To further complicate the matter, the social worker will be impacting, potentially, the ability for Mr. Gerden to have access to his child based on the level of authority that the probation system has on the client. The social worker in this case must balance the ethical dilemma of conflict of interest and ethical disclosure versus legal system authority over client lifestyle. This is a systems versus systems scenario in which the social worker must consider community needs with individual needs in order to determine his or her responsibility related to group privacy and disclosure ethics.Kidder (1995) suggests that placing community needs ahead of individual needs should be a primary ethical consideration. One of the central ethical dilemmas in human experience is weighing individual rights against community interests (Kidder, 1995, p.28). Community in this context is representative of each individual within the group and their involvement with broader society and the interests of the probationary system as the community representative. There are certain legal rights that are held by the court system that supersede rights protection based on absolute authority versus moral and ethical authority. The NASW Code of Ethics acts as a moral foundation by which to structure and facilitate practice, however, it is not a binding contract in comparison to well-established codes of justice in the court system. The social worker must recognize that community needs are paramount in most issues, especially in relation to the impact that a child on the foster system places on local budgets and labor support.However, this does not mean that the social worker should negate the principles behind the NASW Code of Ethics. Gewirth (1996) produced what is referred to as the Principle of Generic Consistency that recognizes agents must accept rationally that others in the community have the same positive rights as those claimed for himself. One must, therefore act in accord with the generic rights of your recipients as well as yourself (Gewirth, 1996, p.19).
Defining the Ethical Problem and Relevant Research in Ethics