Managing a Legal and Ethical Social Work Practice


The inquiry into the 1976 death of baby Kim Anne Popen discovered negligence on the part of the attending social worker. One important recommendation was that legislation should be enacted making social workers legally accountable for their professional actions.

In 1997, a five-week-old baby died as a result of lack of appropriate care. What was most unusual was that the social worker assigned to the case was charged with criminal negligence causing death. This case again brought home the importance of social work accountability both to protect the public and to assess the adequacy of service provided by the worker.

In this climate the Government of Ontario introduced the Social Work and Social Service Work Act in 1998. The Act came into full effect in 2000. Among other things, the Act creates a new College to regulate the activities of social workers and social service workers in the province of Ontario. Social Work has now been given a long-awaited opportunity to legitimize itself as a true profession.

The purpose of this book is to help registered social workers and social service workers understand the new legislation and the effect that regulation by the College will have on their day-to-day professional lives. It provides a step-by-step guide to the Act with practical information including examples, precedents, and forms which guide the social worker in meeting the requirements of the new legislation.

This book is unique in the fact that it is co-authored by a social worker and a lawyer, making it both relevant and easily applicable while addressing the legal issues that social workers should be aware of as they practice within the framework of a regulated profession.

The new legislation has the potential to put the social worker in a tenuous position -- social workers are now liable and able to be held publicly and professionally accountable for the first time. This book is designed to help social workers understand and apply the rules and regulations that come from being a member of a self-regulated profession.

While the book uses the Ontario legislation as its framework, it is of equal relevance to social workers practicing across Canada under strikingly similar legislation.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Francis Turner
Chapter 1: Overview: The Legislation and its Impact
Chapter 2: The Role of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
Chapter 3: Registration with the College
Chapter 4: The Complaints Process
Chapter 5: Disciplinary Proceedings
Chapter 6: Incapacity and Fitness to Practise
Chapter 7: Investigations and Appeals
Chapter 8: Professional Misconduct
Chapter 9: Confidentiality
Chapter 10: Record Keeping
Chapter 11: Fees
Chapter 12: Sexual Misconduct
Chapter 13: Mandatory Reporting
Chapter 14: Malpractice and Other Sources of Civil and Criminal Liability
Chapter 15: Risky Aspects of Practice
Chapter 16: Malpractice Avoidance and Insurance
Chapter 17: A Look At the Other Provinces
Chapter 18: Final Thoughts
Chapter 19: Sample Forms and Agreements
Table of Cases

Of interest...