You are here

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

An excellent book which is key to those studying youth and community work programmes

Mrs Alana Enoch
Education Studies and Social Inclusion, Trinity College Carmarthen
October 3, 2012

Useful additional reading for Childhood and Youth students particualrly recognising the professionalism of youth work.

Mrs Wendy Bannerman
Childhood and Youth, Northampton University
June 8, 2012

A great read for youth work students, gives a solid grounding in the ethical practice related to youth work.

Mr Rik Kennedy
Department of Education Studies, Bishop Grosseteste College
January 31, 2012

Excellent book, very useful for Community and Youth Work FdSc

Ms Kate Barden
Vocational Education , Penwith College
December 17, 2011

Sercombe works well through 3 sections in the book: The Youth Work Profession; Method and Theory; and Ethical Issues and Conflicts.

Beginning with an examination of the profession which fits well with current policy/funding debates, helping to form an identity and mandate for youth work despite policy, the second section moves on to an overview of current ethical epistemology, framed within postmodernity.

Sercombe then choses 13 practical topics to work through with an overview of the main themes within each. These topics are for the youth worker and agency rather than young people, for example the pursuit of funding, ethics of power and CPD.

Summary boxes make it easy to dip in and out of (and quote easily in essays!), and occasional worked examples bring it to life - though perhaps more of this would help.

He tries to take a neutral stance on issues, allowing the reader to define their own stance where appropriate.

All in all, a good introductory text to a broad range of theory and issues around the youth work profession.

Mr Robin Smith
Youth Work, Nazarene Theological College
November 8, 2011

A really excellent resource for community youth work students and practitioners. This book has a direct, no nonsense style which when coupled with the easily recognisable practice examples makes it very easy to read. Compact chapters and sections mean you can easily discover the issue you would like to explore. It will be included in several of our modules and in particular our practice/ placement elements of the course.

School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies, Ulster University
September 16, 2011

Well timed book which is accessable for students of all levels

Dr Wendy Podd
Faculty of Education and Society, Sunderland University
July 12, 2011

A good overview of the field and a welcome addition to introductory texts in this area. Well presented and accessible for students.

Mr Paul Nash`
Religion , st johns
April 27, 2011

Recommended to 2nd Year Early Childhood Education students in one module - have also shown this to Children & Young Peoples Workforce FdA.

Mrs Alicia James
Community Studies, Truro College
February 15, 2011

this book is very welcome as it covers a range of important issues in some depth but in a way that is accessible for first year and other students.

I have recomended a few sections as essential reading to our students. These include:the chapters on Confidentiality and Boundaries. These 2 chapters provide key information for 1st year students before they embark on placements so that they can think about some of the important issues that might be problematic for them.

Other sections that are particularly useful include: chapter6 on ethical theories, chapter 13 on risk management, ch 15 on power and chapter 21 on self care. Lots of interesting ideas for reflection

Jean Hatton
community and international education, Huddersfield University
December 16, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

Chapter Two

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781446246887

ISBN: 9781847876034

ISBN: 9781847876041

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.