Ethics Among Social Workers and Attorneys

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Elder Law Presentation to Social Workers

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Ethics Among Social Workers and Attorneys

  1. 1. Ethics Among Social Workers and Attorneys Staying in our Respective Corners Presented by February 5, 2013 Dana B. Perry Leah McElmoyl Sally Brewer Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. Liberty Tower l 605 Chestnut Street, Suite 1700 l Chattanooga, TN 37450© 2013 Chambliss, Bahner & cbslawfirm.comStophel, P.C. All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. Statistics• According to the U.S. Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social work is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. 1• Between 2011 and 2030, the number of elderly in this country will nearly double from 40.4 million to 70.3 million. As a result, there is a growing need 2 for specialized care and services to address aging- related issues.1- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. http://www.bls.gov/ oco/ocos060.htm2- U.S. Bureau of Census. 2
  3. 3. DefinitionEthics refers to therules or principles bywhich we judge ordefine the rightnessor wrongness ofhuman conduct. "To educate a person in mind but not morals is to educate a menace to society" Theodore Roosevelt 3
  4. 4. Differences Social Workers and Lawyers• Social Workers: – Trained to fully understand the context of problems before identifying plan or treatment – Client(s) may be the entire family and other persons who have major roles in clients life – Solve problems based on total circumstances, not just clients wishes – Not licensed to advise as to legal matters• Lawyers: – Traditionally trained in problem solving or problem prevention – Individual clients – Advocate for the express wishes of client, regardless of attorneys personal opinion of those wishes – Licensed to advise as to legal matters – Not licensed as social workers 4
  5. 5. Primary Mission NASW Code of Ethics• Enhance well-being and meet basic needs, with attention to empowerment to the vulnerable, oppressed and living-in- poverty.• Core Values: Service; social justice; dignity and worth; importance of human relationships; integrity; competence. 5
  6. 6. Ethical Responsibility to Clients• Many ethical duties are similar among both lawyers and social workers• NASW code of ethics rules to be covered: – Competence [Rule 1.04] – Privacy and Confidentiality [Rule 1.07] 6
  7. 7. FACT SITUATION # 1A seasoned Case Manager, who goes to church withone of your patients, would like an update from youon that patients prognosis. You actually know thisprofessional from the monthly Case Managermeetings you attend.What do you do as the Case Manager? 7
  8. 8. Privacy and Confidentiality NASW Ethics Rule 1.07• Respect clients right to privacy• Social Worker may disclose confidential information when appropriate with valid consent from a client• Protect confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of service except for compelling professional reasons 8
  9. 9. FACT SITUATION # 2One of your patients has just received notice that his son hasfiled a Petition for Conservatorship asking that the Judgeappoint the son as Conservator over the patient and hisproperty. The patient is behaving very erratically and seemsvery unstable. He vows to have his son killed and to sendsomeone over to the Judges house to "take care of him." Thepatient also tells you that he has lots of "old prison buddies"who would be happy to help him out.What do you do as his Social Worker? 9
  10. 10. Privacy and Confidentiality NASW Ethics Rule 1.07• Disclosure may be necessary to prevent serious, foreseeable and imminent harm to client or other identifiable person – When is harm imminent? • Imminent: likely to occur at any moment; impending1• Laws may require disclosure without consent – Example: Social Worker is required by law to report child abuse1 - imminent. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved February 01, 2013, from Dictionary.com website:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/imminent 10
  11. 11. FACT SITUATION # 3Your client needs nursing home placement but is worried aboutthe State taking her home away. She says that a neighbor was inthe same situation and they expeditiously deeded their home tothe children prior to a Medicaid application. Your client wants toknow what you advise.What do you do as her Social Worker? 11
  12. 12. Competence NASW Ethics Rule 1.04• Social Workers should provide services and represent themselves as competent only within the boundaries of education, training and certification• Be careful not to give advice in the legal realm that may appear as practicing law without a license 12
  13. 13. The Practice of Law• A non-lawyer generally cannot: – Provide legal advice – Select legal documents on behalf of another person – Prepare legal documents – Interpret the law as it applies to anothers situation – Represent another person in any legal matter 13
  14. 14. When to Contact an Attorney? 14
  15. 15. Expertise of Elder Law Attorneys• Estate Planning and Probate• Estate and Gift Tax Planning• Guardianship/Conservatorship• Medicaid/Medicare• Entitlement Programs• Long-Term Care Financing• Disability Planning• Insurance 15
  16. 16. Questions? Dana B. Perry, CELA dperry@cbslawfirm.com (423) 757-0228 Leah McElmoyl, Attorney lmcelmoyl@cbslawfirm.com (423) 757-0294Sally Brewer, Care Coordinator sbrewer@cbslawfirm.com (423) 321-0357 16
  17. 17. Dana PerryDana Perry focuses her practice on estate planning, elder law andspecial needs trust planning. – Certified as an Elder Law Specialist (CELA) by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization – Licensed to practice in Tennessee and Georgia – Accredited Attorney, Department of Veterans Affairs – Listed in The Best Lawyers in America for elder law and trusts and estates – Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review RatedDana received her BA from the University of the South(Sewanee), and her law degree from Vanderbilt University. 17
  18. 18. Leah McElmoylLeah McElmoyl is a member of the firms business and estateplanning groups. – Senior Editor of the Alabama Law Review – Licensed to practice in Tennessee and Alabama – Member of the Chattanooga Tax PractitionersLeah received her BS in Agricultural Business and Economicsfrom Auburn University, and her law degree from TheUniversity of Alabama School of Law. 18
  19. 19. Sally BrewerSally is the Care Coordinator for the Elder Law team ofChambliss, Bahner & Stophel, assisting with dementiaconsultation, placement and public benefits attainment. – Qualified Dementia Care Specialist – 20+ years experience in the Aging Industry – Facilitator for the local Alzheimers support group of Catoosa, Dade and Walker Counties – Alzheimers Advocate and Educator – Member of the SETN Veterans Coalition and the TN Society of Health Care Social WorkersSally received her BS from Missouri State University. 19
  20. 20. DisclaimerThis presentation is provided with the understanding that thepresenters are not rendering legal advice or services. Laws areconstantly changing, and each federal law, state law, andregulation should be checked by legal counsel for the mostcurrent version. We make no claims, promises, or guaranteesabout the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of theinformation contained in this presentation. Do not act upon thisinformation without seeking the advice of an attorney.This outline is intended to be informational. It does not providelegal advice. Neither your attendance nor the presentersanswering a specific audience member question creates anattorney-client relationship. 20

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