Sophie Miles

Week 5: Ethics

Imagine you are a human services professional for a child welfare program. You are working on a case involving a single mother who is suspected of substance abuse. You happen to know the mother personally and have always believed her to be a kind and loving person. Her children, if put into foster care, would likely be separated, put into different school systems, and live in much poorer conditions. How would you handle this situation?

Ethical dilemmas like this are very common in the human services field. This week, you will analyze ethical issues related to working with at-risk populations for human services delivery. You will also consider the existing codes of ethics created by human services professional organizations to guide actions and help alleviate the pressure of ethical decisions. Your evaluation plan for a homeless population which you developed for your Final Project is due this week.


By the end of this week, you should be able to:

· Analyze ethical concerns when working with at-risk populations

· Create an evaluation plan for human services for homeless populations


Learning Resources

Required Readings

Kettner, P. M., Moroney, R. M., & Martin, L. L. (2017). Designing and managing programs: An effectiveness-based approach (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

· Chapter 8, “Designing Effective Programs

· Chapter 9, “Designing Effectiveness-Based Information Systems” (pp. 161–181)


Holosko, M. J., Thyer, B. A., & Danner, J. E. H. (2009). Ethical guidelines for designing and conducting evaluations of social work practice. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 6(4), 348-360.



Martin, J. I., & Meezan, W. (2003). Applying ethical standards to research and evaluations involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 15(1/2), 181–201.



Ray, M. (2006). Choosing a truly external evaluator. American Journal of Evaluation, 27(3), 372–377.



Blustein, J. (2005). Toward a more public discussion of the ethics of federal social program evaluation. Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, 24(4), 824–846.



National Organization for Human Services. (2009). Ethical standards for human service professionals.Retrieved from




Discussion: Ethical Concerns

In the human services field, ethical concerns and dilemmas are very common. Human services professionals interact with a diverse clientele; therefore, they must be aware of a variety of issues including multicultural differences, consent and confidentiality procedures, appropriate relationship boundaries, and conflicts of interest. For each of these considerations and issues, there are related ethical considerations when working with every population. Ethical concerns and considerations are escalated when the target population (clients) for a program is considered at risk or vulnerable in any way. It is the responsibility of human services professionals to protect, inform, and otherwise respect their clients.

Because of the importance of addressing ethical concerns, the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and other professional organizations have developed comprehensive codes of ethics. In this Discussion, you will explore ethical issues that may arise in the human services field, and you will consider how the NOHS code of ethics can help to guide the actions of human services professionals experiencing ethical dilemmas.

To prepare for this Discussion:  

· Review the selected readings in your course text, focusing on the types of information that might be gathered for measuring needs. Reflect on the potential ethical issues that could arise when gathering information from at-risk populations and how you can guard against unethical behavior or processes.

· Review the article “Ethical Guidelines for Designing and Conducting Evaluations of Social Work Practice,” focusing on the difference between social science research activities and evaluations of social work practice. Think about the important role of human services professionals in designing ethical programs that not only assist clients but also protect them from unethical practices.

· Review the article “Applying Ethical Standards to Research and Evaluations Involving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations.” Think about how the population you are working with influences what is considered to be ethical.

· Review the article “Choosing a Truly External Evaluator,” focusing on the responsibility of the social service professional to ensure ethical behavior from all parties involved in a program.

· Review the article “Toward a More Public Discussion of the Ethics of Federal Social Program Evaluation.” Consider the potential consequences of failing to outline specific ethical standards.

· Review the information found on the NOHS website. Think about the importance of having such detailed standards and how you could use them in decision making.

· Select an at-risk population that is of interest to you. Reflect on the types of ethical decisions you might face when working with members of this population.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

Post a brief description of the at-risk population you selected. Then explain at least two ethical concerns you should be aware of when working with this population. Finally, explain how you might address these concerns. Justify your response using the NOHS code of ethics.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.


Final Project

For your Final Project, you will apply the skills and approaches to program design and evaluation for human services programs to the homeless population in your community. If you are fortunate enough to live in a community where there is not a pressing homelessness problem, then select a community in a major city near your community, or one with which you are familiar.

First, throughout the course you address the issue of homelessness by analyzing a single case study in your Discussions and Assignments:

· In the Week 1 Discussion, you describe the motivation for the program in the case study and examine whether the program meets the needs of clients.

· In the Week 2 Discussion, you identify the types of needs of the homeless and explain how the identification of those needs might influence responses to homelessness in the case study.

· In the Week 2 Assignment, you explain how perceptions of the needs of the homeless may be different than their real needs, and also consider why it is important to understand the accurate needs of the population.

· In the Week 3 Assignment, you develop a needs assessment for the case study.

· In the Week 4 Discussion, you consider evaluative tools to measure the effectiveness of human services delivery in the case study.

· In the Week 4 Assignment, you use a “logic model” to develop a program design and evaluation.

While the Discussion Questions and Assignments are not meant to provide you with the content of your Final Project, they are meant to provide you with an opportunity to practice each piece of a successful Program Design and Evaluation Narrative to address the social problem of homelessness in your community. There is no specific template for a Program Design and Evaluation Narrative, but you should use the guidelines below to craft a single document package that addresses all of the elements of program design and evaluation covered in this course.

With this in mind, to successfully complete this Final Project you must:

Reflect on the program design and evaluation concepts and practices discussed throughout the course to complete a Program Design and Evaluation Narrative for the homeless population in your community. You should incorporate the feedback you received from your Instructor on the Assignments to refine and revise your Final Project before submitting it to your Instructor.

As you finalize your Program Design and Evaluation Narrative, please do not cut and paste from each week’s separate components. The Assignment is to write an actual narrative that could potentially serve the homeless population in your specific community. Your narrative should be edited, seamless, and pertain to the homeless population in your community—not that of the case study.

Your Program Design and Evaluation Narrative should include the logic model in chart form. The Final Project should be double spaced and APA formatted, use appropriate grammar and spelling, and include citations from the Learning Resources from the course as well as from your own research for the Final Project. Your Program Design and Evaluation Narrativemust include the following components:

· A description of your community, including background and demographic information on the homeless population in your community

· A description of the currently available human services programs offered for the homeless population in your community

· A description of the needs assessment you would implement to understand the motivations and needs of the homeless population in your community (include questions you might ask as part of this assessment) and to understand the effectiveness of the services offered (if more than one, then select one to use for this project)

· An outline of the data collection procedure you might use

· Explain whether the answers to the questions you created would elicit quantitative or qualitative results.

· Explain how the answers to these questions would inform an evaluation of the program.

· The motivations and normative, expressed, perceived, and relative needs of the homeless population in your community (use newspapers written by the homeless where possible)

· A logic model and evaluation strategies to deal with the homelessness problem in your community

· An explanation of the mission, goals, outcomes, and purpose of the program you would implement

· An explanation of how the program you designed would address social change in the community

Note: As you write the narrative, think about how your ideas evolved throughout the course: What have you learned about identifying needs and creating effective programs and program evaluations?  Using your Discussion and Assignment responses as a launching point, your narrative should include the motivations, needs, needs assessment, mission, goals, outcomes, purpose, logic model, and evaluation strategies to deal with the homelessness problem in your community. 

The Final Project will be evaluated according to the indicators in the Final Project and Writing Rubric located in the Course Information area. Be sure that the Final Project is written using APA format.

Information on scholarly writing may be found in the APA Publication Manual, and at the  Walden Writing Center  website. Also see the Walden University Policies and Information in the Guidelines and Policies area under “Policies on Academic Honesty.”

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