Code of Ethics
Code of Ethical Practice
Catholic Social Workers National Association is a Professional Membership Association that was formed on the belief that professional associations should support not only your profession, but also your beliefs, values, and your faith. CSWNA has been established for social workers who are faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and are looking for support and direction within their profession based upon church teachings.
The mission of Catholic Social Workers National Association is to promote the implementation of Catholic social teachings in social work practice as we support competent professional social workers living out their baptismal call by being the hands and feet of Christ.
CSWNA articulates principles for its members to follow in their practice. The purpose of this code is not to supplant other standard codes within the social work profession. CSWNA members are expected to adhere to other standard codes to the extent that they do not require the social worker to violate Catholic Church teaching. CSWNA is not a regulatory body, but can refuse membership to those who do not practice in accordance with these principles.
I. CSWNA members' responsibilities to church, community, and profession
a). Respect the fundamental dignity and worth of all human persons from the moment of conception to natural death.
b). Protect the sanctity of family and the marriage of one man and one woman.
c). Understanding the role of Catholic social teaching as pertains to social work practice and promote Catholic education for the advancement of social work practice.
d). Promote research to better serve clients and community.
e). Foster personal spiritual and professional growth to enthusiastically work as servants in our communities.
f). Foster a great sense of community within our churches to welcome those who may otherwise feel unwelcome, whether for socioeconomic, age, race, or disability issues
g). Comply with federal and state statutes regarding duty to report, duty to protect, and duty to warn.
h). Provide accountability to payment providers.
i). Combat unjust discrimination based on age, gender, religion, race, color, disability, sexual orientation.
j). Advocate for social justice and the common good.
k). We respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes, and opinions that differ from our own.
II. CSWNA members' responsibilities to client's
a). Provide services to clients only within appropriate professional boundaries.
b). Inform clients of the right to confidentiality and any limits to confidentiality.
c). Combat the use of derogatory language to describe clients.
d). Ensure client privacy and confidentiality.
e). Ensure the confidentiality of client records and provide clients with reasonable and appropriate access to their records.
f). Declare conflicts of interest.
g). Promote client self-determination, with an awareness of cultural, individual and religious differences.
h). Provide competent service to clients.
i). Provide accountability to clients.
j). Promote greater access (hours, geography, language, cultural sensitivity, costs) to underserved populations.
k). Provide for appropriate transfer or termination of services with clients.
l). Respect the religious identity of clients, including the client's right to be free from proselytization in a professional relationship.
III. CSWNA members’ responsibilities in the workplace
a). Understand and operate within agencies rules.
b) Combat unjust discrimination towards clients or employees based on age, gender, religion, race, color, disability, sexual orientation.
c). Respect the religious identity of colleagues.
d). Promote cultural competence.
e). Respect social diversity.
f). Follow employer protocol for dealing with grievances.
g). Promote honesty in any proceedings with employers.
h). Understand and operate within proper boundaries in supervisory roles at the workplace.
i). Consult with appropriate supervision when duties as a social worker conflict with the Catholic faith.
j). Report instances of incompetent, discriminatory, or abusive practice by colleagues to the employer and respective licensing boards.