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Social workers are often asked to consider the ethics of working with their clients in a therapeutic relationship. Here we will discuss the implications of ethics working along the full continuum of social work – from micro to macro. Most have heard about ethical issues like Confidentiality, Dual Relationships, and Sexual Relationships. How do ethics look when working with communities? What ethical obligations do social workers have to work for social justice when working one on one with clients?
We will explore how practitioners and students view ethical obligations around macro practice and social justice issues. Our guest expert is Heather McCabe, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Indiana University. She served as a medical social worker at a pediatric tertiary care hospital for several years before returning to school for her law degree. She also served as the Director of the Public Health Law Program and then Executive Director for the Hall Center for Law and Health at the IU School of Law – Indianapolis before coming to her current position. Professor McCabe’s research is primarily in the areas of public health, health policy, health disparities, health reform, and disability related policy. She is particularly interested in exploring the effects of multidisciplinary education and collaboration in her work.
Questions to be explored:
- Do you think about the NASW Code of Ethics applying to community organizing, policy practice, advocacy? If so, how?
- If you see multiple clients with the same systemic issue, do you have any ethical obligation to address the issue?
- What types of bills do you see as impacting your clients? What responsibility to you have to advocate for/educate about them?
- Do you advocate for policy in your day to day work? Give an example.
- How do we continue encouraging social workers to see practice as a continuum, which includes macro practice?
- Reisch, M. & Lowe, J.I. (2000). “Of means and ends” revisited: Teaching ethical community organizing in an unethical society. Journal of Community Practice, 7(1), 19-38.
- Hardina, D. (2000). Guidelines for ethical practice in community organization. Social Work, 49(4), 595-604.
- Harrington, D., & Dolgoff, R. (2008). Hierarchies of Ethical Principles for Ethical Decision Making in Social Work. Ethics and Social Welfare, 2(2), 183–196. doi:10.1080/17496530802117680
- National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
- Rome, S.H.,Hoechstetter, S., and Wolf-Branigin, M. (2010). Pushing the envelope: Empowering clients through political action. Journal of Policy Practice, 9(3-4), 201-219.
- Rome, S.H. (2009). Value inventory for policy advocacy. In E.P Congress, P.N. Black, and K. Strom-Gottfried (Eds.) Teaching Social Work Values and Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.
About #MacroSW: #MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com.
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