Ethical Issues in Case Termination, Case Refusal and Referral

Josh Klapperick 0 32

As professionals who have a duty of care to our clients, we are obligated to avoid undue abandonment of our clients. However, social workers at all levels encounter the need to terminate services, to re-fuse accepting a case, and to make appropriate referrals as needed. In each of these situations there are multiple ethical and risk management issues that must be considered and addressed if we are to serve our clients effectively, ethically and compassionately.

This program will address our ethical responsibilities in termination, refusal and referral, at both the clinical and managerial levels. We will use as a basic reference the NASW Code of Ethics, which offers clear guidelines for ethical practice in this area, but will examine these issues in a wide range of prac-tice settings.

Since agency policies often instruct and inform how termination, refusal and referral is carried out, managers and executives of human service agencies are encouraged to attend along with direct ser-vice clinicians.

Much of the program will use challenging case studies based on real situations that social workers have encountered. Registrants are encouraged to submit any problematic situations they have encoun-tered regarding termination, refusal and referral, as well as any questions or concerns they might have. This program will be conducted in a “round table” format, encouraging free discussion of the topic; we will welcome and encourage your active input.

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