Ethical Standard of the Month:
1.05 Cultural Awareness and Social Diversity

Revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics related to Standard 1.05 included a change to the title from “Cultural Competence and Social Diversity” to “Cultural Awareness and Social Diversity.” 

The rationale for this change was based on literature and the ongoing discussion about whether it is realistic that social workers become competent in all cultures. It was determined that a more realistic expectation is that social workers continuously seek knowledge and improve their skills and ability to meet the needs of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Another change focuses on social workers’ need to recognize that not all clients can afford technology and should take this into account when determining the best options for service delivery.


Social workers should assess cultural, environmental, economic, mental or physical ability, linguistic, and other issues that may affect the delivery or use of electronic social work services. (1.05d)