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It does not provide a set of rules that prescribe how social workers should act in all situations.
Specific applications of the does not specify which values, principles, and standards are most important and ought to outweigh others in instances when they conflict.
The reflects the commitment of all social workers to uphold the profession's values and to act ethically.
Principles and standards must be applied by individuals of good character who discern moral questions and, in good faith, seek to make reliable ethical judgments.
Social workers also should be aware of the impact on ethical decision making of their clients' and their own personal values and cultural and religious beliefs and practices.
They should be aware of any conflicts between personal and professional values and deal with them responsibly.
Social workers should keep apprised of emerging technological developments that may be used in social work practice and how various ethical standards apply to them.
With growth in the use of communication technology in various aspects of social work practice, social workers need to be aware of the unique challenges that may arise in relation to the maintenance of confidentiality, informed consent, professional boundaries, professional competence, record keeping, and other ethical considerations.
In general, all ethical standards in this , “technology-assisted social work services” include any social work services that involve the use of computers, mobile or landline telephones, tablets, video technology, or other electronic or digital technologies; this includes the use of various electronic or digital platforms, such as the Internet, online social media, chat rooms, text messaging, e-mail, and emerging digital applications.
Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among social workers with respect to the ways in which values, ethical principles, and ethical standards should be rank ordered when they conflict.
Ethical decision making in a given situation must apply the informed judgment of the individual social worker and should also consider how the issues would be judged in a peer review process where the ethical standards of the profession would be applied. In situations when conflicting obligations arise, social workers may be faced with complex ethical dilemmas that have no simple answers.