Ethical Decision Scenario Worksheet
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Shannon is a juvenile probation officer with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Recently, she covered her coworker, Janet’s client load, while Janet was on vacation.
Shannon met with several of Janet’s clients. After meeting with clients, she discovered a pattern in which the clients would report that they have not seen Janet in 2 to 3 months. However, the case files reflected face-to-face contact with all of her clients, despite what her clients stated. When Shannon investigated further, she found that the client notes were all at the same day and time, which is unlikely. Further, several of Janet’s clients needed referrals for counseling, but Janet never completed them and has not followed up to ensure her clients are receiving the necessary services.
Janet is a close friend of Shannon. Shannon does not want to get Janet in trouble but realizes something must be done.
Answer, in a 75- to 100-word response, each of the following questions:
1. What are the ethical issues involved in the scenario?
Janet was falsifying paper work to make it appear that she was seeing clients when in fact she was not. Not only were clients telling Shannon it had been months since they had seen her but it was apparent in the way that the information for each client was entered at the same time on the same day. Also she was not referring clients as they needed to be referred or following up on clients to ensure they are receiving the services they need.
2. What client rights are involved in the scenario?
The clients right to privacy was violated by another case worker obtaining their files, even though in this case it may have been a good thing seeing as the false information came to light. They also used their right to share information to let Shannon know it had been months since seeing Janet. Their right to informed consent plays a role because they were not given access to their files and therefore were unable to know that their information was being falsified.
3. What, if any, client rights were violated?
Their right to privacy was violated by Shannon reading their files, even though in this case it was a good thing due to the discrepancies being found by Shannon. If they were upset by this they could have easily taken action for the violation of this right. Also, their right to informed consent was violated because they were not given access to their files in order to keep them from seeing the discrepancy. Some of the clients were not given the right for treatment due to Janet not referring them as she was supposed to do.
4. How you would use the ethical decision-making model to address or resolve the situation? The first step has been completed by identifying the problems in each clients case. After the problem is identified Shannon should consult with her supervisor in order to get their perspective with the issue. Also in the case that another case worker has violated the rights of clients a supervisor should be brought in. Shannon should meet with each client affected by this situation and together they should explore options and steps that can be taken to correct the situation and get their cases back on track. Finally, together Shannon and the client should choose the best course of action and put it into action.