Social Work Ethics

SWK 360 Ethics Assignment

Objective: Students will apply core Social Work Values and the NASW Code of Ethics to an ethical dilemma and use a decision-making framework to propose a possible solution.

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You are a Social Worker in a social welfare agency in a mid-sized community in Kentucky. Your agency operates within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. You supervise a program that works with high-risk teens (13-18 years old) dealing with a range of issues including truancy, substance abuse, family problems and relationship issues. It is a completely voluntary program and students are under no obligation to participate. The program is well established and has a good reputation in the community. Outcome evaluations show that the program has been responsible for supporting a majority of the participants in graduating and obtaining jobs. You have a low rate of participants getting pregnant and have been able to resolve family issues in many cases. The overarching philosophy of the program is to treat the participants as adults and have as few rules as possible, encouraging them to feel safe and welcome in the space and with the social workers.

Funding for your program is a constant battle. You currently have two counselors working in the program with you and generally have a practicum student. Despite the success of the program, your budget has been cut each of the last three years.

One Monday you come into the office and your boss is waiting to talk. She tells you that she has been told by the commissioner of CHFS that new guidelines will be issued concerning youth in state-funded programs. Starting at the first of the year, all participants must agree to random drug testing, regardless of whether they have had any issues with substance abuse. Your boss tells you she believes this is in response to a concern within the state legislature that there will be a push to legalize marijuana. It is her belief that the state wants to collect data regarding the number of children that are in trouble and using drugs. Your boss tells you that she does not agree with this policy and says that she will leave you to determine how you will deal with the directive.

You talk to your staff at lunch. You all know that some of your participants use marijuana. You also discuss the impact this directive may have on participation in your program.

First, identify the specific ethical dilemma and explain WHY it is an actual dilemma. Then, identify the values and ethical standards (these are in the Code of Ethics) that apply to this situation. Apply an ethical framework from the readings to this situation and determine your plan of action regarding this directive.

This assignment should be submitted in APA format including references and in-text citations. It should be between 3-5 pages long and well-edited. It is worth 50 points. A rubric for scoring is available in Blackboard.

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