What Is The Ethical Issue For Mary As The Lead Social Worker (Case Study Sample)
Case Study # 1
Mary is a social worker hired by a large city’s social services department to develop solutions to the problem of homeless people sleeping on the streets in cold weather. There have been a number of deaths from hypothermia over the last few years. The city has adopted one of the proposals - all people sleeping on the streets are picked up by bus and taken to shelters if the temperature falls below freezing. This plan was adopted quickly with insufficient budget and staffing is sparse. This has had the effect of making it an involuntary program.
A social worker for another community agency, who works with some of the homeless people, has demanded that clients should be informed of their options and the consequences of not seeking shelter. The city social services department believes they are protecting citizens and preventing deaths. Department representatives also argue that a sizable number of the homeless people are not competent to make decisions and that in emergency circumstances there is no time nor means for making those assessments.
Mary needs to determine what to do.
1. What is the ethical issue for Mary as the lead social worker for the city’s program? Consider conflicting values and competing loyalties. (6 marks)
2. How would Mary approach this situation from a deontological theoretical perspective? From a utilitarian (teleological) theoretical perspective? (4 marks)
Please note for question 1 that these are higher level values (you are not referencing the Code of Ethics) and/or ethical principles.
Length – approximately 1-2 pages
Your Course name Your Professor’s name
1 What is the ethical issue for Mary as the lead social worker for the city’s program? Consider conflicting values and competing loyalties. (6 marks)
This case poses a dilemma of loyalty for Mary since she was both hired by the City’s Social Services and are expected to develop a program that would benefit the homeless people. On one hand, Mary’s program is expected to deliver “results” which would directly reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets, and thus, the cases of deaths due to hypothermia. However, this is done in a haphazard way that fails to consider a lot of factors that could affect the lifestyle (including means of livelihood) of the homeless people. This obvious lack of careful planning could be seen from the part stating that “this plan was adopted quickly with insufficient budget and staffing is sparse”. However, despite of the obvious lack of budget, resources, and manpower allocated for the projects, Mary cannot easily stop her project since it is one of the best ways in ...
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