(a)  Social workers shall not misuse their professional relationships sexually, financially or for any other personal advantage.  They shall maintain this standard of conduct toward all who are professionally associated with them such as clients, colleagues, supervisees, employees, students and research participants.

(b)  Social workers shall inform clients of the extent and nature of services available to them as well as the limits, rights, opportunities and obligations associated with service which might affect the client’s decision to enter into or continue the relationship.

(c)  Social workers shall obtain consent (agreement to participate in social work intervention) from all clients or their legally authorized representative except when laws require intervention to insure client's and community's safety and protection.

(d)  Social workers shall terminate a professional relationship with a client when, after careful evaluation and assessment, it is determined that the client is not likely to benefit from continued services or the services are no longer needed.  The social worker who anticipates the termination or interruption of services shall give reasonable notice to the client.  The social worker shall provide referrals as needed or upon the request of the client.  A social worker shall not terminate a professional relationship for the purpose of beginning a personal or business relationship with a client.

(e)  Social workers shall respect the integrity, protect the welfare, and maximize self-determination of clients they serve.  They shall avoid entering treatment relationships in which their professional judgment will be compromised by the prior association with or knowledge of a client.  Examples include treatment of one's family members; close friends; associates; employees; or others whose welfare could be jeopardized by such a dual relationship.

(f)  Social workers shall not initiate, and shall avoid when possible, personal relationships or dual roles with current clients, or with any former clients whose feelings toward them may still be derived from or influenced by the former professional relationship.  When a social worker may not avoid a personal relationship with a client, the social worker shall take appropriate precautions, such as documented discussion with the client about the relationship, consultation or supervision to ensure that the social worker's objectivity and professional judgment are not impaired.  In instances when dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable, social workers shall set clear and culturally sensitive boundaries.

(g)  Social workers shall not engage in sexual activities with clients or former clients.

(h)  Social workers shall be solely responsible for acting in accordance with G.S. 90B and these Rules in regard to relationships with clients or former clients.  A client's or former client's initiation of a personal, sexual or business relationship shall not be a defense by the social worker for failing to act in accordance with G.S. 90B and these Rules.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 90B-6; 90B-11;

Eff. March 1, 1994;

Amended Eff. April 1, 2001;

Pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A, rule is necessary without substantive public interest Eff. September 19, 2015.