Ethical Issues in the Digital Age – Challenges for Social Workers Around the Globe
Social workers throughout the world face ethical challenges that were unimaginable to the profession’s earliest practitioners. Contemporary social workers provide services and communicate with clients using digital and other technology that did not exist when social work was inaugurated in the 19th century. Social workers’ use of technology has introduced novel ethical challenges that require new ethical standards. At the same time, today’s social workers also face longstanding ethical issues related to management of confidential information, informed consent, professional boundaries, conflicts of interest, professional misconduct, paternalism, and allocation of limited resources, among others. Frederic Reamer will discuss the evolution of social work ethics; highlight longstanding and emerging challenges; explore international perspectives on social work ethics; and discuss evolving ethical standards worldwide.
Frederic G. Reamer
Professor, School of Social Work
Rhode Island College, USA
Frederic Reamer, Ph.D., is professor at the School of Social Work, Rhode Island College (USA). Dr. Reamer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has served as a social worker in mental health settings and prisons. He is the author of many books and other publications on social work ethics. Reamer chaired the national task force that wrote the code of ethics adopted by the National Association of Social Workers (1996) and served on the code of ethics revision committee (2017). He has lectured on the subject of ethics internationally, including India, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Canada, and throughout the United States. In 2016 Dr. Reamer was named a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers for his “commitment and dedication to the social work profession and to the improvement of social and human conditions at the local, state, national, and international levels.”
The Changing Face of Domestic Violence Intervention: From the Margins to the Mainstream
In the first half year of 2018, there were 2458 cases of domestic violence (DV) in Hong Kong being identified. More than 20% (554) were children. The experiences of being abused will affect the whole life of the victims. The number might be under-estimated as well due to non-disclosure. In the 2016 Policy Address of Chief Executive in Hong Kong called for the improvement of support for victims of DV. The sharing of extensive evidence-based practice from Australia will undoubtedly strengthen the social workers in Hong Kong in supporting the DV victim and preventing the increase of DV.
Professor, Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne, Australia
Cathy Humphreys is Professor of Social Work at University of Melbourne, a position she was appointed to in 2006 following 12 years as an academic in the UK at the University of Warwick. She is also co-chair (with Prof Kelsey Hegarty) of the Melbourne research Alliance to End Violence Against Women and Their Children (MAEVe). Her research in the domestic violence area has recently focused on the domestic violence policy reform in Victoria, Australia; and the development of practice for statutory child protection and for workers in community based services for children living with family violence. Current projects include: Fathering Challenges which examines the issues of responsible, reparative, responsive fathering in the context of domestic violence; the PATRICIA project which explores the interface between child protection, domestic violence services and family law; and a series of evaluation of programs to a address parenting in the context of domestic violence. Professor Humphreys is a well published author of both books and more than 100 journal articles.
Social work in Hong Kong – Past, Present and Future
Prof. Chow will review the development of social work in Hong Kong in the past 5 decades, give an objective assessment on the current strengths and weaknesses of the profession, and project the opportunities and threats ahead. In particular, the challenges arisen from rapid social and technological innovations will be critically dissect. Prof. Chow’s wisdom and insights can inspire current generation leaders to take the profession forward strategically in the rapidly changing world.
Nelson Wing-Sun Chow
Emeritus Professor, Department of Social Work & Social Administration
The University of Hong Kong
Prof. Chow is Emeritus Professor of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at The University of Hong Kong. His research interests include poverty, retirement protection and ageing. He has been a social work educator since the 1970’s, and has played a pivotal role in the development of social work profession and formulation of welfare policy in Hong Kong.
Responding to Environment, Climate, and Community: Innovations in Social Work
Entrenched poverty, environmental crises, declining health of populations and ecosystems, and a crisis of governance erode social development. The poor are embedded in dynamic systems that are changing over time, and behaviors emerge from an underlying mechanism of feedback structures. Declining social and community institutions reinforce adverse livelihood, environmental and health outcomes for the next generation. These endogenous processes taken together with climate change only portend greater risk of declining social, health, and livelihood outcomes for many in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, billions of lives continue to be at peril from eroding environmental quality, energy and food insecurity, rising health disparities, and poverty of basic resources throughout Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The keynote will examine the implications for social development and social work practice innovation to address complex social challenges of our day. Such is the complex nature of social development in chronically poor vulnerable communities whose livelihoods are intertwined with ecosystem services in decline, compounded by new uncertainties from environment and climate risk.
Prof. Yadama’s insight will inspire us to tackle the imminent big challenges to human beings from both local and global perspectives. He has very strong track record in this areas, as evidenced by his impactful work in the United States, Chain and India. Findings from his multinational studies have significant implications to the future social work practice.
Gautam N. Yadama
Dean, School of Social Work
Boston College, USA
Gautam N. Yadama is Professor and the Dean of Boston College School of Social Work, Boston College. His research is focused on understanding poverty and environment dynamics, and interventions to address the attendant social, economic, environment, and health outcomes. His research in China, funded by Kaufman Foundation, is directed at understanding the way rural communities in China engage in collective action and collaborate with the state in the supply and maintenance of quasi-public goods such as rural schools, health clinics, sanitation, and rural infrastructure. In India, he has implemented a randomized control trial to study the sustainability of new and efficient energy technologies in rural communities to reduce household air pollution and improve health and wellbeing of women and children. His book – Fires, Fuel & the Fate of 3 Billion: State of the Energy Impoverished (Oxford University Press) outlines an argument for transdisciplinary research to tackle complex problems such as household air pollution that reside at the intersections of poverty, environment, and health. He is a member of the Implementation Science Network on Clean Cooking (ISN) at the Fogarty Institute of the National Institutes of Health, USA. With support from ISN, he is conducting a social network analysis and community-based system dynamics to explore how interventions to reduce pollution are adopted and sustained by the poor in rural India. He is a commissioner on the recently released Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. The aim of the Commission is to reduce air, soil, and water pollution by communicating the extraordinary health and economic costs of pollution globally, providing actionable solutions to policy-makers and dispelling the myth of pollution’s inevitability.
Social Work Values, Ethical Challenges and Dilemma in Social Work Practice in this New Technological Era
In face of the challenges resulting from technological development, social workers face ethical challenges and there are ethical dilemma in social work practice. With Prof. Cheng’s rich experience in family work and intervention research, her talk can inspire social workers to rethink the service delivery and related issues.
Professor, Department of Social Work
National Taiwan University
Li-Chen Cheng is a Full Professor at Department of social work, National Taiwan University. She obtained her Ph. D., at Washington University at St. Louis and her expertise areas are Family Social Work, Poverty issues and Social Welfare and Social Work Intervention Research.
Starting in 1979, Dr. Li-Chen Cheng had worked as a family social worker at Taipei Family Helper Project of Chinese Children’s Fund whose main function was to help female headed families regaining their family functions. She received her doctoral degree on social work from Washington University at St. Louis between 1990 and 1995. Between 1995 and 1998, she started her academic career at the Department of Social Work of the Soochow University. Since 1998, she moved to the Department of Social Work of the National Taiwan University and became a full professor in 2005. She has been teaching regularly family social work, poverty issues and social work intervention research. Her research area of interest has been focusing on developing anti-poverty strategies. Since 2000, she has been involved in developing and evaluating anti-poverty programs based on assets for many local governments in Taiwan. She became an expert on assets-based welfare theory in Taiwan and published several papers on the theory. Lately, she has also involved in the homelessness survey and service model development.
Beside academic work, she also involved in advocating work for social work practitioners. Between 2003 and 2014, she served as the secretary and president of Taiwanese Association of Social Workers. She achieved progressively in advocating to the government for more manpower and better working environment in social service delivery. She also participated actively to develop licensing system and professional training for social workers in Taiwan.
The Ethics and Politics of Technology for Human Service Workers
The global definition of social work states that social workers and their agencies “promote social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.” And that “principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work.” How then does human service technology, and the rapidly accelerating diffusion of technology in everyday life impact upon that mission? How can we harness technology for social good and minimise the impact of the negative social outcomes that technology can visit upon us, our organisations and the people who use our services? This talk will reflect on the questions above, identify some hotly debated ethical issues and discuss the value of slow ethical reflection on emerging socio-technical issues.
The impact of technology on human services is a timely and important topic. The presentation addresses ethics and politics of technology and draw our attention to its implication to human services.
Senior Lecturer in Social Work
Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
Neil began his academic career at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland where he served as Head of Department and helped to set up and lead the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services. He migrated to New Zealand in 2009 where he worked as an independent educational consultant and researcher before joining the staff of the Open Polytechnic as a senior lecturer in social work in 2015. Neil’s research activity has a focus on human service technology and he has been a member of the board of the Human Services Information Technology Association since 2008 acting as chair of the board between 2014 and 2018. Neil is also a member of the editorial collective of Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, a member of the Reimagining Social Work blogging collective and New Zealand regional editor for the international journal Critical and Radical Social Work.