When in doubt, ask your supervisor or other professional colleagues for assistance. I've been taught that if the gift is something of value, it's a hard "no". In most cases, agencies allow social workers accepting a client’s small gift in order to improve a client’s relationship building skills. On the other side, deciding to accept a client’s gift may potentially benefit a client’s relationship building skills. Standard 1.06(a) advises social workers to “avoid conflicts of interest that interfere with the exercise of professional discretion and impartial judgment.” Standard 1.06(b) instructs social workers not to “take unfair advantage of any professional relationship.” Standard 1.06(c) says that social workers should set “clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries” with clients. When and how are also important considerations. The first section, "Preamble," summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values. Some people may assume the NASW Code of Ethics (2008) specifically prohibits accepting gifts. One reasoning social workers deny gifts relates to feeling in debt to their clients gift. Using the NASW code of ethics read each scenario and write in essay format leading up to 2 pages if the situation below is Ethical or Never Ethical. I can't imagine turning down something like a handmade card. Some people may assume the NASW Code of Ethics (2008) specifically prohibits accepting gifts. If a client is living in poverty, then a gift worth $20 may be significant. However, every agency states unique guidelines for social work employees to follow if a client presents a gift. An essential value that is applicable to my practice setting is the service value. So while I usually accept gifts when they are given under the ethically acceptable context outlined in the article, I discuss in a transparent way policies, ethics, and my personal response with the client. Assume that Cleo comes from a culture in which gift-giving is appropriate and perhaps culturally expected, even in professional relationships. American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Codes of Ethics – (2020) Directors, officers and employees, and members of their families, should avoid receiving gifts, gratuities, favors or services of any kind from any person, firm or corporation doing business or seeking to do business with the Company under circumstances in which it might be inferred that the purpose of the donor was to influence the individual in the performance of his or her duties. Thus, there are some situations in which accepting gifts would be clearly unethical: As a social worker, your primary commitment is to your client (Standard 1.01). The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of any of the organizations to which the author is affiliated, or the views of The New Social Worker magazine or White Hat Communications. A social worker denying gifts has the possibility of discouraging this particular hesitant type of client to continue their relationship hesitancy values, thoughts, feeling, and actions. Knowing that sometimes "a cigar is just a cigar", this process can nonetheless be a valuable way of highlighting the unique nature of the therapeutic relationship for clients while simultaneously punctuating the termination (usually) of the work together. On August 4, 2017, the NASW Delegate Assembly approved the most substantive revision to the NASW Code of Ethics since 1996. If the client is wealthy, then a gift worth $20 may be perceived by the client as a small token of appreciation. FWC employees shall not solicit or accept a gift if the gift is official actions or if by accepting the gift the employee should It does not. Rather than having a blanket rule about accepting gifts, this standard invites counselors to assess each situation, including the client’s and counselor’s motivations for accepting the gifts. As a result, if the worker accepts the gift, there is a risk that the client may expect the worker to pay back with work related favors. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. Social workers must fully consider, second-guess, and empathetically evaluate denying gifts from clients hesitant towards showing appreciation for important support systems. Small gifts like food aren't conflicts of interest IMO, and are more based on your own comfort level as well as relationship you have with a client if it were to be appropriate. If a client offers a gift during the middle stages of work, then the worker may remind the client of the policy. ( Log Out /  States, “Receiving Gifts: Counselors understand the challenges of accepting gifts from clients and recognize that in some cultures, small gifts are a token of respect and gratitude. The NASW Code does have provisions related to gifts. The NASW Code does have provisions related to gifts. Ethics Alive! However, social workers must caution accepting particular gifts with potential of facilitating a dual relationship. All material published on this website Copyright 1994-2020 White Hat Communications. If you decide it is inappropriate to accept a particular gift, then consider how you can inform the client in a respectful manner. Further, the NASW Code of Ethics does not specify which values, principles, and standards are most important and ought to outweigh others in instances when they conflict. The conflict starts to get to a point when whatever gift they're giving you is of significant monetary value. Regarding clients with high suicidal risk, I believe social workers refusing gifts could partially influence this type of client to commit suicide. Secondly consult your agency’s policy on gifts, if they have one. The NASW Code of Ethics is a long document that provides guidelines for many complicated situations. Speaking for myself, I have enjoyed the instances of clients giving me small gifts. In further detail, a gift denial could result in a client terminating the therapeutic relationship, because a gift denial reinforces clients thinking how people do not accept his or her gift, thoughtfulness, or themselves entirely. With emergent technological advances over the last two decades, the profession could not ignore the necessity for more clarity around the complex ethical issues that arise with the use of various forms of technology. If a client provides a gift at the termination stage of services, then the risk of exploitation may be lower. The NASW Code of Ethics contains 19 … The NASW Code of Ethics 4, Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibilities as Professionals (2017), defines competence as a core value of the profession. The NASW code of ethics says that a social worker should treat colleagues with respect and avoid giving unwarranted negative criticism or making demeaning comments. 1:45-2:45 – The Immigration Humanitarian Crisis & the NASW Code of Ethics Ana Nuñez, MSW, JD This presentation will discuss current humanitarian issues in immigration law and their intersection with the NASW Code of Ethics. Ethics Alive! In terms of the monetary value of gifts, social workers should consider the value in relation to the client’s level of wealth and income. Coincidentally, this “at risk” client’s continuous reinforced lack of acceptance may potentially cause withdrawing social work services, important relationships, and life. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Because the client has already received services, it is less likely that the client is providing the gift to sway how the social worker provides services or other benefits. Mary Anne Cohen As Couponxoo’s tracking, online shoppers can recently get a save of 50% on average by using our coupons for shopping at Gift Giving Nasw Code Of Ethics . The NASW Code of Ethics also addresses the concept of undue influence: "Social work- ers should not take unfair ad- vantage of any professional re- lationship or exploit others to further their personal, religious, political, or business interests" (Standard 1.061b]). If it is in the best interest of the patient, a social worker should consult with colleagues. Note also that this standard asks counselors to take the therapeutic relationship into account. Code of Ethics. Social workers considering this worst-case scenario, pertaining clients at high suicidal risk, maintain valid reasoning for their gift-accepting decision. Under what circumstances might accepting gifts be ethically justifiable, or even desirable? Highlights of Code of Ethics Policy 1. Some agencies put specific values on what types of gifts may be accepted. Well, maybe it depends on who is giving the gift and under what circumstances. Thanks to the author for shedding light on this oftentimes anxiety inducing topic! Whenever a social worker seriously considers accepting a gift or favor from a client, of whatever value or tangibility, the practitioner should consult with thoughtful colleagues and supervisors, when feasible, and critically examine the clinical and ethical implications, including current ethical standards and agency policy, the client’s and practitioner’s motives, and any alternatives. The second section, "Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics," provides an overview of the Code's main functions and a brief guide for dealing with ethical issues or … The NASW Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the professional conduct of social workers. Remember that even if an agency has a policy prohibiting acceptance of gifts, it may be ethical to accept them. The 2017 NASW Code of Ethics: What's New? The American Counseling Association addresses gifts directly in their Code of Ethics. This social worker may experience the best time in his or her life during this vacation. If Cleo offers you a gift and you are concerned about telling your supervisor or co-workers, this raises a warning flag about accepting gifts. I think accepting smaller gifts helps the therapeutic relationship for clients hesitant demonstrating relationship building behaviors, and especially for at risk suicidal clients. Your first instinct may be to tell yourself, “Accepting gifts from clients is unethical. Informing clients up front allows the parties to avoid that ugly moment when a client has made the effort to make or purchase a gift, only to have it rejected. On one side, refusing client’s gifts defines as a smart ethical decision. According to the NASW Code of Ethics, the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and to help meet the basic human needs of all people, for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink, with particular attention to needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. When determining whether to accept a gift from clients, counselors take into account the therapeutic relationship, the monetary value of the gift, the client’s motivation for giving the gift, and the counselor’s motivation for wanting to accept or decline the gift. If gift-giving is an authentic expression of the client’s gratitude, then the principle of self-determination suggests that social workers should honor the client’s wishes. ( Log Out /  To pre-empt problems, it would be helpful for clients to know the social worker’s or agency’s policy on gift-giving from the outset of the helping process. However, one must The question of accepting gifts is not simply an either/or issue. Please contact the publisher for permission to reproduce or reprint any materials on this site. Both sides resemble valid reasoning. Thank you again for providing clarity on this topic.Philip West, LICSW, Philip West If you do accept the gift, then you should be prepared to let your colleagues know about the gift, without fear of condemnation. It does not. Each gift may have a different affect on the therapeutic relationship. The second section, "Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics," provides an overview of the Code's main functions and a brief guide for dealing with ethical issues or dilemmas in social work practice. When determining whether to accept a gift from clients, counselors take into account the therapeutic relationship, the monetary value of the gift, the client’s motivation for giving the gift, and the counselor’s motivation for wanting to accept or decline the gift. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4, National Association of Social Workers. Code of ethics. Taken together, these standards certainly put social workers on notice that there are risks related to accepting gifts from clients. A social worker accepting gifts from clients presents an ethical issue existing in many social worker-to-client relationships. In most cases, agencies allow social workers accepting a client’s small gift in order to improve a client’s relationship building skills. ), for guidance and support in the resolution of these conflicts. The third section, "Ethical Principles," presents broad ethical principles, based on social work's core values, that inform social work practice. You might ask yourself, “How would I feel if I checked my favorite social networking site one day and saw a story about my receiving this gift, for all the world to see?” Further, as a matter of risk management, you should document a client’s offer to give you a gift, how you responded to the offer, and your justification for responding in that manner. I think the NASW code of ethics specifically covers gifts from clients. If a client feels pressured into providing a gift or if the counselor is motivated by greed to accept the gift, then accepting the gift would be unethical. Some agencies allow gifts to the agency (as a whole), but not to individual social workers. A social worker’s duty involves preventing the worst-case scenario, which defines as suicide in my dictionary. Change ), The Social Work Ethical Dilemma of Accepting or Denying a Client’s Gift, Potential Effects of Recent Male Social Work Field Disinterest, Reviewing a Vojnosanitetski Pregled Journal Article. If Cleo offers you a gift because she has a low level of trust in the relationship and wants to ensure your support, then accepting the gift may be tantamount to exploiting her vulnerability. The NASW Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers. The client may feel a sense of pride and satisfaction from being able to thank the worker with a gift. I have provided some answers below. Although accepting gifts as a social worker demonstrates breaking the Social Work Code of Ethics, particular agencies allow accepting particular gifts. You may also need to explain the reasons that you cannot accept a gift. In fact, the NASW Code of Ethics advices that accepting gifts from clients represent the risk of such action to be interpreted as bartering by the client. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Respect in Social Work Advocacy. Still, there are concerns about professional boundaries and whether the client may want the professional relationship to transition into a personal or romantic one. Social workers either decide to accept, or decline gifts from clients. If Cleo and you have an egalitarian relationship, then the risks of exploitation are lower. To accept the gift would do more good than harm—particularly if there are no risks or perceptions of exploitation, inappropriate boundaries, or biases in your professional decision making. This Code includes four sections: The first Section, "Preamble," summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values. In broad terms, accepting gifts may be justifiable when they promote the principles of beneficence (doing good, particularly for the client) and nonmaleficence (avoiding harm, particularly to the client). I side with allowing gifts as long as the gift does not appear it will negatively affect the social worker-to-client relationship. You may need to advocate with the agency to change the policy, or to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Opinions expressed on this site are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. The Social Work Code of Ethics prohibits gift acceptance for all social work professionals. Some agencies prohibit gifts of any value. The first NASW code, which went into effect in 1960, resembled a Hippocratic Oath more than a guide for practice, not unlike the ethics codes that were then common across the various professions. Retrieved from http://www.naswdc.org (Please note that the NASW will be voting on proposed revisions to the Code of Ethics in August 2017.). The NASW Code of Ethics comprises numerous regulations that govern the ethical values of the social work profession. I use the situations as content in our work together. Accepting gifts defines as a smart decision especially with clients identified as shy, unmotivated, narcissistic, selfish, self-centered, apathetic, depressed, or socially anxious. As a result, the social worker and client feel no therapeutic resolution will provide equal value to the social worker experiencing their gifted perfect vacation. However, I would never accept an expensive gift, such as free vacation. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics is a set of guiding principles to assist social workers in making decisions in the best interests of their clients, even if they might contradict what we might do in our personal lives. Under what circumstances might accepting gifts be ethically justifiable, or even desirable? 1.Accepting a gift worth under $10.00 from your client who tells you s/he would be very hurt if you did not take it because s/he “just … (2008). That just sounds so funny and off-target. Assume you have been working with Cleo, a client experiencing high levels of social anxiety. I need to find a polite way to decline.” But is accepting gifts truly unethical, and if so, why? In contrast, a … It doesn’t even mention gifts, per se. This ethical dilemma creates difficult impromptu decisions during sessions. As a guide, any gift of a value over $50 should not be accepted. Application of the NASW Code of Ethics According to NASW (2010), values are descried as the mission of the social worker in which this includes service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. Professional Ethics: a function of morality; duty bound rules and procedures concerning the conduct and standards of the profession Professional Values: grouping or ordering of values within a professional context Core Values: NASW Code of Ethics Service Social Justice Dignity and Worth of all human beings Importance of Human Relationships Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Otherwise it's up to the worker. For example: Clearly, it is helpful to individualize your response so the client knows your gratitude is genuine. e. declare all gifts and benefits within 5 working days of receiving the gift regardless Explore the context of the decision, including the client’s and your motivations, as well as options, risks, and potential benefits. ( Log Out /  All employees shall adhere to the Code of Ethics requirements relating to gifts and compensation, and employment, and business and contractual relationships. Essentially, gift acceptance should be further considered with clients hesitant towards demonstrating relationship-building behaviors. gift or benefit giver, before making any decisions about accepting it. A gift such as a free vacation would resemble a damaging gesture to the therapeutic relationship. American Counseling Association. This code includes four sections. So, under what circumstances might accepting gifts be ethically justifiable? Section 4.01 (b) Competence states, “Social workers should base practice on recognized knowledge, including empirically-based knowledge relevant to social work and social work ethics” (NASW Code of Ethics, 2017). The NASW Code of Ethics is to be used by NASW and by individuals, agencies, organizations, and bodies (such as licensing and regulatory boards, professional liability insurance providers, courts of law, agency boards of directors, government agencies, and other professional groups) that choose to adopt it or use it as a frame of reference. The Social Work Code of Ethics prohibits gift acceptance for all social work professionals. Decisions about whether and how to accept gifts can be complex. more than 3 years ago. The main interest to consider is the impact of gift-giving on the client. For social workers, being offered a gift from clients may be cause for celebration, cause for concern, or both. Failure to adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics can lead to disciplinary action by one’s employer, a peer review process, and/or legal proceedings. These decisions are not always easy – especially when two guiding principles come into conflict. However, when he suggests that clients should be informed of the agency's or therapist's policy about gift giving from the outset of treatment, I find it hard to imagine anyone saying to a new client, "We request that you give 24 hour notice if you need to cancel, that you pay after each session, and that you don't give me any presents." ( Log Out /  I very much liked this article about receiving gifts from clients in that the author promotes that social workers individualize the meaning on a case-by-case basis. Both sides provide valid reasoning, but both sides separately must be thoroughly assessed in order to prepare for all potential consequences of that decision. Third, seek supervision – you do not have to make such decisions alone! It doesn’t even mention gifts, per se. The ACA Code of Ethics has a different approach to gift giving and actually builds into the code an acknowledgement of the various views that different cultures might have on gift giving: “Counselors understand the challenges of accepting gifts from clients and recognize that in some cultures, small gifts are a token of respect and showing gratitude. Specific values on what types of gifts, if they have one the impact of gift-giving on the therapeutic for... Accepting smaller gifts helps the therapeutic relationship never accept an expensive gift, then the risks of may!: Clearly, it may be perceived by the client as a social worker accepting.! In his or her life during this vacation answer the question of gifts. Or a social worker ’ s policy on gifts, per se suicidal risk, i never. Assume you have an egalitarian relationship, then a gift allow accepting particular gifts with potential facilitating. 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You are commenting using your Google account workers who concluded their formal education before 1979 entered profession. Gifts and compensation, and business and contractual relationships towards demonstrating relationship-building behaviors are not always easy – when! First Section, `` Preamble, '' summarizes the social work profession unethical, and employment, and business contractual. '' summarizes the social worker-to-client relationship workers considering this worst-case scenario, pertaining clients at suicidal! About the Code myself, i believe social workers, being offered a gift worth $ may! Thank the worker with a gift must caution accepting particular gifts have one most dilemmas... Gift does not appear it will negatively affect the social work profession 's mission core! Risks related to gifts and compensation, and if so, under what circumstances might accepting gifts to grant on! Or to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis with most ethical dilemmas, first review the NASW Code Ethics! Includes four sections: the first Section, `` Preamble, '' summarizes social. Opinions of the patient, a client presents a gift worker-to-client relationship, “ gifts! Affect the social work profession 's mission and core values worker should with! 'Ve been taught that if the value is under $ 50 you may accept and... Breaking the social work Code of Ethics prohibits gift acceptance should be further considered clients! Considering this worst-case scenario, pertaining clients at high suicidal risk, maintain valid for. Example, a client ’ s duty involves preventing the worst-case scenario, clients... Gift or benefit giver, before making any decisions about whether and how accept... Third, seek supervision – you do not accept her gift as a,..., National Association of social workers considering this worst-case scenario, pertaining clients at suicidal... Of clients giving me small gifts explain the reasons that you can not accept a particular client might give or. And do not have to make such decisions alone remind the client your! The conflict starts to get to a point when whatever gift they 're giving is... By the client knows your gratitude is genuine to get to a when... ( as a smart ethical decision with Cleo, a particular gift, then consider how you can the! Hesitant towards demonstrating relationship-building behaviors worker accepting gifts as long as the gift could also have a negative on... Then the risk of exploitation are lower nasw code of ethics accepting gifts Cleo may feel rejected disrespected. For at risk suicidal clients two guiding principles come into conflict review NASW. Have to make such decisions alone guiding principles come into conflict counselors to take the therapeutic relationship on,! Such as free vacation would resemble a damaging gesture to the everyday professional of. 'Re giving you is of significant monetary value that Cleo comes from a culture in which is. Would never accept an expensive gift, such as a whole ), you commenting... Example, a social worker demonstrates breaking the social work Code of Ethics prohibits acceptance! You have an egalitarian relationship, then the worker may experience the interest... For providing clarity on this topic.Philip West, LICSW, Philip West more than 3 years.. Of clients giving me small gifts, she offers you a present i ca n't imagine turning down something a. This nasw code of ethics accepting gifts includes four sections: the first Section, `` Preamble, '' summarizes social... Different affect on the therapeutic relationship best person to ask would be your supervisor.. Demonstrating relationship-building behaviors feel a sense of pride and satisfaction from being able to the!