Monday, November 28, 2011

Human Services Ethic: Cases Involving Social Responsibility: Case 1-2-5-6 Written Assignment

Name:
Desdery J. Masao

Date:
Nov 2008

 

Case 2 is about Abortion Controversy in the human service organization, Metropolitan United Federation. The mission and objectives of the Metropolitan United Federation is to distribute money, funds, to a wide variety of social service/human service agencies that include programs for the elderly, children, substance abusers, homeless, disabled, mentally ill and many more. This is a fundamental principle that makes standing for this agency, society trust and legal ramifications can occur if this mission is not accomplished by such a public agency.


However, if Metropolitan United Federation is not a faith based organization, rather it serves the general public, and if it receives funds from the private and public organizations, firms, or personnel. Then the agency is most likely to distribute its funds to any agency that is trusted to accomplish its mission. However, the agency approved its funds to the local Planned Parenting because it offers a wide range of services including sex education throughout the community, contraception, abortion counseling, and abortion. People tend to have hard feelings that touch their core values or things that touch√© their beliefs. But public agency cannot be run by individual or potion of population beliefs. That’s why when we design a human service organization we research what population we are targeting before establishment.

Kenyon page 66, on the NOHSE human service professional’s responsibility to the community and society; statement eighteen tells us that “Human service professionals are knowledgeable about the cultures and communities within which they practice. They are aware of multiculturalism in society and its impact on the community as well as individuals within the community. They respect individuals and groups, their cultures and beliefs.”  Therefore, the two Board member who are shocked about funding and “argued that the United Federation should not be funding an organization that supports abortion-related services. These two board members contacted anti-abortion groups, which subsequently threatened to mount negative publicity and to discourage potential donors from contributing to the United Federation campaign.” Due to ethics of human service professional, they should also rethink about the mission of the organization, and recall that the mission was not discriminatory toward, abortionist, gays, straight, earthiest, religious, colored people, uncolored people, or any kind of division, you name it. It was for the general population and Kenyon page 66 NOHSE statements 18, and all statements 1-37, guide us through all these divisions and make community and society best place to live.

I’m a good Christian, I don’t believe in Abortion, discrimination, division, or judging others, I believe in Unity, responsibilities, and rule of law with equal and social justice, Reamer page 18. Also Reamer page 134 tells us that social workers have obligation of promoting social welfare of general society without any discrimination. Should I respect others’ decisions? Yes, that is how to live in unity. I also believe that to be a good Christian is not to oppose gays and abortion, what about other sins, hate crimes, killings in the street, kidnapping, and other oppressions against innocent people that we, social workers strives to fight against?

Based on critical thinking on human service ethical dilemmas, I think the case did not tell us that Metropolitan United Federation is a private or faith-based organization. But we know for fact that the agency approved money to the Planned Parenthood and that two board members are anti-abortion. They threaten the CEO, and put the future of entire organization in jeopardy by creating this ethical dilemma. The CEO is facing threats that the tow members are organizing anti-abortionist to propagate boycott of donors not to support the organization. My point is that the organization is not serving special interests of certain group of people; rather it serves interests of the public according to its mission. Professionals are to set aside their personal values not to impact public decisions. On the values conflict, Kenyon page 47, said that A person cannot “have it all” or “be all things”. He furthers that “priorities must be established and choices made. An interpersonal values conflict occurs when an individual experiences uncertainty about what he or she really believes or wants and/or when tow or more priorities or beliefs conflict or seem incompatible to the person.”

For example, I would not like to see a public elected official or key player, to make us, community, to follow his personal values or spiritual conversion, such as Christianity belief, denominational believe, ethnicity believe and so on. That is the beauty of Democracy and USA constitution.

Let us stick on the given mission and objectives of the Metropolitan United Federation, as given in the case study, that is to distribute money, funds, to a wide variety of social service/human service agencies that include programs for the elderly, children, substance abusers, homeless, disabled, mentally ill and many more. This is a fundamental principle that makes standing for this agency, society trust and legal ramifications can occur if this mission is not accomplished by such a public agency.

I believe that, however, if Metropolitan United Federation is not a faith based organization then cannot denies approved funds to Planned Parenthood for abortion reason. The agency has to serve the general public, if it receives funds from the private and public organizations, firms, or personnel it has to clearly express that it serve the general public and no affiliation with left or right, righteous, or faith based constituencies.

According to Kenyon, 1999, p. 11, "Human service professionals provide services without discrimination or preference based on age, ethnicity, culture, race, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.". It is surely unprofessional for the two board members to put their personal values in the organization and impact the entire community. I think for such unprofessional practice is unethical and they should be expelled from the board. For example, Reamer page 6 elaborate values of human service professionals by telling us that “social workers have always espoused concern about a core group of central values that have served as profession’s ballast, such as the dignity, uniqueness, and worth of the person, self-determination autonomy, respect, justice, equality, and individuation. (Biestek 1957; Cobot 1973; Hamilton 1951; etc).”
It is true that "It would be unrealistic, of course, for social workers to expect that they will be able to settle all debate about the morality of abortion.  It is far more realistic to assume that the abortion controversy will continue indefinitely and that social workers involved in abortion-related debate will have to determine for themselves the nature of their ethical obligation."  (Reamer, 2006 p. 129). This statement tells “Abortion” is an individual value and no winner in the debater, and that since we are democratic society living under the rule of law we should learn to accept others way of life as value even if we don’t like them since they are also obligated to accept our values even if they don’t value them as we do. “No one is pro-abortion.Barack Obama. If I’m not mistaken on the issue of abortion he said that we can come together and work together and engage in the dialog even in the issues we disagree and not tear each other apart, by demonizing one’s characters.

Moreover, I think that Kenyon, page 67, statement 19 of NOHSE, “Human service professionals are aware of their own cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and values, recognizing the potential of impact on their relationships with others.” Statement 19 tells us how important it is for human service professional to bare these values and ethics as guidelines while serving clients. I also believe that Human service management should be abiding by these values and ethics as well. Because NOHSE statement 19 could enlighten the two board members to understand that they are there to approve and direct the organization that is for the community and not for club members or members only type organization. Eventually, I will still push for releasing funds to Planned Parenthood because I believe it is the right thing to do, also I would urge board members to look upon personal values of the two members and see if they are affecting the public values of the organization’s objectives and if so to take actions.

Case 5 is about Human Services and the Law based on the humans service organization whose mission is to assist immigrants regardless of their legal status, religious affiliations, or political views. For example, NOHSE Statement 10 states that “Human service professionals are aware of local, state, and federal laws. They advocate for change in regulations and statutes when such legislation conflicts with ethical guidelines and/or client rights. Where laws are harmful to individuals, groups, or communities, human service professionals consider the conflict between the value of obeying the law and the values of serving people and may decide to initiate social action.”

Kenyon page 66, NOHSE Statement 12 states that “Human service professionals understand the complex interaction between individuals, their families, the communities in which they live, and society.” I strongly believe that under any circumstances any case worker of any human service organization should have concern about clients who have serious crime, child abuse, or possible conspiracies, just as Refugee Resettlement Center policy indicates. If a social worker is aware of these acts should report them to the authority.

For example, Reamer page 44 tells us that ethical dilemma makes social workers to fray between their preference to respect their clients’ right to confidentiality and no harm scenarios. However, in this instance social workers are also concerned about the illegal nature of their clients’ activities.

However, Kenyon page 66, NOHSE Statement 17 state that “Human service professionals provide services without discrimination or preference based on age, ethnicity, culture, race, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.” Refugee Resettlement Center its mission is to assist immigrants regardless of their legal status, religious affiliations, or political views. But staff, Alan B., is trying to implement his personal concerns and to me these views will violet NOHSE statement 17, agency’s policy and bill of human rights.

The reason I said that “But staff, Alan B., is trying to implement his personal concerns and to me these views will violet NOHSE statement 17, agency’s policy and bill of human rights.” Is based on the following:- The case opening stated that “Recently, due to unrest in the Middle East, his office has seen an increase in immigration from Islamic countries. As a result of the agency's work, it is not unusual for the staff to receive requests for services from people who are in the United States illegally and from people who may be involved Mosques that are suspected to have links to Islamic fundamentalists.” Furthermore, “At a recent staff meeting, however, Alan B., suggested that the staff revisit the issue. He told the staff that he is concerned abut the agency's policy, particularly if staffers have information that, in their judgment, public officials ought to have (for example concerning the commission of a serious crime, child abuse, or possible conspiracies).”

My point is if the agency's mission is “to assist immigrants regardless of their legal status, religious affiliations, or political views” then why Alan B’s concern has come after the Middle East unrest? As the case deliberately targeting the social workers working with immigrants of Muslim descendants, I naturally raise the question of the mission statement of the agency and bill of rights.

However, as I said before, that I strongly believe that under any circumstances any case worker of any human service organization should have concern about clients who have serious crime, child abuse, or possible conspiracies, just as Refugee Resettlement Center policy indicates. If a social worker is aware of these acts should report them to the authority immediately. This is to be done by all social workers and to all clients under the mission of the agency. Not by only social workers dealing with Middle East immigrants or Muslim descendant immigrants. We are to practice equality, serve the needy, to unite and not to stereotype or divide others.

Alan B can and could also break confidentiality, when such matters arise. I think Alan B should have introduced this matter as a general overview to all immigrant or clients, without targeting one group of immigrants. Because Kenyon page 66, on the NOHSE human service professional’s responsibility to the community and society, statement ten and eighteen, gives use some straight directives on this case. Social workers generally agree that they are obligated to obey regulations and laws. After all, without regulations and laws, life would be intolerably chaotic (Reamer pg. 139).

However, in this case, also social workers should remember that Kenyon page 66 and 67 on NOHSE statement 16 puts emphasize on the rights of minorities and oppressed, and statement 17 stresses on equality of social work services to all in need. In this case Middle Eastern, Muslim descendants, happens to be part of minority group at large group of immigrants. I believe that statement 16 and 17 prompts social workers not make distinction of policies or services between Middle Eastern immigrants and general population of immigrants who are coming in this country. It prompts us to do it ethically without let instincts of our rooted values to influence our personal decisions on such public service.

For example, if I assist a person from countries that are facing ethnic cleansing or genocide I’m a hero, such as World War I & II heroes. Therefore, if I happen to assist an individual who is facing genocide, right now as we are speaking, from Congo or Darfur-Sudan, I’m doing the right thing. every human service professional is obligate to do what is right and value life and safety of their clients. I don’t think that breaking that law you just said is an issue over here. It is an ethical and valuable thing to do because we all value life as it is precisions, as Reamer page 24 to 28 explains.  I will not implement what Alan B said, if it is to the Middle Eastern immigrants, and also I will stick with agency’s mission and objectives, however, I will consider reporting illegal activities of all sorts of immigrants because they don’t help our society rather hurting.

Case 1 is about A Financial Dilemma on Ethics of Funding Cuts for Camden Yards Drug Treatment Center, originated from Reamer 1999, case 5.1, page 131. Kenyon 66 on NOHSE Statement 10 states that “Human service professionals are aware of local, state, and federal laws. They advocate for change in regulations and statutes when such legislation conflicts with ethical guidelines and/or client rights. Where laws are harmful to individuals, groups, or communities, human service professionals consider the conflict between the value of obeying the law and the values of serving people and may decide to initiate social action.”

Because the case is about the center that provides counseling and supportive services for individuals who have substance abuse problems; and has largely depended upon state contracts and fees paid by insurance companies and few self-pay clients the agency has to accept the reality of bad economy and constrained budget from the state. Because of a slow-moving economy funding for most state programs must be reduced due to State revenues been down. In this case I will advice the director to overlook what programs will be eliminated or limited to avoid ethical dilemmas because Kenyon page 67 on NOHSE Statement 17 state that “Human service professionals provide services without discrimination or preference based on age, ethnicity, culture, race, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.”


However, my ethical rationale and recommendations to the director is that we will have to inform our clients about funding cuts, and possibly cut down some services and benefits due to limited financing from the donor. Because Kenyon page 66 on NOHSE Statement 11, state that “Human service officials keep informed about current social issues as they affect the client and the community. They share that information with clients, groups, and community as part of their work.” This is to prepare clients from surprise on the funding cuts in the coming fiscal year. Also I will advice the director to inform the community that we were able to serve 500 clients, but with coming year we will only be able to serve 325 people, due to fund cuts. Also to inform them that we are long for possible donors and, some programs may be eliminated or narrowed, and that there will be some sort of fees to meet needs and demands of the community, until when state will be able to resume full funds for such programs.

As a professional I will also seek for volunteers from the community and fill some necessary programs to keep the agency’s mission alive. At the same time I will advice the director to look into fund raising programs that will allow expansion of resources of the agency to cover the agency programs in the future if funding cut backs are to happen. Because Kenyon page 66 on NOHSE Statement 15 state that “Human service professionals describe the effectiveness of programs, treatments, and/or techniques accurately”.

Case 6 is about Labor-Management Disputes on -Management Disputes for a Downcity General Hospital is a five hundred bed facility that primarily serves a low-income community. Case 6 is derived from Case 5.6 Reamer (1999) p.151 Labor. Because the case is about social workers to strike, I think that in this case it is not ethical to strike because clients’ lives are in danger. For example Reamer on page 145 said that “norms in social work suggest that strikes should be avoided if at all possible, particularly if clients’ basic needs are at stake.” 

Because social workers are divided on the issue of strike due their job accommodation and benefits are at stake, innocent lives of clients/patients may be in danger if the strike will take place. I, personally value life, and for whatever reason, I think it is immoral to sacrifice other people’ lives for personal gain. For as professional Reamer page 143 states that “members of the profession have an inherent obligation to assist people in need”

However, because several social worker positions at my site will be cut and remaining staff will be expected to make a larger contribution to their own health care plans, yet the raise is minimal; I will observe if I’m on the list of lay-off  social workers or I’m keeping my job. If I’m on the lay-off list there is no much I can do because NY Employment Laws/Labor Standards  state that “an employer may fire an employee for "no reason" “. (http://www.labor.state.ny.us/search/search.asp?query=a+right+to+fire+employee&submit=GO) But if I’m keeping my job I will act against strike and follow negotiation procedures because I work as social worker to advocate innocent lives. For example, Kenyon page 66, Statement 13 of NOHSE state that “Human service professionals act as advocates in addressing unmet client and community needs. Human service professionals provide a mechanism for identifying unmet client needs, calling attention to these needs, and assisting in planning and mobilizing to advocate for those needs at the local community level.”

However, while social workers striking there is an ethical dilemma on this case when Kenyon page 73 on NOHSE Statement 32 state that “Human service professionals adhere to commitments made to their employers”. I will implement this statement because above all I value precious innocent lives of my clients, and as a social worker I value to serve the best interests of clients. My colleagues’ lives are not in eminent danger here, but a double standard is that I will still push for equal pay and equal load of work and not overworked due to cut back/lay-off. However, apart from strike, I believe that there is another safe alternative for the union, responsibly to work with the employer to settle this dispute.  However, the ethical issue arises on my decision based on Kenyon page 69 on NOHSE statement 24 and most likely statement 23. My above decision on my very personal values will most likely create conflict with other core workers, and some may be aggressive. However, also it may create conflict with employer because I also do agree with them fully also. Eather or, is a losing situation, but I also recognize that it is difficult to do the right thing. NYS employment laws state that “Without a contract restricting termination (such as a collective bargaining agreement) an employer has the right to discharge an employee at any time for any reason. This also protects the employee's right to resign” (http://www.labor.state.ny.us/search/search.asp?query=a+right+to+fire+employee&submit=GO) If I see I cannot help the situation and do my job in a friendly environment the above NYS labor laws allows me  resigh, that will be best option in case this scenario will occur.

Reamer 1999 page 218 on NASW Standard of Ethics Standard mention about social worker’s right to strike on things that matters to them and can affect their daily activities, but does not endorse or oppose strike on one way or the other. Furthermore, these Standard of ethics does specify or identify that social workers are obligated to notify their clients if they are going to experience an interruption in services whatsoever. 

Bibliography:

1                                                        http://www.labor.state.ny.us/search/search.asp?query=a+right+to+fire+employee&submit=GO
2                                                        Kenyon, P. (1999). What would you do? : an ethical case workbook for human service professionals. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Pub.
3                                                        Reamer, F. G. (2006). Social work values and ethics. New York: Columbia University Press

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