Ethical and Legal Considerations in Social Work Essay

Ethical and Legal Considerations in Social Work Essay

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Shaniya Robinson arrives at the County Human Services Authority for her monthly appointment with her social worker. Ms. Robinson is a 25 year old African American female who is receiving treatment for schizophrenia from the adult behavioral health services program. During a session the client reports that she is under a great deal of stress because she is having difficulty adjusting to being a new mother. Her five month old baby girl Shanice is teething and cries frequently. Ms. Robinson is also struggling financially because she is currently unemployed; her mental illness makes it difficult to sustain employment long term. And she does not receive support from the child’s father on a consistent basis. The combination of these interactional difficulties is weighing heavily on the client who reports an increase in positive and negative symptoms (i.e. auditory hallucinations and social withdrawal). Because the client does not have insurance she disclosed to her social worker that she self-medicates using marijuana in an effort to manage symptoms. More noteworthy, the client explains that she uses the same method to soothe the baby by blowing marijuana smoke in the infant's face. It is certain that Ms. Robinson divulged such information for several reasons, she wants help and she believes that any information she shares within the context of her sessions are confidential.

The expectation in the practitioner/client relationship is that any information disclosed will not be shared with others. Confidentiality is emphasized to provide the client with a safe haven in which to share traumatic events or embarrassing personal information about themselves (Krase, 2013). Disclosing this type of sensitive information...

... middle of paper ...

...). Marijuana and Breast Feeding: Is it Safe to Smoke Marijuana and Breastfeed? Retrieved from
Krase, K. (2013). Social Workers as Mandated as Reporters: Conflicted Over Confidentiality?
Part IV. The New Social Worker. Retrieved from
Louisiana Children's Code. (n.d.). Retrieved on March 27, 2014 from
National Association of Social Workers (2008). NASW Code of Ethics: Guide to the Everyday
Professional Conduct of Social Workers. Washington, DC: NASW.
Sheafor, B. & Horejsi, C.J. (2012). Techniques and guidelines for social work practice. (9th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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