Social Workers' Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society Last but not least in the NASW Code of Ethics is section number six, "Social Workers' Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society." These are good items to review and remember, not just for the licensing exam, but for staying connected to the core mission of social work. The four items are simple--links go to details:

  • 6.01 Social Welfare
  • 6.02 Public Participation
  • 6.03 Public Emergencies
  • 6.04 Social and Political Action

Here's 6.04, Social and Political Action, in its entirety:

(a) Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.

(b) Social workers should act to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited persons and groups.

(c) Social workers should promote conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity within the United States and globally. Social workers should promote policies and practices that demonstrate respect for difference, support the expansion of cultural knowledge and resources, advocate for programs and institutions that demonstrate cultural competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights of and confirm equity and social justice for all people.

(d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, or mental or physical disability.

Don't be surprised to encounter items on the social work exam addressing social and political action. When in doubt, remember the call to action here: act, advocate, promote, prevent.  Social workers--on the exam and in practice--are directed by the code to engage not just with individual clients, but with the larger systems, especially in the face of injustice.


For realistic exam practice regarding social justice and lots more, get started with SWTP.

August 26, 2014
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