Describe the ways services for children and families face unique ethical and legal challenges.

All social workers have a responsibility to be familiar with the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. Applying those obligations when providing services to children and families can be complicated by the age and capacities of your client.

In this Discussion, you analyze potential ethical and legal challenges social workers could face when serving children and families. Using one of the cases presented in the Learning Resources, offer suggestions about how you might respond to the ethical and legal challenges identified.


1. Describe the ways services for children and families face unique ethical and legal challenges.

2. Using one of the case studies presented in this course (see the Learning Resources), identify one legal and one ethical challenge that could arise and explain how you would respond to each.

Grading Rubic:

1. Discussion posting fully addresses all instruction prompts, including responding to the required number of peer posts.

2. Discussion posting demonstrates an excellent understanding of all of the concepts and key points presented in the text(s) and Learning Resources. Posting provides significant detail including multiple relevant examples, evidence from the readings and other scholarly sources, and discerning ideas.

3. Postings are well organized, use scholarly tone, contain original writing and proper paraphrasing, follow APA style, contain very few or no writing and/or spelling errors


Hamilton, T. A. D., & Bundy-Fazioli, K. (2013). Exploring the complexities of child neglect: Ethical issues of child welfare practice. Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, 10(2), 1424.

Phillips, D. G. (2013). Clinical social workers as diagnosticians: Legal and ethical issues. Clinical Social Work Journal, 41(2), 205211. doi: 10.1007/s10615-013-0444-3

Wilkins, D. (2012). Ethical social work practice in direct work with careers and children. Ethics and Social Welfare, 6(4), 404410. doi: 10.1080/17496535.2012.735816

National Association of Social Workers. (2021). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.

Document: Working With Children and Families: The Case of Hamza (PDF)

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