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Experts recommend ethics code for social work sector

Update: November, 13/2015 - 09:47
Disabled children at the Que Huong Centre in Binh Duong Province. A code of ethics for social workers is necessary to promote professional conduct and prevent violations against the disadvantaged. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — A code of ethics for social workers is necessary to promote professional conduct and prevent violations against the disadvantaged, experts said at a workshop held last weekend in HCM City.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs plans to draft a code of ethics early next year for the social work profession and will submit it to the government for approval.

In recent months, caregivers at Linh Xuan Welfare Centre in the city's Thu Duc District were caught on camera beating children by visiting newspaper reporters.

Lawyer Thich An Dat, secretary of Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha's project Sang Kien Lanh Dao Phat Giao (Buddhist Leadership Initiative), said the rights of children and other disadvantaged people at social welfare centres had not been ensured.

He told Viet Nam News that many employees for social welfare centres throughout the country had poor professional knowledge and skills in the social work field.

"Their poor capacity has led to behaviour which violates the rights of children at these centres," Dat said.

HCM City has 30 Buddhist welfare centres for 2,500 children.

The city's Buddhist Sangha recently issued its own set of regulations including a code of ethics, to ensure the rights of children.

Le Chi An, deputy head of the HCM City Professional Social Work Club, said such violations had occurred because of the absence of a code of ethics in the country.

The country has a large number of social welfare centres under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. However, many of the workers at these centres had not been trained professionally, An said.

Recently, the government provided short-term training courses for staff and managers of these centres to improve their administrative capacity and knowledge about the field.

Doan Thi Ngoc, lecturer on social work and gender at Open University, said that social workers in the country needed a code of ethics.

Many universities in the country use as reference the codes of ethics of the US and other countries.

Viet Nam has 40 schools with a social work faculty. An said the number was too high to ensure training quality.

Many of them do not have a sufficient number of highly qualified lecturers, curricula and facilities, he said. — VNS

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