflict of interest, and I would write who I passed the case along too. I would also include a signature from my coworker as a trail in case the notes were ever subpoenaed to court. Scenario four discusses how a Social Worker is a full-time worker at a large family counseling agency and maintains a private practice two evenings a week in his/her home office.
Since the office has a six month waiting list for services, management asks you to take referrals in your private practice. In this case, there is no infraction. The Social Worker on case is accepting referral’s from other employee’s which is mentioned in the Footnotes of the principle “Responsibility to Client” which mentions that “College members may accept referrals from their employees”(pg. 12 Code of Ethics). However, if the case was that the College member is “soliciting their employer’s clients for private practice” it would be a violation of the sub-principle 3. (pg. 11, Code of Ethics). If I were to be the Social Worker on hand in this case, I would make sure that the only clients I spoke to in terms of coming into my private practice were strictly those who were referred to by other members of the College. I value and believe in the help that can be received when asked for, and by allowing other members to be part of this “helping movement” we are aiding in their own goals to be reached which helps one with their own values of self-determination. Scenario five discusses how Mr.
Smith wants his Social Worker to write up an illness certificate so that he can have a few weeks off work, however Mr. Smith has no problems that would justify getting that time off work, but that Social Worker feels that a week off from work is good for everybody in general. Reading through this I see right away that there is an infraction. There is no reason that Mr. Smith should get a week off work because he has made some progress in therapy, and has been working well on his problems. I see the infraction under the Fourth principle of “Social Work and Social Service Work records” under the sub-principle 4. . 2. 4. 1. 2 Discusses how “College members do not make statements in the record… record, issue or sign a certificate, report or other document… that is known to be false, misleading or inaccurate”(pg. 15 Code of Ethics). In this case, the Social Worker feels as though Mr. Smith would benefit from having this week off and decides that it is a good idea, though Mr. Smith has no problems that would qualify him for this week off. In my own opinion, if I were the Social Worker in the case, I would continue to motivate Mr.
Smith with his new found self-determination, especially when he is continuing to progress and complete goals that were initially set for him, why would a week off be beneficial. I feel as though that week off may set off a pattern that could lead him back to ground zero. I do not find it appropriate to fill out false information, especially when it could be documented and subpoenaed back to court and could be shown that I went out of my way to favoritize a client because he has made some substantial work in therapy.
I would continue to motivate, encourage and work alongside Mr. Smith until he no longer is in need of my services. Scenario six discuses the case of a Social Worker who works in a private practice in a rural town of 5,000 and how a member of the same board would like you to talk to his son since he is having behaviour problems. I see this as an infraction of the second principle “Integrity” under the sub-principle 2. 2. 1, seeing as the Social Worker and the client know each other on personal terms, it is a direct conflict of interest. . 2. 1 Discusses how “College members do not engage in professional relationships that constitute a conflict of interest. where College members do not provide a professional service to a client”(pg. 6, Code of Ethics). In this instance, though the Social Worker in the case may be the only Social Worker in the town, he is still one of the few professionals, which means that there are other professionals that may assist his friend Barry and their child.
The reason that I find it so important that we do not work with friends, acquaintances, or anyone of the sort that we know outside of our professional spectrum is biases. You cannot work with a client that you know because you will not be able to take a look at the situation with a blind eye. As a side point of the sub-principle, it mentions that doing so, “avoids conflicts of interest and/or dual relationships with clients” (pg. 6, Code of Ethics), this means that as a Social Worker, having a professional relationship will never interfere with your personal one.
It also discusses how “if the conflict of interest does arise, declaring the conflict of interest and taking appropriate steps to address it could eliminate the conflict” (pg. 6, Code of Ethics), which means that discussing the conflict of interest could avoid the whole situation entirely. If I was the Social Worker working on this case, I would discuss with my friend Barry that there is a conflict of interest and I would not be able to fully give his son the appropriate counseling required because I would be going into the counseling sessions with a hidden agenda.
Since the scenario discusses that the Social Worker is one of the few, I feel like I could still reference Barry’s son to other professionals that could still talk to him about the issues that are going on. Scenario seven discusses how there is a custody dispute where both ex-spouses agree to pay 50% of the costs, however something arises where the husband pays his and her halves of the cheque and the social worker decides that since the bill has been paid out in full, there is no need for further discussion about the money issues. From reading on about he case, I read that there is most definitely an infraction, under the principle “Fee’s” and the sub principle 6. 1. 6. 1 Discusses how “College members do not charge or accept any fee which is not fully disclosed” (pg. 29, Code of Ethics). From what I gather from the Scenario, the ex-wife was not aware of what the payment outcomes were, and since both spouses originally decided to each pay 50% of the costs I believe that by the Social Worker accepting the full bill and not discussing it with both parties, he is in fact breaking one of the principle’s under the Code of Ethics.
If I was the social worker in this scenario, I would allow for both parties’ to be aware of what is happening in the custody dispute, that way there if one party is not fully accepting of what is going on, we can go ahead to figure out what the next best step is. I believe that it is important to keep both sides completely involved in the case when it, at the end involves both ex-husband and ex-wife. I, as a Social Worker value honesty and view this scenario as not being fair to both parties involved.
I also believe that if this instance were to be subpoenaed to court, and the wife finds out that the husband paid her half out, and it shows that I took that money, I feel as though my professional license could be jeopardized due to the lack of honesty. Scenario eight discusses how Rachel has been referred to a mental health agency from a local Child and Family Agency in a first nation community. Rachel has two children between the ages of 5 and 7and is trying to get out of an abuse relationship. Rachel’s sister-in-law (husband’s sister) works for the Child and Family Center, and wants to find out the update on Rachel’s situation.
Personally I found this to be a complicated situation, where I would definitely want to discuss with other co-workers about their opinions for extra feedback of the best scenario. Right away I thought of the fact that Rachel’s kids are young, being 5 and 7, as soon as they enter a Shelter for Women leaving abusive relations, Children and Family Services must be called as it is a Duty to Report. However, if Rachel’s sister in law was, for instance the woman who took the initial call, it would be in her best interest to follow the rules of it being a conflict of interest and to pass the call to another worker.
In this scenario it also speaks to the fact that Rachel discloses that she is worried that Richard will find out where she is, which is when the Social Worker got a call from the sister-in-law asking for an update. This Social Worker is working in a Mental Health Agency, so the only outcome I can see it being appropriate would be to say that the children are no longer in your care, and that if there is any more details that need to be discussed, a confidentiality form must be signed by all parties included and that information must be relayed to the worker in charge of the case.
Therefore, I realized that there was an infraction made regarding the fifth principle of confidentiality, under the sub-principles 5. 1 and 5. 3. 6. 5. 1 Discusses how “college members comply with applicable privacy and other legislations… use of disclosure of client information including personal information, unless otherwise permitted by law” (pg. 23, code of Ethics). This discusses how unless there was a consent signed by the parties involved that allows for members of the College to speak to each other, nothing should be said that can put any client in risk.
Therefore as mentioned earlier, unless there was a confidentiality form signed by all parties, and that Rachel’s sister in law was in fact on the case, this is a direct infraction. 5. 3. 6 Describes how “College members do not disclose the identity of and/or information about a person who has consulted or retained them unless the person consents” (pg. 24, Code of Ethics). As mentioned earlier, I believe that no information should ever be relayed to any other member of parties involved due to the fact that it can be a direct breach of confidentiality.
In my opinion, if information is ever let out to the wrong person, that client can be put in direct harm, and even possibly killed. As mentioned earlier, I would go about this by every precaution available to make sure that my client is in the best situation for safety. I would speak to other co-workers to get a second opinion and I would go about every safety precaution from signing consent forms to discussing with those on the case from all parties involved about what is best for the client, since that is what my main priority is.
Scenario nine discusses how a Registered Social Worker with a Master’s degree and 20 years in psychiatric settings has a 95% success rate in treating depression. Many clients tell the Social Worker that they are a Doctor because they believe strongly in the skills used. I found that this is an infraction as the Social Worker is not a registered Doctor and as a Social Worker should firmly state their position in the School of Social Work. The Principles that I found the infractions under are “Advertising” and the sub-principles 7. 1. 6, 7. 3. 3. 7. 1. 6 States that embers “cannot claim a special advantage that is unsupported by professional or scientific evidence” (pg. 31, Code of Ethics). Personally I feel like the Social Worker in this scenario is telling his clients that by having a 95% success rate and that many clients refer to the Social Worker as a “Doctor” when no doctorate degree was ever received is an infraction of that rule. The Social Worker should be firm and honest with the clients stating that he is not a Doctor, however they have specialized in the field for 20 years, creating a great rapport with clients among the community. . 3. 3 States firmly that “College members correct whenever possible, false, misleading, or inaccurate information regarding qualification or services”(Pg. 32, Code of Ethics). I believe that this was a main sub-principle that was being broken. As opposed to the social worker stating that they were in fact not a Doctor, nor did he have a doctorate’s degree, the Social Worker carried on and laughed about the comments being made.
As mentioned earlier, the Social Worker involved should have mentioned to all clients calling him “Doctor”, that he is in fact, just specialized in his field. As a Social Worker in this case, I would only mention what was known as true fact when it came time to speak to clients, if they assumed I was a doctor, I would correct them and state facts such as “No, not a Doctor, however, I have my masters in Social Work, and I’ve specialized in the Mental Health field for over 20 years”.
I believe that honesty is what is important when it comes down to making a rapport with clients, that it is important to me as a Social Worker to be aware of these types of infractions so that there is no gray area in our sessions together as client and Social Worker. Scenario ten speaks of a Social Worker who receives a call from Pat, a potential client, which turns out that the client cannot get services from you however you refer the client to other counseling agencies. Two and a half years later, the social worker meets Pat once again and hit things off, where a sexual relationship begins.
Personally, I do not see this as an infraction due to the principle of “Sexual Misconduct”, under the sub-principles 8. 8. However if circumstances were shorter and it had not been a year, this would be an infraction of 8. 6 due to the fact of the relationship starting at time of referral. 8. 8 Discusses how “sexual relationships between College members and clients whom the members have provided social work or social service work services are prohibited for a period of one (1) year following the termination of the professional relationship” (pg. 6 Code of Ethics). In my opinion, and from what I have read, the Social Worker and client discussed the situation briefly and two and a half years later have met up once again. I do not see that as a direct infraction, however if it had been short of a year, and the client had by chance worked with the Social Worker at hand to get help, there would be an infraction under the sub-principle 8. 6. 8. 6 Speaks of how “sexual relations between College members and clients at any time during the professional relationship are prohibited.
College members do not have sexual relations with any person who they’ve had a professional relationship due to the risk of creating a conflict of interest” (pg. 35, Code of Ethics). Explaining in fact that if Pat and the Social Worker did have a professional and Sexual relationship, they would be creating an infraction directly. As a Social Worker, I value, and believe that is it important to respect clients as people, and not take advantage of the vulnerability they may be facing once taking a step further to discuss deep rooted and personal issues with be, as a Social Worker.
I believe that there is a rule placed for a reason and that it would not be fair to any people seeking my own personal help to take advantage of their vulnerability (intentionally or not) and use it while having a professional relationship with the client as well. Scenario eleven discusses how there is a Social Worker in an Aboriginal mental health agency, who has a specific client Mary Lou, who is about to terminate her treatment with the Social Worker since she has completed her goals. As a thank you gift, she has made a dream catcher for the Social Worker out of love and appreciation.
Personally I do not feel that there is any infraction in this case, seeing as it was not a sexual misconduct for Mary Lou to give the gift and for the Social Worker to accept it a “thank-you gift”. Just to be certain however, I would look at the principle “Relationship to Client” under the sub-principle 1. 7. 1. 7 Discusses how “College members employed by organizations maintain an awareness and consideration of the purpose, mandate and function of those organizations and how they may limit professional relationships with clients” (pg. , Code of Ethics). I believe that in this statement it displays that College members must keep their relationship in mind when working alongside with clients. I believe that there would be a significant problem if the clients were offering us fee’s on the side, “tips” almost, or that the client has found an emotional love for the worker, however this is not the case. As a Social Worker, I believe that there is nothing better than knowing that one appreciates what you’ve done for them in terms of creating that rapport.
I believe that there is a specific reason why we all chose to get into this program, and helping others is a major reason, if it wasn’t, why else would it be? I do not believe that there is anything wrong with a gift of appreciation, especially one that demonstrates their culture. I value the rapport that we build with clients and the things we learn from each of the cases that we work on we are able to learn and grow each time. Works Cited Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. (2008). Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbooks . Toronto : Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.