Client Relationships and Ethical Boundaries for Social Workers in Child Welfare

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Ethical boundaries for social workers and clients

Is it a violation of ethical boundary if I work in HSS and mental health clinician and met kids at both jobs?

Sadiku Mohammed 248 days ago


The NASW Code of Ethics states: (c) Social workers should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with clients or former clients in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. In instances when dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable, social workers should take steps to protect clients and are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries. (Dual or multiple relationships occur when social workers relate to clients in more than one relationship, whether professional, social, or business. Dual or multiple relationships can occur simultaneously or consecutively.)

The key to whether the dual relationship is unethical or not is whether there is the potential of exploitation or harm to the client. This situation also brings up questions of confidentiality and informed consent. As always, I would talk to supervisors in both agencies about any ethical issues/questions, as well as any agency policies that might apply to your particular situation. 247 days ago

client has a warrant out for him

the police are looking for my client is it ethical to turn him in

sheila v sheppard more than 2 years ago


I had a visit with my social worker last week and she has homework that she assigns me to do for the following week yet wants me to buy a binder (folder) to keep the assignments inside of. She then told me that if I showed up without the binder, I wouldn't be allowed in the office. Doesn' that sound kind of harsh and does she have the right to make this demand a client?

JT more than 2 years ago

sexual relations between client and social worker

If meeting the needs of the client is required, and the client wants a sexual relationship with the social worker, will there be a problem if such sexual activity occurs?

brandon more than 2 years ago

Yes, there is a problem

Yes, this is problematic and unethical, and it is specifically prohibited by the NASW Code of Ethics. See section 1.09 of the Code at: more than 2 years ago

practice location regulations

My spouse recently died and I need to sell our family home. I would like to convert the house I use for clinical practice to part residence and part office. What are the limitations and/or requirements for this. I am licensed in the state of Ohio as an LISW-S

Connie Chamberlain more than 4 years ago

Why do they do it?

I have a suggestion for your question of why do they violate those boundaries?! Because in my experience in child welfare for 6 years in Pennsylvania-very rarely are they social workers. They may have their degree in psychology, art, music, or basket- weaving but they are still hired on as caseworkers and therefore have no "ethical" obligations or licensing standards. This is a huge problem that really must be addressed before we can hope to see change. Further, the people who are put in SUPERVISOR and ADMINISTRATIVE positions are not social workers therefore making it even worse for caseworkers who ARE social workers to try and maneuver a system in which their supervisors and administrators don't care, don't follow ethical or sometimes even legal standards. Unfortunately here, it still is the same way and until that can change I don't see much change happening in the child welfare system! :-(

Stephanie more than 4 years ago

Professional self

Helping people requires genuine connection; doing so professionally requires a level of detachment. My metaphor for the professional self is the placenta. It allows through what helps the fetus develop & grow; it filters out what's potentially harmful, even if completely harmless to the mother.

Professional helpers don't have a biological organ like the placenta to do this. Through training & practice, we instead develop an observing self. This must serve to monitor our own reactions and responses, even as we attend to what the client is saying and not saying, feeling & repressing, thinking & avoiding. Why do I say that? Does that serve some need of mine? Most importantly, does this help the client to grow? Would I think of something *more* helpful to say if I set my need aside, and satisfy that in some more appropriate, non-client context? Clearly, this is a lot more work than letting an organ independently do its work.

Tony Vazquez more than 4 years ago

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