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Values & Ethics of Social Work

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Ocean L Blue 30145454 Word Count: 1,644 A social work practitioner must aim to alleviate and prevent poverty and suffering in society, it is also their job to try and cure, control or maintain problematic or deviant behaviour. They have obligations to clients, their employers, to one another and to society. Therefore there is a need for a code of ethics which sets out the values and principles of what is expected from the practitioner, their employer and the client. These values and principles form the value base of social work. However, elements of the value base can conflict, particularly in child protection. This essay will critically discuss the value base of social work. Furthermore, it will explain the benefits of a shared common value base within care settings. It will give examples of ethical dilemmas that can arise in social work, identifying the conflicting values and principles and analysing courses of action that could be undertaken to resolve them. Discussion will also be undertaken with regards to the process of promoting and implementing service values and principles in child protection. Social work practitioners must promote the human dignity and worth of others, believing that every person has the right to well-being, fulfilment and control over their lives. ...read more.


A Shared common value base should create uniformity, thus reducing uncertainty amongst practitioners and clients. The departments in Social Services however are diverse, as are the clients and their situations. Therefore, whilst the value base of social work appears workable in theory putting it into practice might well be problematic at times. Child protection illustrates this diversity; there have been numerous cases of parents abusing their children, at times leading to the death of the child. Six year old Lauren Wright (2000) was one such child; she was systematically beaten, mentally abused and slowly starved. In these types of cases culpability is often placed upon Social Services for not removing the child from the family unit, sometimes justifiably too. However, practitioners must seek to promote parental responsibility and aim to keep the child within the family unit. Whilst they may hold suspicions of abuse, without actual proof there is very little that they can do, except remain vigilant. These types of conflicts can lead to ethical dilemmas. "Ethical dilemmas occur when a social worker sees herself as facing a choice between two equally unwelcome alternatives" (Banks, S. 2006). Not all ethical dilemmas arise through suspicions of child abuse however, and what may be an ethical dilemma for some practitioners, may not be for others. ...read more.


The solution may seem obvious to some; the parents must understand the dangers of allowing young children to play with electrical fires. However, the family are clearly suffering from social injustice. Subsequently they have sought the help of Social Services. Therefore is it appropriate to risk isolating the family further by challenging parenting skills? In this case: yes, but the practitioner would need to address the issue with the greatest of sensitivity. By doing this the practitioner will promote the human dignity and worth of the parents and the safeguarding of the children. In addition the practitioner will be able to demonstrate service to humanity; moreover, demonstrating integrity and competence and fulfilling their responsibilities to the client, profession and workplace. It is clear that social work is complex, particularly in child protection. This is not surprising when it is considered that practitioners must not only internalise and adhere to the values and principles of the profession, but legislation too. However, if all practitioners promote responsibility to the client, profession and workplace then there are indeed great benefits to be gained from a shared common value base. Whilst certain elements of the value base may seem unworkable at times they are integral to good social work practice. Without it, the very mechanisms of social work would descend into chaos, leaving those in need with little support and little faith in the system. 1 ...read more.

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