The Evolution of Social Work Ethics: Bearing Witness

  • Frederic G. Reamer Rhode Island College
Keywords: Ethical standards, ethics, professional ethics, values


The evolution of ethical standards in social work, and conceptual frameworks for examining ethical issues, is among the most compelling developments in the history of the profession. Since the formal inauguration of social work in the late nineteenth century, the profession has moved from relatively simplistic and moralistic perspectives to conceptually rich analyses of ethical issues and ethical guidelines. This article examines the evolution of social work ethics from the profession's earliest days and speculates about future challenges and directions.

Author Biography

Frederic G. Reamer, Rhode Island College
Ph.D., Professor, School of Social Work at Rhode Island College.