SOCW 6520 WK 6 responses
Respond to the blog post of three colleagues Has to be responded to separately and different responses in one or more of the following ways: Name first and references after every person
Respond to the blog post of three colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
Peer 1: Alicia
I think when working in the field, it is important to understand that legalities will affect various areas of social work practice. For example, the legal system may come into play with social workers who are working in areas of “child welfare, domestic violence, crime victim counseling, adult protection, housing, immigrant services, youth services, and public policies” (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2018). Social workers should also be aware of the workings of the legal system, in order to “communicate and work successfully with judges and attorneys, recognize the rights afforded to clients by law, recognize certain problems of their clients as essentially legal problems or social policy problems, and minimize their legal risk in practice” (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2018). With my placement, I work with clients who have been involved with the courts whether it be clients who are in recovery, or with parent groups who have been involved in courts due to their children’s issues with truancy, etc. With that being said, I have to be aware of any legalities that may affect any of the clients during times. Some legal considerations I have to consider may come in terms of confidentiality or having consent for services before working with clients. Also, we have a very client-centered approach here at the agency; what the client says or wants is what we work with. I have to remember that and take that into consideration as well.
When working with clients, there’s always potential challenges involved when in practice. For one, it is important to consider that confidentiality may have to be broken in some cases. For example, when a client is considered a risk to themselves or someone around them, confidentiality is no longer possible. Also, a challenge can arise when a client is severely in need of services but refuses to sign the consent forms. That puts us in a dilemma because we know the client needs help, but legally we cannot provide them with services unless we have their consent.
Birkenmaier, J., & Berg-Weger, M. (2018). The practicum companion for social work: Integrating class and fieldwork. New York, NY: Pearson.
Peer 2: Candise
The audio from Laureate Education (2013e) states that much like the code of ethics within social work, laws dictate how social workers conduct services. This pertains to progress and prevention while maintaining the law. Yet there will be times that the clients fear the law because they do not think the laws will protect them or work to satisfy their rights of services. Within my field experience, one case has a constant concern regarding if the laws are meant to protect him or work against him. He is worried about what will be shared with the courts and how is words could be used against him legally. This was a constant fear for him that what he would open about or how he would respond to certain questions would be used against him in court or taken out of context. I spent the first 2 weeks of engagement simply building his trust in the matter of knowing that our sessions would not be shared verbatim and that the only information I must share is regarding abuse within the home to himself, spouse, child, or elder. However, this was not enough, I also had to get confirmation from his case worker, my intern placement, and my supervisor that his communications would not be used against him.
This situation was a very teachable moment for me as a social worker to understand how family cases affect both dynamics within the household. At first, I was not sure what his hesitation was founded upon until we had our first session. At the end of our first session, he immediately called me back frantic over a conversation with his spouse. She had lied and told him that he had to report all sessions to her (date, time, and detail). This was the foundation of his fear. His fear was not the court itself but how she would use any information against him. After I informed him of my placement’s confidentiality policies, tension only grew within the home because she could not get information out of him. This resulted in her putting him out.
Challenges may not be locally in nature but rather the limited understanding of rights that the clients have. The issues that my client was dealing with were based in the limited understanding and communication he received from the family case worker. There is also a concern regarding the limited information known that a male has versus a woman in a domestic case if he is falsely accused. Social workers must provide counseling services to individuals, groups, couples, and families establishing and maintaining an agreement among the parties involved concerning everyone’s right to confidentiality and obligation to preserve the confidentiality of information shared by others (NASW, 2017). Whenever a case is sent to the courts regarding families, the case worker should inform all participants of their local, state, and federal rights to ensure their rights are maintained.
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013e). Legal considerations [Audio file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
NASW. (2017) Read the Code of Ethics: Ethical Principles. www.socialworkers.org, 2019,
Peer 3: David
Challenges within the agency and currently with my field placement have not arose due to careful consideration of the client in all matters. A potential challenge that does often worry me is confidentiality between the client, agency staff, and other parties such as friends, family members, and community resources. According to (NASW, 2019) when social workers provide counseling services to families, couples, or groups, social workers should seek agreement among the parties involved concerning each individual’s right to confidentiality and obligation to preserve the confidentiality of information shared by others. It is my duty and the agency staff to ensure there is consent to share information amongst various parties. If an incident was to occur, I believe I would have the support and assistance of the agency, specifically my supervisor to rectify and address the situation in the best fitting manner.
Various federal and California state laws recognizes the confidentiality of therapeutic relationships, while at the same time requiring social workers to report abuse of children, senior citizens or people with disabilities. In cases where a client is suicidal, homicidal or threatening a clinician, the social worker may also find it necessary to disclose confidential client information. There is no confidentiality when violence is in the building. If a client is threatening violence, the agency recommends that we touch base with a supervisor and other professionals in the organization who have expertise working with similar cases.
The agency directs me to also be aware of federal confidentiality guidelines, as well as guidelines in the NASW code of ethics. The NASW and its state affiliates provide continuing-education programs, seminars and workshops on ethical dilemmas related to confidentiality. The organization also makes a policy book on confidentiality, which includes information on dealing with subpoenas, available to staff.
When we do have to reveal confidential client information, it is important that we do so openly and in a way that maintains the client’s dignity. No client should be completely surprised, since a social worker is required to make clients aware of the limits and exceptions to confidentiality at the first meeting.
NASW. (2017) Read the Code of Ethics: Ethical Principles. www.socialworkers.org, 2019,
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