Article type: Original Research

PUBLISHED 1 January 1981

Volume 6 Issue 1

Proposed Ethical Guidelines for Work in the Human Services

Ann J. Pilcher, Norman D. Sundberg
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The purpose of this article is to set forth some ethical practice guidelines for human service workers with less than professional qualifications.’ The growing awareness of social, behavioural and mental health problems in our society ranging from hyper-active children who cannot read to depressed housewives who cannot cope, has resulted in the need for more personnel in the human service fields. Increasingly, the helping professionals have been aided and abetted in their work by a growing number of aids or assistants who work undertheirdirection inthefields of psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing, the ministry, the law and vocational and educational counselling. Sometimes referred to as the “new careers worker” (Golann and Eisdorfer: 1972) or the “new professional” (Dugger: 1975), such workers may have some preparation, some on-the-job staff development, but will have less than the traditional professional training. Among these workers are many individuals, mostly women who are utilized for their nurturing, home-making skills so important in residential settings for children and in foster homes. There are also workers who are indigenous to low-income or minority group areas who possess important knowledge for promoting programs and special skills at case finding. (Pearl and Reissman: 1965) In addition there are volunteers of all kinds, including former clients, working in both conventional and atypical agencies. Honorary Probationary Officers alone number approximately 900 in Victoria in 1980 and constitute a major support for individuals on probation. All of these workers face, just as professionals do, complex and ambiguous ethical questions.

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