Ethics Alive: Special Report on the 2021 Revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics

New Language on Self-Care and Cultural Competence/Cultural Humility Takes Effect June 1, 2021

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NASW: Publish a full text document of the Code!

NASW should publish a full-text version of the Code of Ethics. I have written NASW about this. The web version is too hard to use. We need a freely available version that can be searched and used to enable members to do ethics reviews of our practice, teaching and volunteer work, with the Code open in one window and our comments/analysis in another. It doesn't have to be a facsimile of the PDF NASW sells, just a simple full text version.

Michael A. Dover 273 days ago

Human rights

The changes to me seem largely individualistic. I have been writing to leaders of NASW for years hoping human rights would be in the next code of ethics. If it's there I could have missed it. Social justice isn't enough. All other codes of ethics I've checked have strong statements on social work and human rights.

Katherine S van Wormer more than 1 year ago


It's 2021 now, cis-gendered straight white males need to show humility. That apparently matters more than human rights. Whoever made these revisions want all social workers to become "antiracist" political activists. That simply isn't the most important thing to the vast majority of special populations that social workers help. How about human trafficking? Is there any "must" language in there for taking action against that? How about for taking action against rapists who walk because the victim was blamed? Nono, racial humility is clearly what matters the most here, none of that.

Shakisha Jean more than 1 year ago

Human Rights in the Code

Katherine is right. Zero uses of phrase human rights, seven of social justice, four of human needs. Rights, needs and justice should always be used in conjunction with each other. But like with faith, hope and charity, one is most central, and that is universal human needs, imho. The Code, unlike CSWE's EPAS draft for 2022, is deficient in this recognition. I hope this will change in the final draft.

Michael A. Dover 273 days ago

intersecting priorities

There is overlap between advocating for human rights, human trafficking victims, victims of sexual violence, anti racism, and cultural humility. They all intersect. Racial oppression is at the center, but gender, capitalism, further inform structural vulnerability. We all are on the same side. We can advocate for all of these things simultaneously.

Carrie Mounier 249 days ago

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