NASW Social Work Ethics and Law Institute

NASW Social Work Ethics and Law Institute NASW Social Work Ethics and Law Institute Welcome to SWELI! The Social Work Ethics and Law Institute (SWELI) was created by the National Association of Social Workers Legal Defense Fund (LDF) to enhance social workers’ understanding and knowledge of legal and ethical issues affecting the social work profession.
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LDF was established in 1972 by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Board of Directors. With the purpose of developing and disseminating standards of social work practice while strengthening and unifying the social work profession as a whole, NASW provides continuing education, enforces the Code of Ethics, conducts research, publishes books and studies, promulgates professional criteria and develops policy statements on issues of importance to the social work profession.

04/20/2018

Did You Know: Working with Children: The Many Layers of Consent to Treat. The practice of social work often involves treating and working with children. Social workers must obtain consent to treat a child. In order to establish a proper foundation for treating a child, avoiding risk and satisfactory professional results, it is necessary to have a sense of what consent is necessary. Issues regarding whether both parents must consent to a child’s treatment is frequently raised by NASW members and has many layered responses. Another issue is whether a child may consent to his/her own treatment. Identifying the rights of the child and parents, and considering the levels of risk in providing treatment requires an understanding of the legal landscape that surrounds the issue of consent.

This Legal Issue of the Month summarizes 1. Parental Consent to a Child’s Treatment, 2. Children Consenting to Treatment, 3. Requests for Child’s Records and 4. Parental Responsibility for Payment. This article provides key legal issues and information to assist in answering questions about obtaining proper consent to begin mental health treatment for a child.

For more information please visit: https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Legal/Legal-Issue-of-the-Month/Working-with-Children-The-Many-Layers-of-Consent-to-Treat

Release of Records and Client Privacy.  Social workers who receive a request for client records from a third party or a ...
03/19/2018
www.socialworkers.org > NASWLogin

Release of Records and Client Privacy. Social workers who receive a request for client records from a third party or a subpoena have a number of questions concerning client privacy, social worker’s obligations, rights, potential liability, the social worker’s role in responding to clients’ legal matters and questions concerning the scope of the request, such as:

• Am I allowed or required to release the client’s information?
• How much information must I disclose?
• What type of client information should be released?

This Legal Issue of the Month article will address questions related to making well-reasoned decisions when responding to requests for confidential client information.
For more information please visit https://www.socialworkers.org/about/legal/legal-issue-of-the-month/release-of-records-and-client-privacy

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards for social workers, and to advance sound s...

Enjoy free access to select articles from NASW's scholarly journals during Social Work Month. NASW members receive an on...
03/10/2018

Enjoy free access to select articles from NASW's scholarly journals during Social Work Month. NASW members receive an online subscription to Social Work with NASW membership and discounted rates on subscriptions to other journals. http://bit.ly/2oZBBgB @OUPAcademic ‏#SWMonth

Couples Therapy: Access to Records     Social workers frequently provide counseling to married couples who end up in div...
03/08/2018
www.socialworkers.org > NASWLogin

Couples Therapy: Access to Records

Social workers frequently provide counseling to married couples who end up in divorce. One of the parties is likely to request the social worker's notes. The attorney for one of the parties may subpoena the couple's therapy records in divorce or child custody proceedings.

Social workers providing couples therapy have a legal duty to protect the privacy and confidentiality of both parties. Clients have the right to inspect, copy, and access their own records under HIPAA and/or state law. However, applicable rule is that social workers are not to release client information unless required or permitted by law or authorized in a written document signed by the client.

This Legal Issue of the Month article discusses confidentiality, privilege, and the applicable NASW Code of Ethics provisions pertaining to access to a couple’s therapy records.

For more information please visit https://www.socialworkers.org/about/legal/legal-issue-of-the-month/couples-therapy-access-to-records

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards for social workers, and to advance sound s...

The NASW Legal Defense Fund (LDF) was established in 1972 to provide financial legal assistance, support “friend of the ...
02/26/2018
www.socialworkers.org > NASWLogin

The NASW Legal Defense Fund (LDF) was established in 1972 to provide financial legal assistance, support “friend of the court” briefs in national cases, and to educate NASW members and others about legal issues of concern to the social work profession.

Since 2002, LDF has provided members with a “Legal Issue of the Month.” These articles offer guidance in your everyday social work practice.

Social Work Supervision for State Licensure. Social workers seeking to obtain a state social work license are becoming complex, particularly for clinical licensure, and may create complications for social workers. In rural areas, social workers may encounter difficulties identifying an appropriate supervisor in their region. Changes to state law or regulations may generate confusion during the transition period. Issues sometimes occur when there is not a good fit between the social worker and the supervisor. This Legal Issue of the Month article will provide examples of these dilemmas, identify possible steps to prevent unexpected conflicts, and offer suggestions for systemic changes to improve the supervision and licensing process for social workers across the country.
For more information please visit https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Legal/Legal-Issue-of-the-Month/Social-Work-Supervision-for-State-Licensure

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards for social workers, and to advance sound s...

02/23/2018

NASW supports young people who are advocating and protesting for laws to curtail nation's gun death epidemic

Feb 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is proud of the brave young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and around the nation who are advocating and protesting for laws to curtail this nation’s gun death epidemic.

Often it is young people who lead adults to do the right thing. We saw this during the Birmingham Children's Crusade for civil rights in Alabama in 1963; the anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960's; and the demonstrations on college campuses in the 1980's urging the United States to divest from apartheid South Africa.

Today, we need sensible gun laws that ban the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. This nation must also declare gun shootings a public health crisis, which would mandate public health officials around the country to develop coordinated strategies to significantly reduce gun-related deaths and injuries.

Our young people are now helping lead the way. NASW stands ready to support and work with them to make our nation a safer place to live.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

“We Have Your Back” During and After the StormThe NASW Legal Defense Fund (LDF) was established in 1972 to provide finan...
02/22/2018
www.socialworkers.org > NASWLogin

“We Have Your Back” During and After the Storm

The NASW Legal Defense Fund (LDF) was established in 1972 to provide financial legal assistance and support cases of concern to NASW members and the social work profession.

Since 2002, LDF has provided members with a “Legal Issue of the Month.” These articles offer guidance in your everyday social work practice.

Handling Damaged or Destroyed Records. Damage to paper and electronic records may result from floods, hurricanes, fires, or other natural disasters. In these circumstances, social workers must maintain confidentiality and safe keep client records for a required period of time. Reasonable steps must be taken when records are destroyed, and assessing the damage and how to salvage or destroy the affected records.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, social workers were reassessing methods for storing and destroying paper records. Social workers who have not seriously considered these questions will find that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards for security of electronic records provide important guidance. This Legal Issue of the Month incorporates relevant HIPAA standards and addresses such questions as, “what is the best method of destroying paper records,” is there a national standard of practice regarding computerized records to replace paper medical records and the separate progress notes,” and “will computerized records be as valid in court, given the potential for amending them after the fact? “ When records are destroyed by flood or fire, they need to be disposed of properly to protect patient confidentiality and to comply with HIPAA regulations.
For more information please visit https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Legal/Legal-Issue-of-the-Month/Handling-Damaged-or-Destroyed-Records.aspx and https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Legal/Legal-Issue-of-the-Month/Social-Workers-and-Post-Disaster-Record-Keeping-Questions

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards for social workers, and to advance sound s...

12/18/2017

NASW Joins "Friend of the Court" Briefs in Contraception, Wedding Cake, and Transgender Military Ban Cases

NASW participated in amicus briefs ("friend of the court briefs") filed in recent court cases involving the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage requirement; the validity of Colorado's anti-discrimination statute, which prevents commercial businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, race, religion, and other attributes; and President Trump's transgender military ban that was scheduled to go into effect in March 2018. Friend of the court briefs are accepted by courts as an aid to understanding aspects of issues that may not be fully addressed by the parties to the litigation, or where specialized knowledge may be helpful in reaching a conclusion in high-profile cases.
• Pennsylvania v. Trump
The Trump administration issued two regulations that allow any employer or university to deny employees, students, and their dependents contraceptive coverage if the employer/university has a religious or moral objection to contraception, while leaving women with no alternative for seamless, no-cost coverage of this critical health benefit. NASW, along with several other organizations, participated in an amicus brief in support of Pennsylvania's lawsuit to block the Trump administration rules that broadly exempt employers and universities from complying with the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage requirement. The brief argues that seamless, no-cost contraceptive access is essential to women's health and advancement, and substantial numbers of women in every state are at risk of losing contraceptive coverage given the broad swath of institutions that can now invoke a religious or moral objection. Eight states and several civil rights groups filed suit against these rules in federal court, arguing that the rules violate constitutional and statutory laws prohibiting sex discrimination, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania hears Pennsylvania's request for a preliminary injunction today, December 14, 2017.

• Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
NASW partnered with the American Psychological Association on the amicus brief in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The U.S. Supreme Court case addresses the validity of Colorado's anti-discrimination statute, which prevents commercial businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, race, religion, and other attributes. In this case, the business owner raised First Amendment claims based on speech and religion, arguing that he should not be required to provide a gay couple with a wedding cake. In the amicus brief, NASW supports the need for legal protections from discrimination and provides scientific research to the courts regarding the nature of sexual orientation, discrimination, and the effects of stigma.

• Doe et al. v. Trump et al.
In August 2017, the plaintiffs, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), filed a lawsuit in Doe et al. v. Trump et al. on behalf of a number of transgender individuals in federal district court challenging the President's transgender military ban that would remove all transgender service members from the United States military and ban transgender people from entering the armed forces, effective March 2018. On October 4, 2017, NASW, along with several other mental health and medical organizations, participated in an amicus brief in support of a preliminary injunction against the President's transgender military ban. On October 30, 2017, a federal court partially blocked President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military, ruling that the ban cannot be enforced while the case is being reviewed in court. The judge favorably cited the amicus brief several times in her opinion.

Did you know?  Federal Court Partially Blocks Trump's transgender military banIn August 2017, the plaintiffs, National C...
11/08/2017
Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security

Did you know? Federal Court Partially Blocks Trump's transgender military ban

In August 2017, the plaintiffs, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), filed a lawsuit in Doe et al. v. Trump et. al on behalf of a number of transgender individuals in federal district court challenging the President’s transgender military ban that would remove all transgender service members from the United States military and to ban transgender people from entering the armed forces, effective March 2018. The presidential directive can be found at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/25/presidential-memorandum-secretary-defense-and-secretary-homeland

On October 4, 2017, NASW, along with several other mental health and medical organizations, participated in an amicus brief in support of a preliminary injunction against the President’s transgender military ban that was schedule to go into effect in March 2018.

On October 30, 2017, a federal court partially blocked President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military ruling that the ban cannot be enforced while the case is being reviewed in court. The court ruled, in favor of the plaintiffs, that Trump's directive violates the Fifth Amendment right to due process by reversing the June 2016 transgender policy and banning new transgender recruits from enlisting in the military. However, the court denied the plaintiff's motion to block the ban on the use of military funds for gender reassignment surgery stating that the court did not have jurisdiction to grant that injunction since no plaintiff could demonstrate that they would be substantially affected by the prohibition.

The judge favorably cited our amicus brief several times in her opinion on pages 60-62. (see attached brief) This case is an example of the legal advocacy of NASW and the importance of the Legal Defense Fund’s participation in amicus briefs in precedent setting cases that advance social policies and the social work profession through the courts.

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY

11/01/2017

Did you know?
NASW LDF Has Your Back
NASW’s Legal Defense Fund (LDF) has been promoting social justice for more than 45 years. Established in 1972 to provide financial legal assistance and to support cases and issues of concern to NASW members and the social work profession, LDF also offers educational programs to improve the legal status and knowledge of social workers, including these:

• Legal Issue of the Month. These articles present an overview of legal topics important to social work practice, focusing on a recent court decision or emerging legal issue. This archive of articles for NASW members addresses commonly asked questions as well as hot-button emerging issues.

10/12/2017

Did you know? October 25
The Official NASW Training on the 2017 Revisions to the Code of Ethics
Free registration
The 2017 revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics reflect the most substantive changes to the Code since 1996. NASW will host this official training on the 2017 approved revisions on October 25, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET. Learn the revisions, the rationale for them, and the implications for social work practice and administration during this live online broadcast. Registered participants can apply for 2.0 hours of social work ethics continuing education credit upon completion of this free program. CE credit fee: $25 for NASW members, $40 for non-members.

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General information

LDF assists NASW members by providing financial assistance for legal cases and issues concerning NASW members and the social work profession. LDF also supports educational projects and programs to increase social workers’ knowledge about legal issues in social work practice. LDF legal briefs are filed in relevant state and federal court cases to protect social work principles and establish precedents in lawsuits that advance the policies of NASW. NASW’s Office of Ethics and Professional Review (OEPR) is a primary source of information for social workers about the NASW Code of Ethics, which serves as a guide to the professional conduct of social workers. The OEPR prepares and presents ethics education and training programs and offers ethics consultations to assist NASW members to understand their ethical obligations. This page informs social workers about both legal and ethics matters affecting social workers and directs its FB Friends to the many resources available from NASW’s OEPR, LDF and SWELI. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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