Exploring how social workers can increase their impact through futures frameworks – All content developed by Laura Burney Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW, CADCIII, Portland State University School of Social Work, Portland, Oregon, USA, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @lauranissen
In response to many questions during my recent presentations on the future of social work for the National Network for Social Work Management, I received a significant number of questions regarding the social work code of ethics and how to learn about and/or get involved in efforts to revise the NASW code of ethics. I reached out to incoming President of NASW, Dr. Mit Joyner, and she responded with the following note. With respect and appreciation, I share this information to encourage all social workers to get involved and help create the future you’d like to see for social work.
“NASW has numerous committees that monitor and update the NASW Code of Ethics.
Just as CSWE monitors the Curriculum Policy Statement via a mandated review every 8 years; NASW has a similar process for review of all policies by the Delegate Assembly that occurs every three years. The DA is a representative, decision-making body through which NASW members set broad organizational policy, establish program priorities, and develop a collective stance on public and professional issues. The Delegate Assembly is comprised of 220 elected volunteer delegates, including the National Board of Directors. In addition, the NASW CEO and executive directors from each chapter are nonvoting delegates, making a total of 277 delegates.
Again the Delegate Assembly meets once every three years and approves all policies published in Social Work Speaks. The National Bylaws state: “The membership shall act through the Delegate Assembly in all matters except as otherwise provided in the Bylaws.” Delegate assembly members are volunteers so I would encourage anyone who is interested in participation to first join NASW and then run as a delegate to represent their local NASW chapter.
Again in response to your email, NASW as member association ensures that the NASW Code of Ethics is constantly reviewed and updated by the membership. Last major revision occurred in 2017 and was implemented in 2018.
NASW’s next Delegate Assembly Meeting in November 2020 and will considered new recommendations. Those recommendations are currently being discussed and reviewed by the NASW membership prior to being voted on during the delegate assembly that is set for November.
In summary, yes NASW has an opportunity for member engagement to review all policies including the code, yes the NASW Code of Ethics is a living document that is revised after input from social work members (last major revision 2018), and yes there is an established process via the Delegate Assembly, and yes we would love for other social workers to promote and engage in this vital work and yes individual social workers can lead the review by serving as an elected delegate.”
(Image above is from “Ethical OS” referenced below.)
There is SO MUCH going on in spaces associated with tech ethics and related ethical guidelines (or lack thereof) with regard to a host of futures issues. Among all of the urgent concerns calling from the future – few are as important as more actively advancing our sense of ethics about the choices we are making (and that are being made for us) in our lives and world.
I thought I’d just pull from my own growing list of readings/resources and see what they look like all together. I urge you to cruise through and explore with gusto, those places and/or titles that attract your attention. This is a list that is ever growing/changing and not intended to be exhaustive. Note of warning: This isn’t a “quick read” kind of list…each of these resources is complex. But I’ve found the time spent surveying these worth it in stretching my thinking and helping me build a better ethics foundation, as well as prepare to write more on futures topics. As always, I’m building my own library for my own study – just sharing so that other interested folks can jump in!
Of course social work is not absent in dialogue about ethics and tech, but I would also suggest we are not done evolving and keeping up with all the rapidly changing dynamics in the tech ecosystem. This is not a project that is probably ever done.
My perspective is generally: Let’s learn faster shall we? Ethics study can accelerate our readiness and increase our positive impact in the future – though it won’t remove the degree of ethics challenges we are and will continue to face. This list is a way for us to stretch and consider some ideas “just outside” of our typical practice/scholarly spaces.
Note: If you haven’t heard of it yet, the term “design ethics” is emerging quickly and worth a look. These resources are included at the end of this overview.
Note: I have not had a lot of success finding strong critiques of the assistive technology world. Seems there is a lot of “pro” literature, but little in the way of constructive critique…(see last entry for a good one I found). If you are a reader who is knowledgeable in this area, I’d love/appreciate suggestions.