It would be quite possible to analyse all the social work practice we have described in this book in terms of rights, risks and social workers’ good judgement. In Chapter 8, we saw how Trish tried to ensure that Stella was not exploited financially whilst giving her as much control over her money as possible; Chapter 3 described Rachel’s work with Michael, in which she slowly and carefully worked with him to introduce support on his own terms, allowing him to make the decisions. Maya, in Chapter 7, had to negotiate with Bill about accepting some support so that he could achieve his main aim of getting home as quickly as possible. The imperative to promote a client’s rights and autonomy and yet to try to ensure that they do not come to harm is at the heart of what social workers do. It is built into our professional standards and ethics (The College of Social Work 2013; Health & Care Professionals Council, 2012) and woven into the fabric of day-to-day practice.
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