Question: Choose two of the principles of professional practice in youth and community work investigated on the course and discuss their significance for the profession. Illustrate this with a case study or case studies from professional practice, which show how you have used reflective practice to work, through an ethical dilemma/professional conflict in relation to the chosen principles. The two principles discussed in this essay are ethics and partnership.
The definitions of these will be defined to demonstrate the relevance, they have (in practice) for the role of the youth and community worker. Again both principles have been chosen to highlight ethical dilemmas or conflict that have emerged within working practice, which will be demonstrated within two separate case studies. For this reason, the real names of people and organizations have been, changed, abbreviated or omitted for confidential reason.
According to Sarah banks (2004) the term ethics has been defined in several ways, the first being the norms people follow around their value base which views things as right or wrong or good or bad. Studies of moral norms focus on theories around right actions, how people make judgements, duties, conscious care, all of which are described as descriptive ethics. Banks argues, that there has been vast amounts of literature written about ethics within other fields of medical and health care in comparison to social profession such a youth and social work (Banks 2004)
Ethics and Professional Code of Conduct: Ethics and Professional Code of Conduct Law enforcement officers are the models of society. Everyone looks up to them for guidance on how to maintain the law. The officers are in a unique position in society; whether on or off duty. The actions of the officers should be above reproach from society. A police chief is the official representative of the ...
Within the National youth work agency statements of ethical principle and conduct youth workers are required to: Treat young people with respect, respect and promote young people’s rights to make their own decisions and choices, Promote and ensure the welfare and safety of young people, contribute towards the promotion of social justice for young people and in society generally. Practise with integrity, compassion, courage and competence. (NYA 2004) The first principle (treat young people with respect) has been associated with German philosopher Emmanuel Kant’ who based his moral philosophy on the principle of respect .
Wood and Hine (2009) give a general summary of the national youth agency principles on ethics by highlighting that ethical principles in youth work are about youth workers regarding each young person as worthy of attention, regardless of what they have done, and argue that young people are often stigmatised, degraded treated unfairly, because of their lack economic and political power. For this reason wood and Hine suggest that youth workers need to work harder to implement these principles, when working with other professionals, who give priority to their own value, such as welfare and safety.
(Wood and Hine 2009) Sarah banks (2004) make the point that ethics can affect practitioners at different levels and defines the difference between ethical issues, problems and dilemma. For example Ethical issues pervade youth work practice in that it takes place in the context of state-sponsored systems of welfare and control where matters of needs, rights, duties, interests, relationships, motives and the maintenance or transgression of prevailing norms are at stake.
Ethical problems arise when the worker faces a difficult situation, where a decision has to be made, but where there is no dilemma for the person making the decision that is, it is clear which course of action to take. And Ethical dilemma arise when the youth worker faces a decision-making situation involving a difficult choice between two alternatives and it is not clear which choice will be the right one. (Banks 2004) Case study one
Mandy, a 17 year old mother was under the supervision of social services child protection team, due to being in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend jay and having problems with illegal drugs, and past anger issues. As a young parent case worker, employed by the local authority, I was assigned to work with Mandy, along with three other professional’s consisting of a health visitor, mental health worker and social worker. A referral had been made by Linda, (Mandy’s social worker) as it was identified that Mandy needed some extra support around parenting for her 1
A current event or contemporary social issue that involves ethical values would be the debate about Euthanasia and weather it is ethically right or wrong. “The term Euthanasia originated from the Greek word ‘good death’ (Dictionary). ” It is the act or practice of ending the life of a person either by lethal injection or the suspension of medical treatment. There are three different types of ...
year old child Ben (who was still in her care) and other support to help her regain structure in her life. Linda (being Mandy’s social worker) was regarded as the lead professional and was responsible for bringing all the professionals together (along with Mandy) to have regular meeting about her progress and also to receive input from other professionals in the team and share information. Having built close trusting relationship with Mandy, she started to open up to me on home visits stating that she disliked both her social worker and health visitor and that she only liked me and her mental health worker because we listened to her.
And disclosed that she would sometimes not answer her door or phone because she felt that both workers were trying to pry into her life and find faults to remove Ben. Although I respected what Mandy was saying, I also reminded her that, Linda her social worker, and her Health visitor, were there to carry out their roles, and that avoiding them, will only make thinks worse. Mandy immediately shared that, she knew I would go and narrate what she said. In my minds eye, I was aware that Mandy was just expressing how she felt, and that the conversation should remain confidential.
I was also aware that jay her boyfriend way not allowed to stay at her home, because of past domestic violence. And I remembered Linda (the social worker) informing me that Ben would be removed and taken into care, if there was any signed that Mandy was in a relationship with Jay. I reassured Mandy that our conversation was confidential but advised her to keep her appointments with Linda and the health visitor. However, I felt I needed to remind Mandy of the contract we made at the first meeting, and that if she did disclose anything to do with Ben being at risk, I would need to disclose it.
This assignment will define and analyse the need for a chosen service improvement within the pathway of mental health, as well as evaluating the suggested service. Demonstrating how this service can inform and benefit integrated practice, discussing the ways in which the agency’s statutory obligations and responsibilities impact on both individual and group decision making. The chosen service ...
This notion has been supported by literature on group work, highlighting the importance that practitioners should ensure the groups or individuals (they work with) are made aware of the boundaries and duties Professionals have to act upon, regarding the information that is shared and given. (Rogers 2010) When Linda (social worker) phoned me later for an update on the visit, I told her everything was fine. The social worker warned me that Mandy could be manipulative and try to caused confusion and problems between professionals, so I needed to be mindful.
This posed an ethical dilemma as Banks 2004 suggested, as I had a choice about whether to disclose my previous conversation about Mandy not liking the other professionals and not opening the door to them. I had already promised myself that I would keep Mandy’s conversation confidential, but felt I was also withholding information. My mind was telling me that, what Linda was saying, was just her opinion and felt that I should not break confidentiality based on Linda’s personal judgement of Mandy. I questioned if it was ethical not to support Linda in her role also as lead professional.
One argument concerning boundaries suggests that we “all” have areas of prejudice and that professionals should question how they feel about issues or areas where they feel personally vulnerable. For example although I was working along side the social worker and health visitor, I didn’t feel that I should take on the role of an enforcer, but more of an advocate and empower and did not want Mandy to view me in a negative light (Ingram and Harris 2001) On my next visit, Mandy was not at home for her 3 pm appointment.
After waiting at her door for ten minutes I decided to leave a note, when I saw Mandy running towards the front door. Mandy seemed flustered and informed me that she quickly went to the laundrette. Ben could be heard crying from the up stairs bedroom. I asked Mandy why she had left Ben (her 1 year old) in the house alone. Mandy insisted she was only gone for a short while and that she had locked all the doors, and that Jay didn’t have keys to her home. As a young parent worker, I had a duty of care and had to inform Mandy that I would have to inform Linda and other professionals working with her.
For nearly three years, one of the main activities of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has been to conduct a campaign for "reasonable working hours." It commenced with a survey completed in October 1999, which linked the sharp increase in working hours over the past two decades with stress-related illnesses and workplace accidents. Apart from occasional media releases, the "campaign" ...
This was very difficult for me, as I never wanted Mandy to see me in that light. Mandy begged me not to tell her social worker and promised she would never do it again. I wanted to believe her, but part of me needed to uphold my profession duties to protect vulnerable children. I was also aware that this was no longer an ethical dilemma, where I was left to choose, but rather an Ethical problem, where I was clear about my actions, which if not acted upon, could lead to problems. (Banks 2004)
My fear was that this incident would affect the relationship; I had built with Mandy in the previous weeks and was unsure, if she would trust me again. Linda had called an urgent multiagency meeting to discuss the current incident that took place at Mandy’s house and informed, the team that Mandy’s son Ben had now been removed, to live in temporary foster care as the risk of Mandy repeating the same act was high and that Ben was at risk. Mandy who was present at the meeting started to cry and shout.
I felt guilty as I felt it was my fault which led to Ben’s removal. As I tried reassuring Mandy, the health visitor reminded Mandy that she needed to take more responsibility for Bens care and didn’t feel she was fit to mother him at present and explained that she had wasted time that she could have spent on other families attending missed visits. I did not want to discuss the complexities of the case in Mandy’s presence, as she was already distraught, Instead I feedback (to the group) the ways I could offer support, to her.
Mandy’s mental health worker felt that there was noting else she could offer Mandy and said she would be ending her sessions, due to lack of engagement by Mandy. This was difficult for me, as I knew that Mandy did wrong, but didn’t feel that particular meeting was the correct forum, in which to discuss her mistakes. Further more Briault 2002 has suggested that in difficult situations and conflicts, there is a tendency for all participants to see situations, only from their own perspective.
Again young people who respond violently have tended to find it difficult to see a situation from other people perspectives. (Briault 2002) There has been much debate around the definition of partnership working and its definition, leading to no single definition but several. Douglas 2009 gives the definition that partnership is being effective in communication, sharing information and collaborating with other agencies. Other writers have argued that although in a partnership, individuals maintain their individual ‘authority’ whilst co-operating on the same issues. (Douglas
Do you feel stress in your life? Does this affect the way you live and work? Many things currently going on in one's life, such as work, health, family and finances, can cause stress. It is how we individually identify the root cause and begin working on managing them effectively. As adult learners, there are various aspects of our work life that cause each of us some form of stress. We discovered ...
2009) The National youth agency 2004 described professional principles as the following: Recognise the boundaries between personal and professional life and be aware of the need to balance a caring and supportive relationship with young people with appropriate professional distance ,recognise the need to be accountable to young people, their parents or guardians, colleagues, funders, wider society and others with a relevant interest in the work, and that these accountabilities may be in Conflict, develop and maintain the required skills and competence to do the job, and Work for conditions in employing agencies where these principles are discussed, evaluated and upheld. The Every child matter initiative was introduced by the previous Labour government in 2003 partly in response to the proposed outcome of Lord Lamin inquiry into the death of Victory Climbe, who died in the care of her aunt and uncle, after being torched and abused. The criticism came as a result of agencies (who were involved in the case) started to blame each other.
Therefore, its main aim was to place a legal duty on professionals from different agencies, to work together in a multifaceted way to safeguard children from abuse, violence and ensure that no child was left without adequate support. (Sayer 2008, Chemina 2009) Case study 2 David My role was a support worker to a young boy David. My work with David was Sessional, where I was required to provide short-term intervention around activities and arts. This intervention was requested from my team, by David’s social worker in conjunction with his school teacher and mentor. However, when the work started, I felt that the central theme (David) was no longer the centre stage at meetings.
1.1 – The importance of effective communication in developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults The importance of developing good relationships with children, young people and adults alike cannot be stressed enough. It is vitally important that we demonstrate and model effective communication skills with positive interactions as children are more likely to respond ...
For example, the social worker would often say, that David had not changed over the years (in their own experience) and didn’t seem to take on the fact that I (the support worker) had encouraging feedback, about the one to one therapy work I had carried out with David on a weekly basis. The council I worked had made several funding cuts, which affected the amount of allocated time, I could work with David. The teacher and learning mentor always assumed that David would not engage with me and appeared negative every time I spoke about awarding David, when he did something good. Issues or difficulties observed by teachers as affecting David differed with mine, as David was always portrayed as a trouble maker and the teacher always spoke about how other children were effected by his behaviour, rather than how he could be supported in the class.
When this was challenged, (by me) both the teacher and learning mentor kept on talking about their years of “experience” and talked about the fact they had worked with ADHD children before, and knew the issues they faced. The process of this particular partnership frustrated me and encouraged me question, who our responsibilities as professionals, lie. Hamilton c makes a good point about professional realising that, even if they don’t have parental responsibility, they still have a duty of care. (Hamilton 2005) On reflection, I could understand (to some extent), why the teacher and mentor were expressing such views, for example Ingram and Harris 2001 argue that schools and colleges tend to work of fixed programmes of learning, where youth work tends to be based on the young peoples needs and interest. (Ingram and Harris 2001)
I came to the conclusion that my role as support worker wasn’t fully recognised within the partnership or appreciated by other professionals and neither was David’s contribution and participation, as the young person, who, in my opinion, should have been central to the process. One could argue that the partnership was not effective due to the varying agenda’s of each professional. As Ingram and Harris suggest, because of different ideologies within professional practice, children’s rights are at the bottom, while the state remains at the top. (Ingram and Harris 2001) Reflecting on my partnerships with the social worker, teacher and mentor, It highlighted how (in practice) that partnerships don’t always go to plan, as suggested in theory, but can work if individual effort is made by those involved Conclusion
Ethics has been described, as the norms people follow around their value base, which views things as right or wrong or good or bad. There remains a great influence of research and data around ethics that govern law, professions and personal life in terms of life choice and personal morals. Within youth and community work, professional ethics and practice have been given as a guide to aid professional conduct, through the National youth Agency. A case has cited in this essay has show, how Mandy, left her one year old son at home and begged her parent worker not to inform her social worker. As her worker, being faced with a decision that could compromise future relationship’s, was difficult.
However the duty of care as a professional took precedence, in doing what was right and ultimately highlights the benefits of having professional ethics, which guide practice. In the same light working in partnership has been encouraged in policy through the introduction of every child matters, where the government have placed duty’s on all professionals working with children and young people to work together and share information. But like all things Theory and practice can only work together if there if full co-operation. In the case study of David and his relationship with his school and social worker, highlighted the way different ways in which agencies work, leading to a lack of support and a breakdown in communication amongst professionals.
The two principles of ethics and partnership has highlighted, that if applied (in the right sense) youth and community workers can work to uphold the values and principle, in every day practice regardless of the challenges they face, to fully support the people , they work with. Bibliography Banks,S. 2004 Ethics, accountability and the social professions. Palgrave Macmillan. Briault,S. 2002 working it out: A handbook for violence prevention in work with young people. Russell House Publishing Cheminas, R. 2009 Effective Multi-agency partnerships: Putting every child Matters into practice. Sage Douglas, A. 2009 Partnership Working Routledge Hamilton, C.
(2005) Working with Young People Legal Responsibility and Liability, The Children’s Legal Centre Ingram,g. and Harris, J. 2001 Delivering good youth work: A working guide to surviving and thriving. Russell House Publishing. National youth agency 2004 ethical conduct in youth and community work: Statement of values and principles. Leicester Rogers, v. 2010 Working with young women: activities for exploring Personal, social and emotional issues. Jessica Kingsley publishers. London Philadelphia. Second edition. Sayer,T. 2008 Critical practice in working with Children. Palgrave Macmillan Wood,J. and Jean . H. 2009 Working with young people. Sage, London