Eye on Ethics: Saying 'I'm Sorry': Social Workers' Error Management

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


One sad reality of social work practice is that practitioners sometimes encounter crises when they err and when clients and former clients accuse them of wrongdoing. Too often I’ve consulted on litigation and licensing board cases where unhappy clients and former clients claim, for example, that social workers violated boundaries, mismanaged confidential information, improperly terminated services, provided poor service, or engaged in a conflict of interest. The good news is that it’s relatively rare for social workers to be named in formal complaints. The bad news is that this happens too often.