About the Code of Ethics

On August 4, 2017, the NASW Delegate Assembly approved the most substantive revision to the NASW Code of Ethics since 1996.

With emergent technological advances over the last two decades, the profession could not ignore the necessity for more clarity around the complex ethical issues that arise with the use of various forms of technology. The NASW Code of Ethics contains 19 new standards and revisions to several longstanding standards developed to address ethical considerations when using technology. The NASW Code of Ethics continues to be the most accepted standard for social work ethical practice worldwide.

The NASW Code of Ethics offers a set of values, principles and standards to guide decision-making and everyday professional conduct of social workers. It is relevant to all social workers and social work students regardless of their specific functions or settings.


History of the NASW Code of Ethics


NASW’s Delegate Assembly approved the first edition of the NASW Code of Ethics on October 13, 1960. Since then, the Code has emerged as the standard bearer for defining the values and principles that guide social workers’ conduct in all practice areas.

The Code of Ethics after 55 years remains the principal tool in making a difference in a client’s life. It empowers us with the strength to advocate for the oppressed and emboldens us with the courage to speak for the voiceless. Sherry Saturno, LCSW, DCSW
The Code of Ethics has been that guide and reinforcement for me that if I follow it then, yes I am doing what I am called to do as a social worker and doing it in a manner that it was intended. Tricia Cubitt, LCSW
Each day I strive to be a better person because of the Code of Ethics. I continuously am doing community service because I believe it makes the world a better place one step at a time. Baliegh Jene Cannistraci, BSW
Code of Ethics, 2018

About the Updated Code of Ethics


Buy the newly updated Code of Ethics from NASW Press  


Code of Ethics Training

Official NASW Training on the 2017 Revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics Training will be offered on October 25, 2017, 2-4 pm (ET).

Free for all social workers. CEUs also available.