In this assignment we will look at two codes of ethics, both of which are directed to human services professionals. Links to both of these codes are given with this assignment. The code of ethics shown on the website of the National Organization for Human Services is the code most often cited and taught in human services education programs. The current Ethical Standards document is the result of twenty years of development, beginning with a survey of the organization’s constituents that served as the basis for a proposed code of ethics. After several years of review and deliberation, both the NOHS and its sister organization, CSHSE, adopted this code of ethics in 1996.
More recently, the code found at http://www.cce-global.org/Prof/Ethics (click on Code of Ethics under Human Services- Board Certified Practitioner in the blue box on the right to open the document) was created by the Center for Credentialing and Education. This was done in conjunction with the development of a national credential for human service professionals, the Human Services–Board Certified Practitioner designation. As you can see, both the NOHS and CSHSE sanction this code and it is clear that professionals holding the HS-BCP credential are expected to adhere to it. It is highly unusual for an organization to approve of two different codes for the same profession. By examining these two codes we can add to our understanding of the nature of codes of ethics, their purposes, and how they are applied in the self-regulation of a profession.
1. What differences do you see in the two codes of ethics? You might consider their length and detail, but look also at the general tone and the overall nature of the expectations of those who adhere to each code. How would you characterize each code?
2. What is the HS-BCP code designed to do? What is the purpose of the NOHS Ethical Standards? In what way does each code try to meets its specific purpose? In what ways is each code limited in its capacity to serve the multiple purposes of a code of ethics?
3. Try to imagine what will happen in the future in regard to ethics in human services. Do you think one of these codes will prevail? Which one, and why? Do you think both will be scrapped and a unified code will be written? What do you think will be the effect on the human services profession if it continues to maintain two codes of ethics?
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