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Ethical Issues within the Assessment of Young Children

Identify five ethical issues or concerns regarding the assessment of young children and the types/manner in which these assessments may be used. Identify three strategies or best practices that can address these ethical issues.

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Within the specialization field of child and adolescent psychology, strengths of ethical codes, principles and standards exist for the professional conducting services for this special clientele population. Key ethical principles involved within the duties of a practitioner that are applicable to this specialization include the American Psychological Association (APA) principles pertaining to beneficence and nonmaleficence, fidelity and responsibility, justice, and respect for people's rights and dignity. While many practitioners are faced with ethical behaviors and confided information of their young clients, they often become ethically conflicted about the concept of their obligation to take care to do no harm to the client by safeguarding their welfare from others (i.e. the child's family, guardian, and teacher). The practitioner must be able to follow ethical guidelines set in place in order to establish a relationship of trust with the child client, but yet uphold standards of conduct and legal obligations. Similarly, professionals should demonstrate an awareness which entitles all persons to access and benefit from therapy, in addition to respecting the rights of individual privacy and confidentiality of a minor (Principles A, B, D, & E; APA, 2002).

Furthermore, ethical issues which present themselves as strengths within the child and adolescent psychology specializations for the practitioner pertain to the APA's (2002) strong and well-defined standards of human relations, privacy and confidentiality. More specifically, the following standards of conflict of interest, avoiding harm, maintaining confidentiality, and discussing the limits of confidentiality with clientele are of importance within this specialization area involving children (Standards 3.04, 3.06, 4.01 & 4.02, APA, 2002). As a practitioner within this field, it is crucial to begin services with obtaining informed consent for therapy with a minor from the parents or legal guardian, explaining the potential risks and benefits of treatment. In addition, a counselor should present the purpose of and methods used within child therapy to all parties. Confidentiality considerations must also be addressed since children do not generally have the right to withhold information from parents (Ford, 2006). In addition, gathering accurate and relevant background information about the child client from caregivers, family members, educators, medical professionals and so on can help assist the practitioner in ethically handling sensitive situations which may arise while leaning on these particular APA standards and principles.

Limitations of Ethical Codes, Principles and Standards

Amongst various specializations within the school of psychology, limitations exists within several ethical codes, standards and principles in the form of presenting overlapping ethical issues and dilemmas in addition to unique circumstances. An overlapping issue pertaining to the specialization area of child and adolescent psychology involves the professional working relationship with a client. For example, professional guidelines outline conduct and interaction protocols for those practitioners working within the counseling specialization with minors. However, according to Ford (2006) guidelines such as these are set in place to provide a framework for dual relationships, diversity, and ethical issues which may arise within the practitioner-child client relationship.

Similarly, another underlying issue pertaining to limitations found within ethical codes and principles rests within multicultural sensitivity and acknowledgement of client cultures. For example, the American Psychological Association (2002) states that professionals should be aware of cultural differences amongst their clientele and work within the realms that the cultural influences and norms allow them to. Ultimately, ethical concerns are ever growing and evolving, especially those involving minors, and so these codes of conduct and ethical principles by which specializations adhere to must be consistently revaluated and adjusted to meet the needs of the profession, child client, and family. Overall, there is a need for continual assessment of ethical codes and practices within a variety of fields and subdivisions on behalf of the ...

Solution Summary

This solution is comprised of a detailed explanation of ethical concerns/issues related to assessment as it pertains to young children. Supplemented with specific ethical principles/codes and more than 500 words of text, this explanation of 5 ethical issues concerning the assessment of young children provides students with a clear perspective of strategies (3 in particular) to be used to address such issues.

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