Historical Divides and Ethical Obligations Within Social Work
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) specifies the ethics and values of the profession in their Code of Ethics. Section 6.04 of the Code of Ethics (1999) states:
Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.(Preamble, p. 8)
With the requirement of social and political action among social workers, there is little political activity among clinical social workers. Why? What barriers exist that prevent social workers from fulfilling this ethical obligation?
What does it mean to be a macro social worker? A micro social worker? Do these differentiations have any real meaning? If not, why is this language used when referring to the social work profession?
In this Discussion, you will look at the obligation of social workers to engage in political action in their practice and discuss why there appear to be different perceptions of the responsibility for political action among social work professionals.
By Day 4
Post an analysis of historical divides (such as the schism between Jane Addams and Mary Richmond) and historical influences on current social work practice with respect to policy advocacy and action. Do such schisms exist in contemporary social work? If you think these divides exist, how do they prevent social workers from fulfilling their ethical obligation(s)? Are they important differentiations?
Policies and Social Problems
Why is it important for social workers to understand policy? When you think of policies, you may tend to think of the federal policies that support services such as Medicare and state policies that support education and welfare services. However, sometimes the policies that have the greatest impact on clients are the policies of agencies and organizations.
Note: An “agency or organizational policy” is a policy. For example, it might be part of a county welfare agency that requires an administrator at a juvenile correction facility to report any individual that is an illegal immigrant that comes to that facility.
In this Discussion, you will identify a policy at an agency or organization with which you are familiar. It can be a public agency, a for-profit human service provider, or a not-for-profit community agency. Describe the organization, the policy, and the social problem it addresses.
By Day 3
Post the policy at an agency or organization with which you are familiar. Describe the organization, the policy, and the social problem it addresses.
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