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Application of the NASW Code of Ethics - Paper Example

4 pages
863 words
Vanderbilt University
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The values, principles, and standards relevant to the problem of racism in child welfare services include the respect for cultural diversity. Conflict of interest is also relevant to this issue. According to the NASW code of ethics, social workers should recognize the strengths and weaknesses of every culture (National Association of Social Workers, 2008). They should understand that culture depicts human behavior and the society. Social workers should be on the forefront in promoting fairness and equality in services irrespective of ethnicity, skin color, race, religion, and sexual orientation. However, the codes of ethics stipulate that social workers should understand the background of their clients, for instance, the education, sex, mental and physical health. Most importantly, social workers should strive to understand social diversity and discrimination concerning race, ethnicity, religion, gender, marital status, and political belief. Since racial bias is prevalent in child welfare programs, perpetrators of the vice act in contrast to the NASW code of ethics. The codes provide enough guidance for social workers to take a stance on racism. The NASW principles and standards concerning cultural and social diversity awareness is clear that bias undermine the competent practice of social work. Social workers should avoid a conflict of interest in service delivery to prevent the misinterpretation of child welfare problems. Social workers should work in the best interest of the clients and should not let personal interests interfere with their judgments.

Application of an Ethical Decision Making Model

Racism in child welfare programs requires social workers to use the Isersons Rapid Decision Making Model to evaluate their actions. According to the model, an impartiality test prevents ethical dilemmas (Iserson, 2011). Social workers should deliver services that they would accept if performed on them. The models universalizability test guides practitioners to make decisions universal to all social workers with the same background. Lastly, the Isersons model asks practitioners to carry out an interpersonal justifiability test to evaluate whether they can publicly announce their decisions (Iserson, 2011). Therefore, social workers should use this model to offer equal services without oppression, bias, and discrimination.

Personal Reflection

Institutional racism in child welfare programs is unethical and a violation of human rights. Racism in social services is also a breach of the NASW code of ethics. Social workers should provide services without prejudice, bias, racism, and discrimination. Social assistance programs exist because there are marginalized people in need of help. Children are most vulnerable to abuse. Therefore, it is morally and professionally advisable for social workers to solve child abuse cases reasonably without white prejudice. I feel that people of color are denied essential services because of their racial and ethnic background. As such, there should be transparency, accountability, and fairness in the delivery of child welfare programs. On the other hand, the NASW organization should organize social work seminars to educate social workers on ways to improve service delivery. The seminars should also create awareness on diversity and how social workers should be impartial while dealing with people of color.

Opportunities for education

Social workers should advance their education to learn about institutional racisms and how it negatively affects social work practice. Education imparts knowledge and awareness on social problems. For instance, a masters degree program would help social workers to learn about effective leadership. Effective leadership is not blinded by self-interests but is concerned about the welfare of others. Therefore, there should be social work workshops, seminars, and conferences with the aim of creating social and cultural diversity awareness. Such functions promote efficient service delivery especially in solving child welfare problems. Therefore, social workers can develop skills, attitudes, and knowledge through further education. They should also attend training aimed at improving their efficiency and how to deal with diversity.


If students feel that their values are inconsistent with social work practice, they could pursue a major in community development or social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship entails creating innovative ventures and solutions to social problems, for instance, the use of green energy to prevent global warming. On the other hand, community development the collective approach by the community to generate answers to common problems (cultural, economic, social or environmental). Therefore, social entrepreneurship and community development are two alternatives that can be studied if one is interested in working with the society. The two majors seek to solve problems within the community and can generate good income too.


Child welfare programs are essential to solving child abuse and neglect and the community. Social workers should diligently work to create solutions to problems involving children issues. However, institutional racism has undermined the delivery of social services. Racism is a breach of the human rights and is unethical. Social workers should avoid personal bias and prejudice in child welfare programs. They should understand cultural and social diversity and how best to solve problems reasonably in legitimate ways. To avoid bias in social work practice, social workers should be trained and encouraged to pursue high education to attain better skills such as leadership and knowledge.


Iserson, K. (2011). The Rapid Ethical Decisionmaking Model: Critical Medical

Interventions in Resource-Poor Environments. Cambridge Quarterly Of Healthcare Ethics, 20(01), 108-114.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). NASW Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

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