SOWO 30813 Professional Communication in Social Work
Values Clarification Paper
Social work is a profession based on values. Social work’s core values are:
- Social justice
- Dignity and worth of a person
- Importance of human relationship
Beyond the “core values,” we also have a Code of Ethics, a set of broad ethical principles and specific ethical standards to guide social work practice. The NASW Code of Ethics can be found at http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default.asp. In addition, we have Social Work Speaks, which contains policy statements on social issues and problems. Social Work Speaks is established by NASW to reflect the core values of the profession and articulate social work’s position on over 60 topics we often confront in practice; for example, affirmative action, child abuse and neglect, family planning and reproductive choice, school violence and many more.
You can find the abstracts of Social Work Speaks at: http://www.socialworkers.org/resources/abstracts/default.asp but if you want the entire document, you must purchase the book or find it in the library. And finally, we have state laws that specifically address social workers and all aspects of their practice. Texas laws can be found at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/SocialWork/ and I’ve also posted them in Doc Sharing on ecollege.
It is our professional responsibility to know and understand the values, ethics, and laws to which we are accountable. Rarely if ever does a person have a perfect fit with the social work values or agree with everything stated in the Code of Ethics. We are, however, required to follow the laws of the state in which we practice social work. Some standards in the Code seem to contradict each other, pointing us in different directions. Some agencies have policies that contradict the Code. Value conflicts are abundant in social work. We use the process of ethical decision making when we are confronted with these dilemmas.
The purpose of this assignment is (1) to help you learn about the values, ethics and laws regulating our profession and (2) to explore how your personal values fit with those of the profession. Begin this assignment by exploring the Code of Ethics, Social Work Speaks and Texas Laws for social workers. As you read through these documents, what do you notice? What fits well with what you think and believe? What seems out of sync with your own ideas and beliefs? What do you discover that you didn’t know about social work? What topics and areas seem most familiar to you based on what you have studied so far in social work? What topics have you not given much thought to?
The Values Clarification Paper will be a “work in progress” as you move through your social work career. You will find it especially helpful as you begin to work in agencies and with clients because this is where the rubber hits the road. What seems perfectly clear in the classroom can become muddy and messy in the real world. Use this assignment to begin the process of self awareness with regard to your value fit with the profession and to plan for when conflicts arise.
Values Clarification Paper – Your paper will be three to four pages, double-spaced, plus title page and references; you will use APA format for the paper. I expect a minimum of five professional sources for your paper.
You will begin with a (1) discussion of your personal values – What are values? What do you value? Why? Where do your values come from? Where are the areas in which you aren’t sure about what you value? How do you express your values? What do you do when you have a value conflict with another person? A value conflict with yourself?
Next, (2) summarize what you have learned about the values, guidelines and rules/laws of the profession from the sources listed above (Code of Ethics, Social Work Speaks and Texas Laws) and (3) discuss how your personal values fit, and don’t fit, with social work . Finally, (4) discuss how you will deal with your value conflicts with the profession.
You will review papers in class with peers for feedback. Due dates are on the syllabus. You may also submit a draft to the instructor for feedback before the final paper is submitted. Be sure to allow sufficient time for feedback. Final paper is due as assigned at the beginning of class – submit to eCollege.