A code of conduct is a hallmark of a profession. It prescribes behavior of professionals in serving and protecting clientele, colleagues, and the society at large. The Code of Ethics for the social work profession has been developed through its major professional association, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Evolving from the first Code (1960) that was a one-page statement of 15 principles to the current Code of 27 pages, NASW has historically defined and refined its Code of Ethics in light of emergent practices and research findings, and through analysis of ethical dilemmas that reached the adjudication sanction processes. The Code is developed by a team of experts and ratified by both the Association’s Delegate Assembly and Board of Directors. Licensing bodies in most states require continuing education in ethics (not in NM) to assure that those licensed not only adhere to defined practice standards, but to ethical conduct as well.
Code of Ethics
The NASW Code of Ethics
is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers. This Code
includes four sections. The first Section, "Preamble," summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values. The second section, "Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics
," provides an overview of the Code
's main functions and a brief guide for dealing with ethical issues or dilemmas in social work practice. The third section, "Ethical Principles," presents broad ethical principles, based on social work's core values, that inform social work practice. The final section, "Ethical Standards," includes specific ethical standards to guide social workers' conduct and to provide a basis for adjudication.
View the Code of Ethics
(english version) (spanish version)
If you believe a social work member of NASW is in violation of this Code of Ethics, one of your options is to file a complaint with NASW (see NASW Procedures for Professional Review [PDF; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader]).
Chapter Ethics Committee -Click here to visit the Chapter Ethics Committee page