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Youth Work Ethics

Youth Work Ethics

  • Howard Sercombe - Professor of Community Education, University of Strathclyde

February 2010 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

What does it mean to practice youth work ethically? How does ethical theory relate to the youth work profession? What are the moral dilemmas confronting youth workers today, and how should practitioners respond?

Youth Work Ethics examines these questions and more and should be on the reading lists of all youth work trainees and practitioners. A wide range of topics are covered, including: confidentiality; sexual propriety; dependence and empowerment; equity of provision; interprofessional working; managing dual relationships; working across cultures; working within an agency.

Referencing professional codes of ethics in youth work, and the theories underpinning them, Howard Sercombe offers readers a framework for how to think about their practice ethically. Each chapter includes:

  • Narrative case studies to provide an insight into real life dilemmas
  • Reflective questions and exercises to encourage critical thinking
  • Chapter summaries and further reading

Youth Work Ethics is the ideal text for undergraduates and postgraduates studying on youth work, youth studies or youth & community work degrees, as well as youth work practitioners.

Ethics and the Idea of a Profession
Youth Work as a Profession
Thinking Ethically
Ethical Theory
Codes of Ethics
Ethics and Agency Policy
Government Money
Referral and Working across Professional Disciplines
Youth Workers, Sex and Young People
Taking Care and Managing Risk
Professional Boundaries and Dual Relationships
The Ethics of Power
Empowerment and Dependency in the Youth Work Relationship
Equity and Justice
Working Ethically across Difference
Professional Development
Now about You: Self-Care

'[In this book] Howard Sercombe offers another useful and considered dimension for revisiting a wide and relevant spectrum of debates and issues in this valuable area...Offers a carefully considered opportunity to re-conceptualise understandings of the core ethics of youth work' -
Youth and Policy

"This comprehensive and thought provoking book should be read by anyone involved in youth work and should be compulsory reading on youth and community work courses." - Andy Furlong, Professor of Social Inclusion and Education, University of Glasgow

"This book combines readability with depth. It is simple to navigate and practice examples create a flash of recognition for anyone engaged in youth work. It is a book that ought to be on every youth worker, youth work manager, academic and policy maker's bookshelf." - Yvonne McNamara, Liverpool John Moores University

A fabulously comprehensive read, considering the main issues in youth work ethics and bringing to life the realities in practice.

Mrs Charie Porter-Baker
School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
July 29, 2021

Enthralling discussion about youth work ethics, incorporating professionalism. Great read for students to enhance their critical reflection on youth work ethics and the professionalisation of youth work practice.

Miss Charie Baker
School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
September 14, 2020

An important contribution to the discussions of power / relationships and the practice of youth and community work.

Ms Gillian Wilde
Youth & Community Studies, Wrexham Glyndwr University
September 28, 2020

The text promotes critical thinking around the notion of the professional. The placement of the reader to enable undergraduate thinking in youth and community work is valuable in relation to a developed understanding of self and others.
The value of exploring ethics and thinking approaches to the application to practice sets the stage for youth work students to consider ethical choices and decisions and works towards individual and organisations change with regards to ethically considered socially just responses, provision and interventions.

Mr Steve Walker
Youth & Comm Dev Studies (Lancaster), University of Cumbria
September 7, 2017

A relevant book for the student and practitioner alike in exploring the challenging dilemmas of ethics in youth work. The book presents key questions facing youth work today in the current socio-political environment. Covering a range of themes, topics and aspects it offers the reader the option to both 'dip-in' and read throughout .

Mr Ian Jones
Health, Community & Social Care, Bradford College
July 29, 2016

Useful book covers new areas

Mr R Patel
Division of Youth & Community, De Montfort University
February 22, 2014

I would recommend this text to my students. This is a really good and comprehensive resource about youth work ethics.

Mr Grant Poiner
School of Social Justice and Inclusion, University of Wales, Trinity St David
December 4, 2013

Excellent book, up to date and relevant to current practice. Shoould be very beneficial for students.

Ms Katherina Nugent
Sch of Business Studies and Humanities, Dundalk Institute of Technology
June 14, 2013

The book provides an excellent overview of many areas of youth work ethics such as confidentiality, boundaries and managing risk. The book is invaluable when we look at safeguarding and health and safety.

Mrs Joanne Arnold
Youth Studies, St Helens College
October 9, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Sage College Publishing

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