Must-Know Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals

Human services is a career path that requires a great amount of compassion, trust, and the acceptance of others. It is a field full of heart, devotion, selflessness, and most of all – responsibility.

Human service professionals are devoted to the greater good. They work closely with individuals, families, communities, even populations, who are struggling, to help them meet their basic human needs, solve problems, and improve their overall quality of life.

There are hundreds of types of human services careers out there today – social workers, case managers, mental health workers, counselors, are just a few. And while these professionals may all address separate issues, the heart of their work remains the same: they protect and encourage the well-being of others. They help those who are at-risk and in-need develop the strength and skills necessary to better their life long-term. They also hold a certain responsibility to their clients, their profession, and to the community in which they work.

Because of the personalized nature of their job, human service professionals are held to a specific code of ethics. This code is designed to protect the rights and dignity of human service workers as well as their clients and society, and to establish standards for their everyday practice.

It is called the Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals. And no matter what stretch of the human services field you decide to pursue, it will be critical for you to both know and understand this code. That is why we’ve outlined here for you. As a leading provider of Human Services education in the state of Connecticut, Goodwin University aims to help you become well-versed in the ethical practices and processes of human service professionals today. Let’s take a closer look:

The Client-Worker Relationship:

Human service workers, above all, must protect their clients’ integrity, safety, and security. This includes the protecting the privacy of their clients and any information obtained from the client, unless such confidentiality carries the potential to cause serious harm. Even more, they must uphold respect for the diversity of clients, their cultures, and their beliefs. No personal values or biases should be imposed on a client in any way or form. The Ethical Standards of Human Service Professionals also requires that workers maintain professional and appropriate relationships with their clients.

A Responsibility to Society:

Not only do human service professionals have a responsibility to their clients, but they also uphold a responsibility to society as a whole. Human service professionals work with a diverse clientele. For this reason, they must provide services without discrimination or preference as it pertains to age, race, ethnicity, gender, ability, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. They must also be knowledgeable and respect the diverse cultures or beliefs of the groups in which they work. Most of all, the code asks that human service workers be advocates for social action, justice, and change. If legislation, government, or other authorities conflict with client rights, they should stand up for what is right. They should seek to eliminate oppression, always.

Ethical Standards for Human Services Practice:

The Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals also outlines specific standards for practice. Specifically, it asks that human service workers uphold professional ethics and place service above self-interest when on the job. This includes ensuring that integrity is maintained, laws are followed, policies are adhered to, and client records are safe and secure. When faced with an ethical dilemma, the code asks that professionals seek out appropriate consultation or supervision to assist in decision-making.

In sum, the code of ethics, also known as the Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals, is a fundamental set of values that human service professionals must consider and adhere to in their day to day work. According to the National Organization of Human Services, it is enacted in efforts to respect the dignity and welfare of all people; promote self-determination; honor cultural diversity; advocate for social justice; and act with integrity, honesty, genuineness and objectivity. Goodwin University’s Human Services Degree program is founded upon these ethics.

Ultimately, we believe, the ethics taught in our curriculum (and the ethics explained here) will help foster the development of competent, successful human service professionals. To read the full code of ethics for human service professionals, please visit the National Organization for Human Services here.

To learn more about Goodwin’s human services bachelor’s or associates degree programs, please call us today at 800-889-3282 or see our video for three reasons to pursue a career in human services.