Ethical Standards in Human Services

Ethical Standards in Human Services

Ethics, values, and trust are key concepts in most human interactions. These key concepts and practices are especially critical in organizations where the focus of services is on human services practices. There are many courses, textbooks, and core values documents written to provide guidance about critical elements related to ethical behaviors.

The National Organization of Human Services describes the ethical standards in human services as “respecting the dignity and welfare of all people; promoting self-determination; honoring cultural diversity; advocating for social justice; and acting with integrity, honesty, genuineness and objectivity” (National Organization of Human Services, n.d., para. 2). Ethical codes define acceptable behavior and responsibilities in practice; promote the welfare of clients; provide assurance that standards will be followed; control the influence of personal values into the professional practice; protect practitioners in malpractice suits; and provide professional organizations self-control instead of potential regulation by government (Burger, 2018).

Ethics refers to behavioral standards for the many roles in which people find themselves: as friends, parents, children, citizens, business people, teachers, professionals, and so on. A code of ethics outlines the morals and behaviors of an organization, defines how professionals are to approach situations, and formalizes rules of conduct of an organization and its professionals.

Burger, W. R. (2018). Human services in contemporary America (10th ed.). Cengage.

National Organization of Human Services. (n.d.). Ethical standards for human services professionals.

What You Need To Know: Read about the challenges schools and communities have faced when using social media platforms ethically and responsibly.
Interactive Learning Module: View Riverbend City: Task Force Decision Making simulation.
Discussion: Examine the ethical dilemmas that occur when you and the organization are not ethically aligned.
Prepare: Select the topic or issue you plan to address Week 6 assignment.
Discussion Overview
Explain how individuals define their values and ethics, and then examine when there is a misalignment in values between an individual and the organization.

What You Need to Know
Ethical Practice Standards
Understanding ethical practices in human services can be a complex process. Most professional organizations have standards of ethical practice, or codes of ethics, that provide some guidelines. This week’s readings encourage exploration of values, attitude, and trust, as well as looking at how new platforms such as social media have created changes in how we view ethics. As you explore the challenges in schools and communities, especially in light of more and more online social and learning interactions, the readings this week present opportunities to think about changes in ethical practice that must be considered to facilitate use of different interactive platforms.