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Additional Bonus Material. MSSWA 2013 Spring Conference March 25, 2013. Bonus Material. The rest of this PowerPoint is additional material related to legal obligations and Professional Duty. Ethical Decision Making. Legal obligations Duty of Care-laws governing provision of services

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Additional bonus material

Additional Bonus Material

MSSWA 2013 Spring Conference

March 25, 2013


Bonus material
Bonus Material

  • The rest of this PowerPoint is additional material related to legal obligations and Professional Duty


Ethical decision making
Ethical Decision Making

  • Legal obligations

  • Duty of Care-laws governing provision of services

  • Duty to respect privacy

  • Duty to maintain confidentiality

  • Duty to inform-legal requirements about information regarding services

  • Duty to report-reporting criminal behavior

  • Duty to warn-warning potential victims of violence


Duty of care
Duty of Care

  • You are legally obligated to provide a reasonable standard of care

  • In terms of school social work, you are expected to be knowledgeable about laws and policies related to special education services, mandatory reporting laws-do you have others?

  • Professional record-keeping is part of this-what practices do you have related to this?


Duty of care1
Duty of care….

  • Your social work activities need to be “congruent with generally accepted theory and research”

  • You need to have a sound professional rationale and evidence to support what you are doing

  • Unusual interventions that do not have a sound rationale and evidence to support their safety can increase your liability


Duty to respect privacy
Duty to Respect Privacy

  • Under most circumstances you are not entitled to intrude on the privacy of those you work with

  • Includes imposing your religious beliefs unless asked specifically to do so

  • Clients have a right to basic privacy


Duty to maintain confidentiality
Duty to Maintain Confidentiality

  • Information shared with you is not to be shared with third parties

  • In general, material shared by clients is their property, not yours

  • Under most circumstances, clients must give informed consent before you can share information

  • This can be especially challenging in a school setting


Duty to inform
Duty to inform

  • It is your responsibility to inform clients about policies and laws that could affect the services they get..in the school setting, this might be parents regarding their children’s right to services

  • You should give clients information about your qualifications as also be honest regarding your limitations


Duty to report
Duty to Report

  • You need to be clear about your responsibility as a mandated reporter and your legal obligation to report if someone’s life is at risk

  • A social worker must have with reasonable evidence to conclude that the client poses a risk of harm. “Suspicion alone is insufficient” (United States v. Hayes, 6th Cir, 2000)


Duty to warn and protect
Duty to Warn and Protect

  • Tarasoff v. California Board of Regents established that helping professionals are obligated to take some action to protect the lives of third parties

  • Some actions can violate some aspects of a client’s right to confidentiality and privacy

  • Be very careful to document exactly what was said and also what you then did


Difference between law and professional ethics
Difference Between Law and Professional Ethics

  • At times, a practitioner may follow the law but be acting unethically

  • Past laws regarding mandatory sterilization

  • Laws about reporting and deportation of illegal immigrants

  • Social workers may break the law for ethically principled reasons but there is a general assumption that we have an ethical duty to obey the law


Nasw code on this topic
NASW Code on this topic

  • “Instances may arise when social workers ethical obligations conflict with…relevant laws or regulations. When such conflicts occur, social workers must make a responsible effort to resolve the conflict in a manner that is consistent with the values, principles and standards expressed in the Code. If a reasonable resolution of the conflict does not appear possible, social workers should seek proper consultation before making a decision”


Malpractice and unethical behavior
Malpractice and Unethical Behavior

  • Unethical Activity-when one departs from the usual practice that a “prudent professional” would have rendered in the same situation

  • Unethical behavior-violates the professional principles and standards of the profession’s Code

  • Failure to provide a proper professional service can lead to malpractice/civil suits; failure to provide ethical service can lead to sanctions


Most common malpractice
Most common malpractice

  • Boundary violations-40% sexual relationships

  • Incorrect treatment-what might this be in the school setting?

  • Suicide of patients

  • Dual relationships (non sexual)

  • Urban areas more likely to have complaints of boundary violations, including dual rolesKNOWLEDGE AND GOOD PRACTICE ARE THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST LIABILITY


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