For each of the following cases, assess the ethical implications involved, citing the specific area(s) of the NASW (2017) Code of Ethics that best address the issues. Additionally, consider Critical Eco-systems theory, Intersectionality, and Empowerment Theory as you assess the micro, mezzo, and macro level ethical considerations within each scenario. Remember that the social workers work with the person in their environment. There are biological, psychological, social, spiritual, economic, and political factors that should be considered in multi-culturally competent social work practice with individuals, families, and communities.
Multi-culturally competent social work practice involves multidimensional assessments, peer collaboration, supervision and interdisciplinary coordination of services. Students are encouraged to consult the course readings, other published social work literature, relevant laws and public policies, and colleagues regarding your answers. Field Instructors can be great collegial resources for this assignment. However, your responses must be in your own words and should reflect your own research-informed opinions. Where appropriate, cite your sources in APA format. Each response should be no longer than 2 pages, double-spaced for each case.
Juan is a social worker working with young adults in a shelter setting. He has been working with Jim for several months, encouraging and supporting Jim to find stable housing. Jim has told Juan that he is HIV+ and feels his life is, in essence, over. Recently, Jim brought his new girlfriend, Karen, in with him for a meal at the shelter. The following day, Juan spoke with Jim about his HIV+ status and Karen’s safety. Jim rejected Juan’s advice that he consider telling Karen about his status, but now Juan wonders whether he should tell her himself or respect Jim’s choice.
Jackie attended a workshop on issues related to working with persons who are transgender. She learned that gender is a nonbinary construct that allows for a range of gender identities and that a person’s gender identity may not align with sex assigned at birth. At her agency, however, assignment to group work is based on traditional, biological standards such that individuals with male sex organs are not allowed to participate in women’s groups regardless of their self-identification. When Jackie brings up this issue at a staff meeting, she is rebuffed. Her coworkers are shocked that she would put a “man” in a women’s group when so many of the women are victims of domestic violence. Jackie wonders about the ethical implications of this situation.
Gail works in a shelter for women and their children who have experienced domestic violence. She recently began working with Louise who came to the shelter with her two small children (both under age 5). Louise had suffered a concussion and had her jaw broken by an abusive male partner and was recently released from the hospital. She found her way to the shelter courtesy of her inpatient social worker. Louise confided in Gail that she was receiving social security checks for her deceased mother (for over 3 months) in hopes that she could save enough money to take her children back to North Carolina to live in her own apartment with relatives. Louise felt that Gail was someone she could share this with. Louise’s male partner did not allow her to have money and currently does not know where Louise is. Gail is very conflicted about having this information and not quite sure what to do with it. She has not even shared this detail with her supervisor and wonders how she should proceed.
David is a clinical social worker at a local family services agency. He is providing play therapy and parent supportive therapy for Mary and her 7 year old son, Marcus. Mary has self-identified as a 28 year old, bi-racial (Mexican-American and African-American) single mother, who works as an office manager at a residential property management company. In addition to being their employee, Mary lives in one of the company’s two bedroom apartment in an old 1920’s building. She said the building is a “fixer upper with charm”. She moved into the house about 9 months ago to reduce her living expenses and to be closer to her parents, who live nearby. David is familiar with the building and the company. He lives in one of their newer apartment buildings a few miles away from Mary’s neighborhood. He is a close friend with one of the company’s owners.
Mary initiated therapy to address Marcus’ “increasing behavioral problems” at home and school, which included uncharacteristic irritability, sluggishness, fatigue despite a regular bedtime schedule, some reports of mild stomach aches, and learning difficulties even in his favorite subjects (reading and math). Mary stated that Marcus was a “precocious” infant and toddler; he met his developmental milestone early. Before the past 5 months, Marcus enjoyed school, positive relationships with his teachers, and good peer friendships. Mary stated that Marcus last medical check-up was 4 months ago. Since his symptoms were “not that serious” then, the doctor suggested monitoring him and setting up a follow-up appointment. They have one scheduled for next week. Initially, Mary attributed Marcus’ behavior changes to their move from West Chester to Philly and adjusting to a new school. However, Marcus has enjoyed spending more time with his grandparents and cousins, who live nearby.
Based on the assessment and the early sessions with Marcus, David started to suspect a possible biological root to Marcus’ symptom, possible exposure to toxins in their old apartment building. David became concerned about Marcus’ health and the possible health hazard for other residences in that building.