Southern New Hampshire University Ethics and The Law Discussion

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Discussion 1: Ethics and the Law

When working with clients, it is important to maintain professional boundaries to safeguard both you and your clients. Legislation such as HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics are specific in how you as a social worker should protect client information and safeguard confidentiality. Responding ethically in a professional situation may be clear in most situations, but not necessarily in all situations. Even though you have established laws and code of ethics to guide your decision-making process, you may still face ethical conflicts.

For this Discussion, review the media of the Bradley case and consider how the case relates to social work professional ethics.

By Day 3

Post the strategy you would use to address the Teen First director’s request if you were the social worker in the Bradley case. Then, describe a hypothetical situation in which an organization’s decision conflicts with your personal/professional ethics but remains within the law. Explain how you would respond to this situation, and why.

Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

By Day 5

Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.

Respond to at least two colleagues in one of the following ways:

  • Expand upon your colleague’s response to the Bradley case.
  • Critique your colleague’s strategy for addressing the ethical dilemma he or she has described.

Colleague 1: Jennifer

Post the strategy you would use to address the Teen First director’s request if you were the social worker in the Bradley case.

In watching the short video in this week’s resources, I felt somewhat conflicted. In watching the request from the director, I could understand why she would want to use the case of Tiffany as an example for how the program could be a success to others in a similar situation as Tiffany. In taking on the role of the social worker working with Tiffany, I too can understand how the social worker would feel that it may me too soon for Tiffany to want to participate as the “poster child” for this particular program. In my role as the social worker, my director is my direct supervisor. My job is to advocate for my client, in this case Tiffany Bradley, and to advocate for her best interest. Part of the NASW Core Values states that we should advocate for dignity and worth of the person. The social worker is being reluctant to discuss the option for Tiffany to participate in the advocacy of the program based on the social worker’s own beliefs about the situation. The 5th pillar of character discusses caring. Caring is the heart of ethics and ethical decision making. (Northouse, p. 311). I would tell my supervisor, the director, that I would approach the subject with Tiffany to see how she feels about the request. I would continue to support Tiffany in either choice whether she decides to participate in advocating for the program for if she chooses not to participate. The option is ultimately Tiffany’s to make, not mine as her social worker and not the decision of the Director.

Then, describe a hypothetical situation in which an organization’s decision conflicts with your personal/professional ethics but remains within the law.

A hypothetical situation that comes to mind is a personal situation that I have encountered in my work in child protective services. We have an agency that is faith based that provides services to those in the community who have found themselves to be homeless. The organizations remodeled an old schoolhouse and made it a temporary homeless shelter for women and children and have taken on some families. Part of the criteria is that to be able to stay in the shelter, the client has to agree to attend their faith-based services on Sunday and to also attend any other religious services that are offered throughout the week. I feel personally and professionally that this is a conflict in that the agency knows that these people have no other housing options and are forcing the clients to participate in their religious services. This goes against the freedom of religion act in the Constitution. I understand that the client can choose not to use this organization however we live in a rural area and there are very limited resources for housing. This is not against the law, but I feel that this goes against some of the social work core values and ethics that discuss dignity and worth of person and having the client be able to make their own choices. (Autonomy).

Explain how you would respond to this situation, and why.

If I had the choice to make a change, I would incorporate different ways that the family could give back other than participating in religious services. I would ask the family to volunteer their time in their soup kitchen, or in their clothing closet, or possibly help out in their office. I would certainly offer the choice of participating in their religious programs, but I would let the client know that their level of participation would not affect their ability to receive services in the agency.

Reference

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Sessions: Bradley (Episode 5 of 42) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Northouse, P. G. (2021). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Sage.

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014a). Sessions: Case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing [Vital Source e-reader].

Colleague 2:Sasia

RE: Discussion 1 – Week 6

COLLAPSE

Bradley Case

As the social worker stated Bradly is still in a vulnerable stage where she could return to her pimp and that anything could be used to set her towards that path. She is also correct to worry about the connotation if Bradly was used in the agency advertisement and wet back to her pimp. This could promote toxicity as it appears the agency greenlight this behavior and/or they are incapable of dealing with volatile situations. The best strategy would be to reflect on who is my client and what my duty as social workers is towards protecting their confidentiality. I would express how our NASW prohibits me from promoting anything that could bring harm to the client. In fact, this is a direct quote from the NASW “Social workers should protect the confidentiality of clients when responding to requests from members of the media”; which can be interpreted as using them as advertisement for our agency (National Association of Social Workers, 2021)).

Hypothetical Conflicts of Interest

A hypothetical scenario where a conflict of interest could occur could be being close friends with a celebrity who is trying to work on their mental health and my agency requesting that they work with us in order to boost their status. Now, they may not be a client yet, but knowing that my agency would be placing more value on what they can do for us rather than what we can do for them would be disingenuous. I understand wanting to have a high-profile client to pique the interest of more clients, but we should never use a client as a tool for growth. This can also be considered a dual relationship that is leading toward exploitation of my relationship with this person for the agencies gain, which goes against the code of ethics.

References:

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Sessions: Bradley (Episode 5 of 42) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

National Association of Social Workers. (2021). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of…

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