photoA code of conduct is a hallmark of a profession.  It prescribes behavior of professionals in serving and protecting clientele, colleagues, and the society at large.  The NASW Code of Ethics for the social work profession has been developed through its major professional association, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  Evolving from the first Code (1960) that was a one-page statement of 15 principles to the current Code of 27 pages, NASW has historically defined and refined its Code of Ethics in light of emergent practices and research findings, and through analysis of ethical dilemmas that reached the adjudication sanction processes. The NASW Code of Ethics is developed by a team of experts and ratified by both the Association’s Delegate Assembly and Board of Directors. Licensing bodies in most states require continuing education in ethics (3 CEUs in Illinois) to assure that those licensed not only adhere to defined practice standards, but to ethical conduct as well. Illinois specifically references the NASW Code of Ethics as the ethical standard that must be adhered to by licensees.

Code of Ethics

NASW Code of Ethics was approved by the 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly and revised by the 1999 NASW Delegate Assembly

The NASW Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers. This Code includes four sections. The first Section, "Preamble," summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values. The second section, "Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics," provides an overview of the Code's main functions and a brief guide for dealing with ethical issues or dilemmas in social work practice. The third section, "Ethical Principles," presents broad ethical principles, based on social work's core values, that inform social work practice. The final section, "Ethical Standards," includes specific ethical standards to guide social workers' conduct and to provide a basis for adjudication.

View the Code of Ethics

(english version)     (spanish version)

Chapter Ethics Committee

The Chapter Ethics Committee considers complaints of alleged violations of the NASW Code of Ethics, an employer's personnel standards, or the right of social workers to professional action on behalf of clients. The NASW Code of Ethics applies only to NASW members. If you believe a social work member of NASW is in violation of this Code of Ethics, one of your options is to file a complaint with NASW (see NASW Procedures for Professional Review ).

Contact NASW, Office of Ethics and Professional Review, 800.638.8799, ext. 256, for instructions.

Or contact the NASW-Illinois Chapter Ethics Committee at 312.435.2100, option 5.

Or contact IDFPR Department of Professional Relations at 312.814.4500.

Ethics Education

Did you know? Section 1470.95 of the Illinois Clinical and Social Work Practice Act now states that "at least 3 of the 30 hours must include content related to the ethical practice of social work."

This requirement is effective for the current licensure period ending November 30, 2011.

The NASW-Illinois Chapter is always working on planning future programming.  Please check the upcoming CEU opportunities for new programming.

If your agency is interested in scheduling in-house trainings in the workplace, contact us office [dot] naswil [at] socialworkers [dot] org. 


Monday, June 17, 2019

Clinical Social Work Supervision II - Spring 2019 (DePaul)

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Clinical Social Work Supervision II - Spring 2019 (DePaul)

More Information


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  • 06-17-19

    Clinical Social Work Supervision II - Spring 2019 (DePaul)

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