In the National Association for Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, there are many standards a social worker should uphold in order to promote a healthy and helpful relationship with the client. One such aptitude is Cultural Competence and Social Diversity, which is in section 1.05 of the NASW code of ethics (National Association of Social Workers, 2008). There are three sections associated with this competency “Social workers should understand culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths in all cultures”. It is assumed that “social workers should have a knowledge base of their clients’ cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in the provision of services that are sensitive to clients”. As a final point “Social workers should obtain education” in order to understand cultural diversity and oppression in people (NASW, 2008, p. 9).
Understanding culture is an important aspect of being a social worker; this does not mean learning common cultural traits is of great significance to the social work profession. “Consider the second-generation Japanese-American social worker whose practice consists of Mexican-American and African-American families. Memorizing national traits or cultural rituals would be interesting and informative, but ultimately these would be an inaccurate basis on which to “know” these particular families” (Dorfman, 1996, p. 33). When understanding cultural competence it is important to learn from the client about their culture in order to serve them in the most helpful and efficient way possible. There is a major drawback to memorizing information, and that is this information will not give you a real understanding of whom your client is and what life experiences they have personally faced. The facts would, perhaps, be at the surface and not allow you to reach in and see how to help them. As a professional social worker it is your duty to use as little assumption as possible in order to use factual information in each case (Dorfman, 1996).
It is important to understand “cultural accessibility” which includes “understanding, appreciation, and affirmation of values and beliefs that are held by the communit (Delgado, 1999, p. 34). Nonverbal communication is also an aspect of cultural associability due to the communication to the client in a way they understand (Delgado, 1999,). This is an important aspect because it allows the social worker to be available to learn from the client in order to build competence at the time of face-to-face contact. Each client is an individual and is more than just the cultural norm’s they can be stereotyped by.
Importance and Value of the Code of Ethics
There is a great necessity for the code of ethics in social welfare. The first code of ethics was “adopted in 1960” and was a single page (NASW,1998, para. 8). The last major adoption was in 1996, which was similar to what we see today, in the 2008 edition. In this...