The Relevance of the Code of Ethics of Social Work in Professional Everyday Life in Youth Services and Child Protection Systems in Hungary and Germany

Alexandra Geisler, Marco Wille, Timea Bagdi

Alexandra Geisler is acting professor of applied social pedagogy at the FHD University of Applied Sciences Dresden and a graduated social worker (MA).

Marco Wille has a master’s degree in social work as a human rights profession as well as head of a residential child and youth welfare facility.

Timea Bagdi is a lecturer at John Wesley Theological College, Budapest and graduate social worker as deputy head of a homeless shelter.

OBJECTIVES: The authors focused on professional ethics in social work, exploring key issues (codes of ethics, dilemmas, ethical decision-making, abuse of power and regulation of conduct) in the child and youth welfare practice and child protection systems in Hungary and Germany. THEORETICAL BASE: The international code of ethics from the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) provides the theoretical framework as well as the child protection laws in both countries. METHODS: Standardized online survey carried out among professionals in the system of child and youth service in Hungary and Germany. The completed data set of the questionnaire amount to 122 in total (Germany N=89, Hungary N=33 from Hungary). OUTCOMES: The ethical framework of the profession is mostly known, but conditions in the field must be improved such that acting in accordance with professional ethics is possible. The results of the study show that in everyday practice violations of professional morality occur. Especially the results regarding violence and abuse towards clients are particularly worrying. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Professional action in social work requires both: awareness of moral norms, standards and values on the one hand, and the ability to ethical reflection on the

ethics, social work, codes of ethics, ethical dilemmas, abuse of power, child protection, child/youth welfare system

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