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uwi PhIL1902 How would you make a decision in this case?

uwi PhIL1902 How would you make a decision in this case?


  1. In making a decision in this case, Tiffany’s social worker should carefully consider the ethical principles of beneficence, autonomy, and non-maleficence while also adhering to the agency’s policies and ethical guidelines. The decision should prioritize Tiffany’s best interests while also taking into account the well-being of her sister, Sierra. The following steps can guide the decision-making process:

    a. Gather information: The social worker should collect as much information as possible about Tiffany’s attachment disorder, her relationship with Sierra, and the potential consequences of separating them or keeping them together.

    b. Consult with colleagues: It is essential to consult with colleagues, supervisors, and experts in attachment disorders and child welfare to gain different perspectives and insights into the situation.

    c. Assess Tiffany’s needs: Evaluate Tiffany’s emotional and psychological needs and how they may be impacted by separating from her sister or staying together.

    d. Assess Sierra’s needs: Similarly, assess Sierra’s needs and the potential impact on her if separated from Tiffany.

    e. Consider adoption prospects: Explore the realistic adoption prospects for both Tiffany and Sierra, both individually and together.

    f. Weigh the options: Carefully weigh the benefits and risks of placing Tiffany and Sierra together or separately. Consider factors like their emotional well-being, future prospects, and chances of adoption.

    g. Engage Tiffany in the decision: To the extent possible, involve Tiffany in age-appropriate discussions about her preferences and feelings regarding placement. Her voice should be considered in the decision-making process.

    h. Document the decision-making process: Maintain thorough documentation of the information gathered, consultations, assessments, and the reasoning behind the final decision.

  2. Critical Issues and Recommendations:

    a. Attachment and Emotional Well-being: The critical issue is the emotional well-being of both Tiffany and Sierra. Research shows that attachment disorders can have long-lasting effects on a child’s emotional and psychological development. Tiffany’s social worker should recommend keeping the sisters together unless there is clear evidence that separation would be in Tiffany’s best interest due to her specific attachment disorder.

    b. Adoption Prospects: Another important issue is the realistic adoption prospects for the sisters. While it is unfortunate that Sierra may be more desirable for adoption alone, the social worker should consider whether there are potential adoptive families willing to accept both sisters. If such prospects exist, keeping them together should be prioritized.

    c. Ethical Considerations: The social worker must uphold ethical principles, including beneficence (promoting the well-being of Tiffany and Sierra), autonomy (considering Tiffany’s preferences), and non-maleficence (avoiding harm to Sierra). The social worker’s primary responsibility is to Tiffany, but they also have a duty to ensure Sierra’s well-being.

    d. Documentation and Transparency: It is crucial to thoroughly document the decision-making process, considering all relevant factors, consultations, and the reasoning behind the final recommendation. Transparency in the decision-making process is essential to maintain accountability.

Characteristics of an Ethical Dilemma:

An ethical dilemma typically involves a situation where there are conflicting moral principles or values, making it challenging to make a clear-cut decision. Key characteristics of an ethical dilemma include:

  1. Conflicting Values or Principles: There is a clash between two or more ethical principles or values, such as the well-being of one individual versus another, or individual rights versus societal interests.
  2. Complexity: The situation is complex, and there is no obvious or easy solution. Decisions may have far-reaching consequences.
  3. Moral Uncertainty: Decision-makers may feel uncertain about which course of action is morally right, as there may be no perfect solution that satisfies all ethical considerations.
  4. Accountability: The decision-maker is accountable for their choices and must carefully consider the potential impact on all parties involved.
  5. Ethical Guidelines: Ethical dilemmas often require adhering to professional codes of ethics and guidelines while navigating difficult decisions.

uwi PhIL1902 How would you make a decision in this case?





Tiffany is 9 years old and has been diagnosed with attachment disorder. She has been seeing a social worker twice weekly since entering the agency program a few months ago. This program works with emotionally disturbed children 6 to 12 years of age. Tiffany lives in a group home with her sister, Sierra, who is 3 years of age, and three other children. The sisters have been in the group home for 2 years, and parental rights are in the process of being terminated. Each child has her own worker. In light of possible foster or adoptive placement both Tiffany’s and Sierra’s social workers have been asked to make independent recommendations regarding whether the sisters should be placed together or separately. Both workers are aware that a recommendation to keep the siblings together will reduce their chances for adoption, especially for Sierra. The unfortunate reality is that Sierra is a more desirable candidate for adoption if she is alone. the primary responsibility of the social worker working withT iffany is to her but the caseworker also has a responsibility to avoid harm to the third party, Sierra. What should Tiffany’s social worker do? (Adapted from NetCe, 2013)


In the discussion forum please answer:

1. How would you make a decision in this case?

2. Briefly outline what you think are the critical issues and give your recommendations as well as your reasons for making that choice.

What are the characteristics of an ethical dilemma?

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