Author: Lai, Yuk-king Lorita
Title: Ethical decision-making of social worker in family casework setting of the Soical Welfare Department
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1996
Subject: Family social work -- China -- Hong Kong
Social workers -- Professional ethics
Social service -- Moral and ethical aspects
Hong Kong. Social Welfare Dept
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Pages: [8], 104, [18] leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: The social work profession carries strong moral concern by its nature. In recent decade, there are growing concern on the ethical aspect of the social work profession about the importance of social workers' ethical consideration in daily practice. In daily practice, social workers have to deal with ethical dilemmas which are inevitable and unavoidable. They also have to make decisions eventually. Regarding ethical decision-making, literature review indicates the central place of value in the process. Based on an exploratory study on the ethical decision-making of social workers, the author investigated three interested areas: the ethical dilemmas encountered in daily practice, the core values held by which social workers, and the social workers' actual reaction towards these ethical dilemmas. A qualitative study was conducted. Family services setting of the Social Welfare Department was chosen as the context for this study. Under such setting, caseworkers had to face numerous ethical dilemmas especially when dealing with child welfare cases. Through an interviewing guide, data was collected from six respondents who were all experienced social workers in handling child care cases. Data collected was analyzed and grouped into three areas of interest mentioned. From the research, it was found that ethical dilemmas encountered by social workers in daily practice were mainly situational. They arose when social workers arranged residential placement for children, applied for compassionate rehousing, and dealt with child care proceedings. Different core ethical questions were identified in these different working situations. Regarding the core values of social worker, it was found that most of the respondents held 'caring' and 'respect' for others as their core values. It was important to note these core values were positive in the sense it directed social workers towards higher standards on top of the official guideline. For the social workers' resolution towards ethical dilemmas, social workers referred to the official guidelines basically. But on top or the guidelines, they actually thought more and did more for the welfare of the children. They did so mainly because of the internal drive by their own values. Apart from that, resort to technical practical language and skills was another way to resolve the dilemmas. However, they did not articulate these issues in ethical terms. In order to help social workers in making ethical decisions, it is suggested to run appropriate staff development programs. Greater concern is to be made on the value of the social workers and greater support should be shown to them as well.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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