Discussion: working with employees to develop ethical competence and


As an advanced human services professional practitioner, you may be in a position to mentor and coach employees in a variety of different areas, including ethics and cultural humility. Inexperienced practitioners may need guidance on how to navigate challenging ethical dilemmas, including those that arise when there is a conflict between meeting a service user’s needs and adhering to organizational policies or procedures. Practitioners may also need guidance on how to recognize their own biases and be open to cultural differences of service users in the community.

You will assume the role of a supervisor in a human services organization. In this role, you will respond to a case study about an employee who is confronted with an ethical dilemma while trying to provide culturally sensitive assistance to a servicer user. You will determine whether the employee’s behavior is ethical and whether it is reflective of cultural humility. You also will consider how you would respond as a supervisor.

  • Review the Week 6 case study. Keep the case study in mind as you review this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Review the Ethical Standards for Human Services Professionals. With the ethical standards in mind, identify ethical dilemma(s) that are present in the case study. Then, determine if the employee’s behavior is ethical and why or why not.
  • Review the Learning Resources on promoting ethical competence and cultural humility in human services organizations. Think about strategies you could use, as a leader, to help the employee from the case study develop ethical competence and cultural humility. In addition, consider what policies and procedures you might implement to promote ethical competence and cultural humility throughout the organization.
  • Find one article from an academically appropriate source that focuses on supervising employees in human services settings. Use the article to support your response regarding how you would respond to the employee, as her supervisor.

What are the ethical dilemmas in the case? Do you believe the employee’s behavior is ethical? Why or why not?

  • What cultural considerations should the employee keep in mind when working with the service user? Do you believe the employee’s behavior is reflective of cultural humility? Why or why not?
  • As the employee’s supervisor, how would you respond to help the employee develop ethical competence and cultural humility?  

Support your post with specific NOHS ethical standards and at least one article from an academically appropriate source that you found in your own search.




Tanya is an African American 23-year-old single mother of two young boys who are four months and 2 years old. She and her sons have been living in a homeless shelter for the previous three months. She is a good candidate for the transitional housing program because she has a high school diploma and one year of college. She presents herself as an alert, communicative, and competent young woman. There is a history of alcoholism and drug abuse in her family of origin. The father of her boys went to jail for selling drugs and assault before the birth of Tanya’s youngest son. She has not heard from him in six months. They did not live together before she became homeless. Tanya expresses sadness that he has never seen his son. The advanced human services professional practitioner is assigned to assist her through the Hart City Department of Social Services (HCDSS). A two-bedroom apartment is about to become available, and the advanced human services professional practitioner wants to advocate for Tanya and her family. The decision team will meet with Tanya the next day. The day before, the advanced human services professional practitioner and Tanya meet to discuss her chances of getting the apartment. During the meeting, Tanya confides in the advanced human services professional practitioner that she met with the father of her boys “just so he could see his kids. I know we can’t be together.” When the advanced human services professional practitioner tells her that this could harm her chances of getting transitional housing, Tanya asks her to keep it a secret. Without answering directly, the advanced human services professional practitioner says “I will do what I can to get you into the housing.” However, the advanced human services professional practitioner knows that during the decision team meeting, her supervisor will ask if Tanya has had any contact with the father of her children. The agency policy is that in order to receive the housing, the service user should not be involved with anyone who has a criminal background, even the father of her children. The belief is that these relationships could compromise the service user’s ability to become successfully self-sufficient. If the decision team and the advanced human services professional practitioner’s supervisor find out about Tanya’s brief contact, she will automatically be excluded from consideration. If the advanced human services professional practitioner fails to reveal the information, she will be in violation of her agency’s policy, and she could lose her job. She understands that the connection between a father and his children is very important.

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