Code of Ethics for Social Workers
Code of Ethics for Social Workers

A Guide to the Social Worker’s Code of Ethics

Many professions abide by an ethical code; attorneys, physicians, therapists, and dentists, to name a few, all have national guidelines. Professionals, which includes social workers, are expected to adhere to these guidelines by both their leaders and the people they serve for the duration of their professional career.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics serves to guide social workers with the general standard of the well-being of humankind – specifically the “vulnerable, oppressed, and impoverished.

The NASW Code of Ethics outlines six purposes of the social worker followed by six purposes of the code of ethics. The six purposes of the social worker are:

1. Service
2. Social Justice
3. Dignity and worth of the person
4. Importance of human relationship
5. Integrity
6. Competence

The NASW goes into further detail of the purpose of a social worker and preface the purpose of the Code:

“Professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth these values, principles, and standards to guide social worker’s conduct. The Code is relevant to all social workers and social work students, regardless of their professional functions, the settings in which they work, or the populations they serve.”

The six purposes of the Code itself, in summary, is as follows:

1. Outline ethical Principles
2. Outline ethical Standards
3. Identify social worker conflicts of interest
4. Provide accountability for social workers
5. Integrate social workers new to the field
6. Articulate specific standards

The Code goes on to describe a social worker’s ethical responsibility both to clients and colleagues, in practice settings and as professionals, and a social worker’s responsibilities to the profession and to broader society.

See the Code for yourself here: 
Social Workers Code (NASW) Code of Ethics

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