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July/August 2013Vol. 14, No. 6NASW Standards for Social Work Supervision

A new booklet developed by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) provides an in-depth discussion of supervision in the social work community and provides standards to ensure uniformity in social work supervision. Understanding the components and skills necessary for effective supervision promotes and enhances the quality of work of both the supervisor and those being supervised and the services and outcomes afforded to clients. 

The overview provides the definition and vital components of professional supervision and the supervisory relationship; details the functions and responsibilities of supervisors and the various supervision models; and outlines the three primary supervisory domains, (1) administrative, (2) educational, and (3) supportive. The general qualifications and necessary skills are also included.

The majority of the booklet is dedicated to a thorough discussion of the following five standards, which are intended to support and strengthen supervision for professional social workers:

  • Standard 1, Context in Supervision
  • Standard 2, Conduct of Supervision
  • Standard 3, Legal and Regulatory Issues
  • Standard 4, Ethical Issues
  • Standard 5, Technology

The booklet concludes with information on the supervision process of evaluation and outcomes, which is integral for professional development, and the elements associated with the termination of the supervisory relationship.

Best Practice Standards in Social Work Supervision is founded on information from the NASW Code of Ethics and the ASWB Model Social Work Practice Act. It was published in 2013 and is available on the NASW website: (209 KB)

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured the updated NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Child Welfare, which discusses the services that should be provided by and the necessary qualities of child welfare social workers, in the February 2013 issue: