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Certain statements made by President-elect Trump during the campaign for the presidency have been at odds with the Code of Ethics (2016) of the Clinical Social Work Association. Cultural competence and social justice are fundamental principles underlying the work clinical social workers do to improve the mental health and daily lives of everyone. Here are key concepts from the CSWA Code of Ethics:
II.5.a) The social work profession has a strong commitment to social justice. As such, clinical social workers shall strive to maintain awareness, knowledge, and skills with regard to cultural competence and its influence on human behavior and society.
II.5.c) Clinical social workers shall seek to become culturally competent and understand the effects of trauma caused by institutional and individual oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.
VI. a) Clinical social workers do not, in any of their capacities, practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, socioeconomic status, or physical or emotional disability.
We believe that without adherence to these principles, our country will remain divided and polarized. Economic prosperity alone cannot overcome beliefs that condemn or reject some citizens based on ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or other differences.
CSWA will continue to take an active role in support of legislation that would benefit the mental health community through our participation in the Mental Health Liaison Group and our advocacy on the Hill. We will continue to work with members of Congress on legislation that affects our patients and clinical social work practice.
CSWA urges all clinical social workers to participate in a broad grass roots effort to make the President-elect aware of our views. We need to let Mr. Trump know that we expect him to respect and protect the freedoms and rights of all Americans. Here is some suggested language, but we encourage everyone to express what is most important to them:
“I am a licensed clinical social worker in [your state]. I am concerned about troubling comments made by Mr. Trump during the campaign based on ethnicity, race, and religion. Our professional Code of Ethics does not condone any discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, socioeconomic status, or physical or emotional disability. I ask that your transition team develop policies that include respect for all our citizens as guaranteed by our Constitution. [Name, Title, Address, Email Address]”
Visit his transition team website and tell him your concerns. The stronger the grassroots presence we establish now, the better we will be better able to confront problems as they arise.
CSWA would like to hear from all clinical social workers who send a message to the transition team. Please contact Laura Groshong, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice, firstname.lastname@example.org or Margot Aronson, CSWA Deputy Director of Policy and Practice, at email@example.com when you have sent your message.
PO Box 10, Garrisonville, Virginia 22463 | 202-203-9350 | firstname.lastname@example.org