Ethics and Professionalism 5-29

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Ethics
and
Professionalism
Washington State
Department of Social
& Health Services
1
Child Welfare Social Work
Personal vs. Professional Values
Know your personal values/biases
 Know your role

Ethical Imperatives





Clear professional boundaries
Competence
Integrity
Client self-determination
Confidentiality
2
Ethical Imperative:
Professional Boundaries
3
Ethical Conduct: Boundaries
Public employees should not make
decisions in order to gain financial or other
benefits for themselves, their family, or
their friends.
•RCW 42.52.070, Special privileges
•RCW 42.52.140, Gifts
•RCW 42.52.150, Limitations on gifts
•RCW 42.52.080, Employment after public service
4
Ethical Conduct: Boundaries








Use of State Position
Conflict of Interest
Receiving/exchanging
Money
Gifts
Food or drink
Services
Providing lesser/greater services
5
Ethical Conduct: Boundaries
Use of State Position
A state officer or employee may not use his
or her state position to secure special
privileges or to grant exemptions to benefit
himself, herself, family members, or other
persons.
6
Ethical Conduct: Boundaries
Conflict of Interest &
Dual Relationships



A conflict of interest occurs when you have a
private interest that may benefit from your
actions, or when a private interest could
interfere with official duties
An interest need not be financial to create a
conflict of interest
Most conflicts result from the exercise of
discretionary authority
7
Ethical Imperative:
Competence
8
Ethical Conduct: Competence
Reasonable
knowledge of primary issues
of concern
Reasonable knowledge of treatment
approaches & their efficacy
Cultural competence
Willingness to seek help and guidance
when needed
9
Culturally Competent Practice:
One’s
ability to work in a way that is
effective given the normative
expectations of a given community
A willingness to avoid assumptions and
to be interested in cultural factors in the
broadest sense
Is
a continuing process
Begins with self-awareness
Requires basic knowledge of human
diversity
10
Ethical Imperative: Integrity
11
Ethical Conduct: Integrity

Employees in public service should not place
themselves under any financial or other
obligation to outside individuals or
organizations that might influence them in
the performance of their duties.
•
RCW 42.52.020, Activities incompatible with public duties
•
RCW 42.52.110, Compensation for official duties or nonperformance
•
RCW 42.52.120, Compensation for outside activities
•
RCW 42.52.130, Honoraria
12
Ethical Conduct: Integrity
Objectivity

Public employees must place the public’s
interest before any private interest or
outside obligation - choices need to made
on the merits.
•
RCW 42.52.020, Activities incompatible with
public duties
•
RCW 42.52.030, Financial interests in transactions
•
RCW 42.52.040, Assisting in transactions
13
Ethical Conduct: Integrity
Stewardship

Public employees have a duty to conserve
public resources and funds against
misuse and abuse.
•
RCW 42.52.070, Special privileges
•
RCW 42.52.160, Use of persons, money, or property for
private gain
•
RCW 42.52.180, Use of public resources for political
campaigns
•
WAC 292-110-010
•
Admin Policy 15.15
14
Ethical Conduct: Integrity
Questions to Ask Yourself
•
Will my use of state resources result in added costs or any
other disadvantage to the state?
•
Am I using this resource in order to avoid personal
expense?
•
Am I confident that my use of state resources will not
compromise the security or integrity of state information or
software?
•
Are state resources being used for purposes that could be
embarrassing for my agency if reported publicly?
15
The Green Zone
•Any Use that is Reasonably Related to Your
Official Duties
•Combined Fund Campaign
The Yellow Zone
•Personal Use OK Under Limited Circumstances
•Really de minimis exceptions
• There is little or no cost to the state;
• There is no interference with the performance of
official duties;
• The use is brief in duration and frequency;
• The use does not distract from the conduct of
state business; and
• The use does not disrupt other state employees
The Red Zone
•Prohibited Uses
• Outside business interests
• Commercial uses
• Illegal or unprofessional activities
• Political activities, including lobbying
Dilemma

You send emails to your friend’s home computer
from your state computer regarding personal plans
for the weekend.
Is this appropriate stewardship of state
resources?
Dilemma

You ran across an article in TIME magazine that you
want to share with friends and make several copies
using the office’s copier.
Is this appropriate stewardship of state
resources?
Dilemma

You send an email to your senator opposing the
confirmation of a nominee for federal office.
Is this appropriate stewardship of state
resources?
Dilemma
Your supervisor approves the use of a state
computer to do course work for a class that
will enhance your skills.

Is this appropriate stewardship of
state resources?
Dilemma

You send a brief email or make a brief, local call
to check on your kids.
Is this appropriate stewardship of state
resources?
Dilemma

You access the Internet during a lunch break to
check on your stock portfolio and transfer assets to
a different fund.
Is this appropriate stewardship of state
resources?
Dilemma

A family moves in next door to you, and you
would really like to have her babysit your
children, but you’re wondering if she has CPS
history. You decide to check for referral history in
FamLink.
Is this appropriate stewardship of state
resources?
Ethical Imperative:
Client Self-Determination
26
Ethical Conduct:
Client Self-Determination
Know your role
 Identification of role at initial contact
 Full and complete identification of
concerns
 Documentation that is accurate and fairly
reflects what occurred
 Inform clients of possible impacts of their
choices
 Use motivational interviewing to enhance
motivation for change

27
Ethical Imperative:
Confidentiality
28
Ethical Conduct:
Confidentiality

Keep information confidential
◦ Except in Duty to Warn situation
◦ Mandatory reporting requirements
Inform clients of the limits of
confidentiality
 Inform all of documentation requirements
 Follow special protocols for protected
information

◦ HIV
◦ Certain pieces of info when DV is occurring
29
Conclusion: Ethical Choices
What you find is that the tough ethical
choices are not between good and evil, but
rather between two goods:
 Truth versus Loyalty

Individual versus Community

Short-term versus Long-term

Justice versus Mercy
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