Code of Ethics

Core Values and Ethical Principles


The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession's history, are the foundation of social work's unique purpose and perspective. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience.  Below is an extract of the NASW Code of Ethics approved by the 1999 Delegate Assembly:

  • Value:  Service
    Ethical Principle:  Social workers' primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems.
  • Value:  Social Justice
    Ethical Principle:  Social workers challenge social injustice.
  • Value:  Dignity and Worth of the Person
    Ethical Principle:  Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.
  • Value:  Importance of Human Relationships
    Ethical Principle:  Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.
  • Value:  Integrity
    Ethical Principle:  Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner.
  • Value:  Competence
    Ethical Principle:  Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.
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