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The Ethics Curriculum

Children's Issues (Ethics 9)

Learn about your legal and ethical responsibilities when working with vulnerable children.

Program Description

Child abuse and neglect result in five deaths every day in the United States. Against the feudal backdrop of children as quasi-property, there is always a tension between the rights of a child and the rights of parents. All states have laws guiding child protection and child welfare interventions. These laws override confidentiality. In cases of abuse, therapists (as mandated reporters) must notify child welfare, which often triggers removal of the child from the family.
The sheer numbers of children in foster care show there are situations where the biological parent can never become an available or safe parent. However, children need permanence. They need stability and a sense of belonging to a family, so there are times when family ties are severed. This program covers the topics of mandated reporting, confidentiality with children, and severing family ties.

Learning Objectives

This program provides clinicians with the opportunity to:

Learn how to comply with our legal duties as mental health professionals and mandated reporters.

Review confidentiality laws and reporting of suspected abuse and neglect to designated legal authorities.

Learn about recordkeeping in situations of reporting abuse.

Understand how reports of abuse are handled by authorities.

Learn how family ties are severed, the implications, and the responsibility of the mental health practitioner in these situations.

Recognize the complexities of confidentiality with minors.


Children’s Confidentiality Rights - Frederic Reamer, Ph.D. website

Ethical codes are not typically written with minor clients in mind, especially when these children are in foster care. Do our ethical standards of confidentiality change when we’re working with children? Dr. Frederic Reamer answers this question.

Implementation of Mandated Reporting - Kendall Marlowe , MA

What actually happens to a child when a mandated reporter submits a report? How safe is that child? Kendall Marlowe, Director of Communications for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and a foster parent himself, discusses how mandated reporting gets implemented.

Mandated Reporting - Helene M. Snyder, J.D.

Specific legal duties are imposed on mental health professionals regarding the reporting of suspected abuse and neglect of children. Helene Snyder discusses these requirements and explains how these laws override confidentiality, so one must report incidents of suspected child abuse to designated authorities. She also discusses recordkeeping.

Severing Family Ties - Anita Weinberg, JD. MSW

Forever severing a parent’s legal ties to his or her own child is a drastic move and one that is never taken lightly. Anita Weinberg discusses the ethical responsibility and allegiance of the therapist in freeing children for adoption.

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Client Testimonials

"These programs are excellent for people who can't attend conferences to earn CE credits"

... Julee H.

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