Ethical Standard of the Month:
1.04 Competence

Changes to section 1.04 of the NASW Code of Ethics largely focus on social workers’ competency as it relates to using technology and embarking on the use of new forms of technology. 

Competence-related ethical practice has always emphasized that social workers pursue the necessary knowledge, training, certification, licensure, and experience prior to providing professional service. The recent revisions call out this expectation specifically as it relates to the use of technology. 

Two additional standards (1.04d and e) were added to ensure that technology-related competence concerns are specified.


  • Social workers who use technology in the provision of services should ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide such services. (1.04d)
  • Social workers who use technology should ensure that they are complying with the laws governing technology and social work practice in the jurisdiction in which they are regulated and located as well as the jurisdiction in which the client is located (1.04e)