Ethical Standard of the Month

The Office of Ethics and Professional Review profiles an ethical standard of the month every other month. This is an opportunity to examine specific standards from the NASW Code of Ethics, and related resources that promote the understanding and appropriate application of the Code.

6.02 Public Participation

Social workers should facilitate informed participation by the public in shaping social policies and institutions.

The NASW Code of Ethics states that social workers should facilitate informed participation by the public in shaping social policy. As facilitators, social workers should strive to be knowledgeable enough about the political process to educate the public about the exercise of their political power.

Exercising the right to vote is one of the most powerful ways that we advocate for our profession’s mission and support the public to shape the policies and institutions that affect them. Voting is not specifically referenced in the NASW Code of Ethics as an ethical obligation; however, voting is an act that operationalizes the ethical values that serve as the cornerstone of the social work profession.

In line with our 2016 NASW national conference, “Leading Change and Transforming Lives,” social workers are uniquely poised to affect social change. Social workers are in a powerful position to influence policy and the institutions that affect the lives of our constituents. The embodiment of standard 6.02 in the political process is to influence traditionally disenfranchised populations to go to the polls and vote. Change Starts Here
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