UC Social Science Ethical Dilemma Case

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There are three case scenarios that provide ethical dilemmas for your review for this paper. Select ONE of the three scenarios for your ethical dilemma paper after reading the three scenarios. You will respond to the case questions following the selected scenario in the paper, and will also apply the steps of ethical decision-making from chapter one in the text to the selected scenario.

The paper is to cover the following sections and adhere to APA 7.0 format, including cover page and reference page. The paper should be 5-7 pages of content, plus title and reference page for a total of 7-9 pages. Be sure to cite information from the textbook both in the form of in-text citations and reference citations. Below are the bolded subheadings for your paper, so be sure to cover each section:


Start with an introductory paragraph that provides a brief overview of the case.

Case Questions

Each case has 5 case questions that follow the scenario. In this second section of your paper, Provide your responses to the five case questions. Please include the number and text of the questions along with your responses. These responses should demonstrate some critical thought on your part.

Scholarly Information

In this section of the paper, locate 2-3 sources of scholarly information about some aspect of this case. Write about what you learn from the scholarly sources in this section of the paper. Be sure to use in-text citations and reference citations.

(The remainder of the paper will come from the steps of ethical decision-making in the text on pages 20-23. Read over each of the sections, and write about the case based on the information posted in the textbook in that section. Be sure to be thorough in your responses and if indicated below, add the additional information indicated).

Step 1: Identify the Problem or Dilemma

(see p. 20-21)

Step 2: Identify the Potential Issues Involved

(see p. 21)

Step 3: Review the Relevant Ethics Codes

(see p. 21 and determine which profession’s ethical code can be referenced in relation to this case)

Step 4: Know the Applicable Laws and Regulations

(see pp. 21-22) In addition to reviewing the material on these pages, for the purpose of your case, review laws that pertain to your own state of residence as well.

Step 5: Obtain Consultation

(see p. 22) In addition to reviewing the material on these pages, for the purpose of this case, talk with another professional in the field and get feedback from that perspective to integrate into your paper.

Step 6: Consider Possible and Probable Courses of Action

(see p. 22)

Step 7: Consider the Possible Consequences of the Various Decisions

(see pp. 22-23)

Step 8: Choose What Appears to Be the Best Course of Action

(see p. 23)


In this section of the paper, write about the biggest challenges for you in discussing this case and choosing your selected course of action. Justify your choice, and discuss how the model of ethical decision-making informed your decision.

The Dilemma:

You are a case manager working with children through a local community mental health agency and have gone to the school to visit with Sarah, age 12. Sarah is a patient that you have been working with for approximately one year. Sarah has a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and has been receiving services due to her display of aggressive behaviors both towards her peers at school as well as school staff.

Sarah was placed in foster care at age 11 following a physical altercation between the patient and her mother. Though Sarah has a temper and is a difficult child to manage at times in terms of behaviors, social services found that Sarah had been physically abused, and she was placed in foster care until her mother could complete her case plan to regain custody. Following parenting classes, anger management, and some outpatient drug abuse treatment, Sarah’s mother was able to regain custody.

During your visit today, Sarah seems distracted and is not engaging in conversation as easily as she normally would. You continued to talk with Sarah and note of the fact that she is wearing a turtleneck sweater in late spring. You mention the sweater to Sarah, and she avoids eye contact and doesn’t answer the question. Sarah then flippantly says that she and her mother “got into it” last night and her mother pushed her down, put her hands around her neck and held her to the bed. Sarah denies any wrongdoing on her part, though in your experience in working with Sarah, you find her to be dishonest at times. She tells you that it was hard to breathe and that there are bruises on her neck, so she wanted to make sure that they were covered up today. She was unwilling to show them to you.

Sarah just returned back home to her mother from foster care. She begs and asks you not to tell anyone because she does not want to go back into foster care. Sarah says you are the only person that she has told because she trusts you, and you have been there for her in the past.

When you returned to your agency, you reviewed the case with your supervisor. Your supervisor indicates that Sarah is a troubled child from a troubled home, but that she knows her mother personally and knows how hard Sarah’s mother worked to regain custody of her child from foster care. She indicates that Sarah lies frequently. You are well-aware of this, as you have seen Sarah engage in attention seeking behaviors and lies when they benefit her. You also know how ODD works, and have witnessed Sarah become aggressive and defiant towards her mother and you recognize that she is difficult to manage. Your supervisor tells you that you didn’t see anything on her neck, and she was probably lying about it anyway, and she tells you that we need to keep Sarah on your caseload due to a recent drop in our program’s numbers. She indicates that you are not to report the suspected abuse to social services.

Case Questions

  1. What are the primary issues that are raised for you by the scenario?
  2. How does Sarah’s diagnosis of ODD impact your feelings about the scenario?
  3. What are your impressions about Sarah’s mother in this case?
  4. How do you feel about the supervisor’s directive to you?
  5. Do you have any ongoing ethical obligation despite what the supervisor has indicated?

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