The Supervision Exchange

& Supervisors' Guild

As you may (or may not) be aware, the NASW, ASWB, CSWE, and CSWA has an approved publication “Standards of Technology in Social Work Practice,” outlining 55 technology standards and ethics to be observed by social workers. As you can see in the featured image, there are certain phrases and ideas that are highlighted more frequently than others. In each of the upcoming 7 posts, we will take a deep dive into each of these so as a competency exercise, but in today’s post I want to talk about why this is important.

Did you know the tech industry doesn’t have a set of ethical standards? No code of conduct guiding developers, designers, white-hats, and others. It is the responsibility of each organization to set it’s own core values and apply it to their actions as a company and as individuals in a company.

Maybe it’s because I’m a social worker who has been guided by the Code of Ethics, but when we first started our tech company and I learned this, I was like WHAT?!

Technology can seem like magic – a lot of stuff happening behind the curtain that we don’t quiet understand but appreciate it’s contribution to our daily work lives. I like the standards of technology because it forces our profession to take a serious effort at understanding how it works, how it can protect our clients, and most importantly how it can harm our clients.

Technology is amazing, but it is only as good as the user. Poor passwords make client information easy to hack and steal. When our equipment isn’t updated, it also runs the risk of being hacked but also dying and taking our client info along with it.

Access – 93 Times

Laws & Regulations – 77 Times

Policy – 61 Times

Privacy and Consent – 56 Times

Confidentiality – 55 Times

Accuracy and Compentency – 49 Times

Boundaries – 31 Times

As social workers we have so much access to client information. We put it in tech. We need to understand how this all works so we can protect their information like we promised, like they trust us to do. It is our duty in this power dynamic to treat their data with respect and security – and turns out it isn’t that hard!

In the comments I’d love to hear:

  • Have you read and gotten familiar with this document?
  • What questions do you have about tech and ethics in social work practice?
  • What is an area of tech that you struggle in?

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