Ethics Literature

Find ethics publications from NASW and other sources.

NASW Press Publications

NASW Press logo

NASW Press is a leading scholarly press in the social sciences. It serves faculty, practitioners, agencies, libraries, clinicians, and researchers throughout the United States and abroad. 

Known for attracting expert authors, the NASW Press produces scholarly journals, books, and reference works.

Code of Ethics

NASW Code of Ethics

National Association of Social Workers
The NASW Code of Ethics is a set of standards that guide the professional conduct of social workers. The 2017 revision includes 19 new changes that address ethical responsibilities when using technology. All social workers should review the new text and affirm their commitment to abide by the Code of Ethics.

Social Work Ethics Casebook cover

The Social Work Ethics Casebook: Cases and Commentary

Frederic G. Reamer
Following a revision of the NASW Code of Ethics that went into effect January 2018, this edition includes extensive discussion of new and updated ethics standards, especially pertaining to social workers’ use of digital and other technology to deliver services, communicate with clients, manage and store information, and provide information to the public.

cover of Reproductive Decision Making

Reproductive Decision Making

Melissa M. Bell and Sherie L. Edenborn
This brief guide provides RDM tools and strategies for busy social workers. Grounded in social cognitive theory and the theory of planned behavior, this publication uses case examples based on real-world research and situations to connect readers with the material, emphasizing patient-centered approaches that prioritize client self-determination. By filling an important gap in available resources for practitioners, this book will improve social workers’ confidence in providing RDM guidance and advocacy.

Ethical Standards in Social Work cover

Ethical Standards in Social Work: A Review of the NASW Code of Ethics

Frederic G. Reamer
This publication offers the social work profession the only in-depth analysis of the NASW Code of Ethics. This practical guide is designed to help social workers make sound ethical decisions and minimize the risk of professional malpractice and disciplinary action.

Social Work Speaks cover

Social Work Speaks: NASW Policy Statements

This edition includes 24 updated policy statements on topics ranging from human trafficking and transgender and gender nonconforming people to immigrants and refugees. Social Work Speaks is a reference tool that represents the collective thinking of thousands of social workers across all fields of practice. This user-friendly resource can assist in developing organizational responses to policy issues, conducting policy analysis, and working in advocacy coalitions.

Current Controversies in Social Work Ethics

This publication presents a cross-section of real examples of ethics dilemmas faced by social workers in contemporary practice. A companion work to the NASW Code of Ethics, this practical handbook offers commentaries of related considerations and implications that help the reader untangle competing values associated with ethical decision-making.


NASW Code of Ethics and State Licensing Laws

The NASW Code of Ethics was developed by social workers for the social work profession with the interests of the public in mind. For states with composite or “multi-disciplinary” licensing boards, inclusion of the NASW Code of Ethics assists licensing board members to clarify the unique standards applied to social work licensees. Inclusion of the NASW Code in specific practice areas also assists in the recognition of social workers’ unique role among other professionals, such as in the school setting, hospice or specialty clinics.

Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)

ASWB provides support and services to the social work regulatory community to advance safe, competent, and ethical practices to strengthen public protection.

Other NASW Publications

Encyclopedia of Social Work

This edition of the Encyclopedia covers topics that include demographic changes resulting from immigration, technology, the implications of managed care, faith-based assistance, evidence-based practice, gerontology, and trauma and disaster.

The Social Work Dictionary

This publication is used by those who write licensing examination questions and those who conduct license preparation courses. It is the foundational communications tool in undergraduate and graduate courses as well as continuing education programs. 

Are Ethics and Contemporary Social Work Practice Compatible?

During this information-packed 3-hour presentation, learn from social workers from a variety of practice settings and viewpoints as they tackle some of the most compelling ethical issues facing contemporary social work practice. Learn how the NASW Code of Ethics can guide social workers in today’s tumultuous and litigious practice environment.

Professional Choices: Ethics at Work

In this video, social work practitioners, educators, and administrators discuss ethical social work practice. Case scenarios highlight the difficulties in judging between sound ethical practice and professional misconduct as participants talk candidly about the ethical issues that can arise in day-to-day practice.