You are the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programming for adolescent girls. The agency began as part of the Catholic Church but is now an independent 501(c)3 organization. You supervise staff who provide academic enrichment, life skills training, career preparation, and recreational opportunities to more than 400 mostly low-income teens annually. Your staff has recently become concerned about rising rates of teenage sexual activity among your participants—several girls have become pregnant, and many more talk openly about unsafe sexual practices. A group of girls who are clients at the organization have approached staff about starting a sex education program, as they have little available sex education that is culturally appropriate.
Working with the group, two of your counselors develop a plan to create a new coalition committed to comprehensive sex education and teen pregnancy prevention. They have outlined several goals, including increased funding for such programs and additional resources for provision of contraceptives in this community, which faces a shortage of health care providers. They have also identified several potential members, including a local health clinic, a church, the youth representatives of your programs, and two local high schools.
After discussing their strategy and ensuring that they can take on coalition-building tasks in addition to their regular duties, you encourage them to proceed. The following week, you receive an irate call from your Board Chair, who has served on the Board since the organization’s founding and is enraged at a ‘rumor’ that you have given your blessing to the organization’s participation in a coalition to ‘hand out condoms to our girls.’ He vows that, if you do not stop your staff from engaging in such activity, he will call for your dismissal.
Answer the following questions and relate it to the NASW Code of Ethics:
How should you respond?
What competing obligations do you face as an employee and a supervisor?
What values should guide your decisions?
How could you have anticipated and possibly avoided this situation?
What guidance does the NASW Code of Ethics give?