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Our team is carrying out a project among adolescent children facing troubles and living in the urban city. So far, we have encountered several ethical dilemmas that have interfered with the smooth running of the project. The ethical issues are as a result of conflicts obligations and values between what we as a team believe is right or wrong on one hand and what the professional code of ethics governing our practice dictates on the other hand (Reamer, n.d.).
First and foremost, clients’ confidentiality and their informed consent is one major ethical issue that is proving to be a challenge to our team. The professional guidelines stipulating the way social work projects should be carried out outlines the clients’ well being as paramount when compared to any other value (Shaw, 2003). Even though the members of our team inform the adolescent clients of the limits to confidentiality before hand, they still struggle with feelings of guilt and betrayal when they have to break such confidentiality and inform other concerned parties of the status of the client (Shaw, 2003). This challenge has been heightened by the fact that most of the adolescents taking part in the project are not qualified to grant informed consent. As a result, our team has an obligation to reveal any confidential information to the adolescent’s parents, caregiver or authority in charge especially if they are in danger.
The issue of dual relationships also presents a notable ethical dilemma to our team. In such an instance, multiple sets of relationships arise where on one hand there exists the professional while the other(s) may be financial, professional or social in nature. In the case of our team, dual relationships are as a result of friendship ties being formed between team members and the adolescents because they can relate to us because we are young adults. These kinds of relationships interfere with the project because boundaries are created as a result of conflict arising between the groups’ professional duties vis-à-vis their social or religious relationships with the project participants (Reamer, n.d.). Confidentiality issues have also arisen as some of the clients have developed fear that some of their information that was obtained informally by the group members may be revealed professionally.
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