Standard 6

Professional Ethics and Legal Mandates

The program provides candidates with opportunities and experiences to display an understanding of professional codes of ethics and current legal mandates, as well as an awareness of the range of legal issues, such as, statutory, regulatory, and case law affecting the delivery of pupil services. The program requires candidates to demonstrate the ability to access information about legal and ethical matters.

Introduction

Candidates demonstrate understanding of professional codes of ethics and current legal mandates affecting the delivery of pupil services. Demonstration that content areas have been satisfactorily learned and applied is evidenced by a passing grade in related courses, an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and a grade of “Credit” for the field practicum. The courses that address the specific content areas are listed and discussed below.

Understanding of professional codes of ethics

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics is introduced to students in the first semester in S Wrk 220, Foundations for Social Work Practice I( see Week1).

In this class, students identify the core values and ethical principles of the social work profession and examine their influence on social work practice. This foundation is built upon throughout the remaining foundation practice course, S Wrk 221, and the advanced multi-systems practice concentration. Each advanced practice class focuses on social work service at a particular systems level using the Code of Ethics and the cardinal values of social work as its core. In the Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools I class (S Wrk 274), students are introduced to the NASW Standards for School Social Work Services as an adjunct to the Code of Ethics. These standards provide additional guidelines for social work practice specific to the school setting. Exploration of differences in professional ethics and practice perspectives among and within professional groups occurs throughout the practice sequence. Specific examination of the differences in professional ethics between social work and education occurs in the School Social Work/CWA classes (S Wrk 274 and S Wrk275). Class readings, discussion and small group exercises address important ethical areas such as standard of care, procedural standard of care, confidentiality and student rights. For example, see the content from week 4 on Social Work Practice in Schools: EthicalIssuesin S Wrk 274.

The ability to recognize and effectively respond to potential ethical conflicts is discussed in the practice classes. The opportunity to demonstrate application of this knowledge occurs in the field practicum in the schools (S Wrk 282/283). All PPS candidates have a learning agreement and PPS Learning agreement addendum to guide the internship experience as well as weekly supervision with an MSW who possesses a PPS credential. One required area for learning assignments is in the application of the code of ethics and procedural standards of care to all practice situations as well as demonstrated ability to effectively resolve ethical dilemmas

Understanding of current legal mandates affecting the delivery of pupil services

Laws and regulations pertaining to children and families: Both of the foundation courses in social welfare policy, S Wrk 200 and S Wrk 203 discuss specific laws pertaining to children and their families.

In S Wrk 203, techniques are presented that impact the formation of policy at the local, state, and federal levels. For example, see S Wrk 203 Written Assignments. PPS candidates can also elect to enroll in SWrk 204, Social Welfare Policy Advocacy I. This course involves traveling to Sacramento to participate in NASW Lobby Days. Candidates gain direct experience with the legislative process and policy advocacy.

Specific educational laws are explored in the Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools I course (S Wrk 274). See the S Wrk 274 course syllabus, Part Two: The Legal and Policy Parameters of School Social Work and Child Welfare and Attendance Services and Implications for Practice

These laws encompass the areas of attendance, pupil rights, special education, bilingual education, desegregation and gender equity. Those candidates that also participate in the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training program take an additional elective in child welfare practice. The child welfare course (S Wrk 278) details the history, development, and consequences of major child welfare legislation that impact children within the educational and family environments. Within the field practicum in the schools (S Wrk 282/283), candidates utilize their knowledge of these various laws to ensure the rights of students and families within the educational system.

Knowledge and skills for advocacy: Foundation skills for advocacy are initially presented in S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221, Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II. For example, see the course session from S Wrk 220 on Advocacy for Social Justice: Working with Special Populations.

These skills are strengthened throughout the advanced concentration as each system level (individual, family, groups, organizations and communities) is examined in depth and a repertoire of practice skills, including advocacy, are developed from an empowerment perspective. Specific applications to the school setting are presented in the School Social Work/CWAS courses (S Wrk 274/275) and the concurrent field practicum in the schools (S Wrk 282/283). Information is provided regarding various legal requirements such as attendance, truancy, special education, work permits, and child abuse reporting. Candidates also learn about pupil and parent rights and the appropriate application of due process procedures. For example, see course content for week 10 in S Wrk 274, Student Rights and Issues. PPS candidates can also elect to enroll in SWrk 204, Social Welfare Policy Advocacy I. This course involves traveling to Sacramento to participate in NASW Lobby Days. Candidates gain direct experience with the legislative process and policy advocacy.

Keep informed of changes in laws and regulations

The Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools I class (S Wrk 274) includes content on where to find key categories of legislation that pertain to practice in an educational setting. Candidates are also oriented to the importance of life-long learning, including keeping apprised of changes in legislation and the resulting change in law and regulations involving children within the public education environment. Candidates receive information such as the web sites for the California Department of Education and the California Education Code in order to facilitate their access to the most current information on laws and regulations. Candidates are also encouraged to attend professional conferences and in service training and to become members of professional organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) and the California Association of School Social Workers (CASSW). They are also encouraged to read professional publications and to be active in local and state efforts addressing social work practice in schools. Finally, candidates apply this knowledge within their field practicum in an educational environment (S Wrk 282/283).

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