Steps for ethical decision making in school social work
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Steps for Ethical Decision Making in School Social Work. Kathy Lombardi, MSW, LICSW Lead School Social Worker, St. Paul Public Schools [email protected] November 1, 2012. Introduction. The ever increasing demands of our jobs may overshadow our ability to make thoughtful decisions

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Steps for ethical decision making in school social work

Steps for Ethical Decision Making in School Social Work

Kathy Lombardi, MSW, LICSW

Lead School Social Worker, St. Paul Public Schools

[email protected]

November 1, 2012


Introduction
Introduction

  • The ever increasing demands of our jobs may overshadow our ability to make thoughtful decisions

  • Daily we make decisions that involve matters of values, ethics

  • At times, we are expected to make these decisions quickly


Introduction1
Introduction

  • Think about how you could utilize a set of steps to think through a dilemma

  • Taking the time to think through and document a decision will prepare you to justify your actions

  • This is very important, if and when, your decisions or actions ever come into questions


Ethical dilemmas
Ethical Dilemmas

  • Competing laws and values

  • Deciding between two or more undesired outcomes for clients and others impacted

  • Not always a right or wrong decision\

  • Require professional judgement


Step 1 gather additional background info and assess the case details
STEP 1: Gather Additional Background Info and Assess the Case Details

  • Identify the stakeholders

  • Who has a vested interest in the outcome

  • Is all the information true and verifiable


Step 2 separate practice considerations from the ethical aspects of the case
Step 2: Separate Practice Considerations from the Ethical Aspects of the Case

  • Gray areas

  • Legal duties may differ from moral responsibilities

  • For example: duty to warn

  • Who is the client

    • Student

    • Family

    • Teacher

    • School district


Step 3 explicitly identify the value tensions
Step 3: Explicitly Identify the Aspects of the Case Value Tensions

  • Right to privacy competes with protecting third parties

  • Does a client have the right to engage in self destructive behaviors

  • School district policy versus the rights of the client

  • HIPPA vs. FERPA


Step 4 consult relevant codes of ethics supervisors colleagues
Step 4: Consult Relevant Codes of Ethics, Supervisors & Colleagues

  • NASW

    • Standards for School Social Work Servcies:

      • http://www.naswdc.org/practice/standards/NASW_SSWS.pdf

    • Code of Eithics

      • http://www.naswdc.org/pubs/code/default.asp

  • Consult with other SSWs


Step 5 identify alternative intervention strategies targets for interventions
Step 5: Identify Alternative Intervention Strategies & Targets for Interventions

  • Consider all possible courses of action and the implications of each

  • You may choose to act on one of these courses

  • You may need to take a “wait and see” approach for a time period first


Step 6 weigh the costs benefits to various stakeholders
Step 6: Weigh the Costs & Benefits to Various Stakeholders Targets for Interventions

  • For each alternative you identified in step 5,discuss the impact on those involved

  • Use a system’s perspective to identify the interests of those who will be impacted by your decision


Step 7 clarify and make explicit personal values
Step 7: Clarify and Make Explicit Personal Values Targets for Interventions

  • Make efforts to be aware of your own values and preferences.

  • Are there personal experiences that create a bias?

  • Are there personal relationships that influence your decision?

  • May need to seek clinical supervision or consultation


Step 8 determine which priority or obligation to meet foremost justify one s choice of action
Step 8: Determine Which Priority or Obligation to Meet Foremost & Justify One’s Choice of Action

  • Decide which course of action to take

  • Justification for this decision is based on legal mandates, professional judgment, professional standards and ethical principles


Step 9 document the process of decision making
Step 9: Document the Process of Decision Making Foremost & Justify One’s Choice of Action

  • Identify the process

  • Document when and with whom you consulted

  • Use professional discretion and judgment on how much detail is needed


Discuss scenarios
Discuss Scenarios Foremost & Justify One’s Choice of Action

  • Three fictional “ethical dilemmas”

  • Get into small groups and go through the decision making process

  • Write a sample documentation note

    • Where will you put this note?

    • Who has access to it?

    • If you feel no written documentation is needed, why?

  • We will gather in 20 minutes for large group review


References
References Foremost & Justify One’s Choice of Action

  • Mattison, Marian. (2006). Professional Ethical Codes: Applications to Common Ethical Dilemmas. In Frankin, Cynthia, Harris, MaryBeth, & Allen-Meares, Paula, School Services Sourcebook: A Guide for School-Based Professionals (pp. 921-927). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/nasw_ssws.pdf

  • http://www.sswaa.org/index.asp?page=91

  • www.dpi.wi.gov/sspw/doc/sswprivacyofminors.doc


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