case study in response to a scenario

1. the case data i.e. summary statement, about a paragraph. This summarises the basic information that you might need as a worker to work from.
2. the assessment / summary formulation i.e. your ideas about ‘what might be going on here’; In this section you need to identify at least one theory that you are using and use references from that theory/theories to explain your assessment.
3. the intervention or action process i.e. what will be done/worked on. This section needs to also demonstrate your understanding of the theory/theories you are using. Clearly you won’t have done an intervention so you may need to be creative about details. You need to identify how you and the client/clients would work towards change in relation to the presenting situation. You include:
 specific case goals and how these relate to your formulation;
 how you would stay engaged with ‘where the client is at’ – with their definition of the problem, their feelings, and their ideas about change;
 specific actions related to the goals.
4. a reflection i.e. what arises for you in relation to this scenario: what you are learning about, and/or struggling with. For example, you might choose to include:
 your own emotional responses to the case material,
 comments on your preferred style of practice in this case and more generally,
 changes in your own views, assumptions, attitudes or values, or
 areas that you might want or need to develop.

The following criteria will be used in assessing this assignment:
• Demonstrable ability to clearly identify and describe a presenting situation, and make an assessment and summary formulation (Part 1 and 2) 8 marks (400 w)
• Demonstrable ability to use theory to inform practice (Parts 2 and 3) 12 marks (600w)
• Demonstrable ability to clearly describe and justify the practice skills, interventions and strategies you will use in this situation (Part 3) 12 marks (600w)
• Evidence of ability to critically reflect on your own personal assumptions and values that may have been challenged by this scenario (Part 4) 12 marks(600w)
• Evidence of fluency in writing, proof reading, use of references. 6 marks

SW4APA 2020: Notes for Assignment 3: Part 1


In social work practice how you “organize your information” when you are presenting a case depends on your purpose. As with all social work practice the purpose is the key organizing concept upon which your assessment and intervention is based (see dynamic model of practice (Healy, 2014, p. 16). As we saw in week 7, what information is collected and how it is reported depends on the reason it is being collected and the context.
For Assignment 3 you will need to complete at least the first two sub-headings, i.e. the ‘summary statement’ and ‘presenting problem’ in order to complete your summary formulation/assessment. These are all part of the assessment as they form the “data” upon which your assessment is based.
The next part of the assignment is developing an intervention plan, depending on what you have as the assessment (see Notes for Assignment 3 Part 2) Remember that the theoretical approaches you are working from need to be included.

This is a three or four sentence overview of the basics of the case and demographic data. This kind of device is extremely useful as it “sets the stage”, it frames, the information that is to follow. For example:
“Jan is a 55 year old woman who lives with her de facto Jim, and Peter, her 30 year old son (sentence one). Jan was seriously injured in a work accident one year ago and this accident has left her with a range of long term problems (sentence two). Jan was the main breadwinner as Jim is retired and Peter is unemployed (sentence three). I have met with Jan on three occasions, and intend to work with her and her family for at least the next 8 weeks, in my role as a disability support worker based in a short term response team. (Sentence Four).”
You will notice “sentence one” gives the reader / listener the clients living situation, “sentence two and three” a quick summary of the background and the problem and “sentence four” the worker’s agency and role, which situates the worker in relation to the client.

2. ASSESSMENT / SUMMARY FORMULATION – Your ideas about what is going on

This section contains two parts:
A. The Presenting Problem:
(i) The client’s perspective, &
(ii) (If it is different to the client’s) The agency’s perspective

B. The Formulation
(iii) additional information relevant to providing your assessment, your chosen theory/theories should be evidenced here.
(iii) assessment of what is going on

A. The Presenting Problem:
This is a brief factual account of the difficulty/problem. It is offered without interpretation or comment, which is as close as possible to the client’s own description.For example:
“Jan states that she has many serious problems such as constant and severe pain, diminished mobility and financial difficulties. Nonetheless, in her view her most worrying concern is that she feels her life is ‘stuffed and hopeless’ as a result of the accident.”
It is often also useful to set out (if applicable) how the agency defines the problem if this is different to the definition offered by the client (If one works in an environment where the agency has a particular purpose, such as child protection, and this purpose defines the worker’s task in ways that may contrast with the client’s definition. For example:
The Client’s Definition of the Problem : “Jo and Trish both feel that the children are happy and that the school “have it in for them” because they don’t conform to their idea of…. (etc.)
The Agency’s Definition of the Problem : “As a child protection worker my concern is the safety of Josh and Taylor. The classroom teacher states that the children have consistently arrived at their school with no uniform, no lunch, there is evidence of poor personal hygiene and the boys fall asleep in class. Based on the observation of the teacher there is concern that these boys may be experiencing neglect…. (etc.). ”

Following these two headings / sections there are many ways to proceed. You can and should choose the manner of organizing your data that best serves your purposes. Use the information below when it is relevant and indicate the source of your data where multiple information sources have been used.

B. The Formulation

(iii) Information relevant to assessment:
Following the presenting problem section sections there are many ways to proceed. You can and should choose the manner of organizing your data that best serves your purposes and reflects the chosen theoretical orientation/s (see Milner, Myers & O’Byrne, 2015).
Use the information below when it is relevant. For the purposes of your assignment, you will need to make it clear how you are using at least one theory to explain your assessment. You will also need to include references for this theory /theories.
• educational / work history / housing/ etc.
• religious/ cultural/ language/ etc.
• problems / health / legal issues/ etc.

• status of contact with current service
• status of contact with other services

• Genogram
• lifecycle stage
• family history
• etc.

• formal supports
• informal supports
• other connections
• etc.

• your role
• etc.

(iv) Your formulation
Your formulation is a statement about what you believe is going on based on the information you have outlined, your inclusion of information about your knowledge base of the presenting issue and your chosen theoretical (practice theory/ theories) orientation

Healy, K. (2014). Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. Palgrave Macmillan
Milner, Myers & O’Byrne (2015) Assessment in social work, 4th Edition, London Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 3 Effective Assessment Processes (pp 44-57).

SW4APA 2020: Notes for Assignment 3: PART 2


In Part 1 of the notes (provided in week 11) we addressed the first 2 components of the assignment:
1. The summary statement
2. The assessment/ summary formulation
In these notes we will address the final 2 components:
3. The intervention or action process
4. A reflection
So let’s start with Intervention
3. The Intervention or Action Process
In the lecture slides for week 12 it was noted that Howe (2013) argues our theory becomes explicit when we ask 5 key questions of the casework process:
a) What is the matter? (presenting problem)
b) What is going on? (assessment)
c) What is to be done? (intervention plan)
d) How is it to be done? (intervention)
e) Has it been done? (evaluation, review)

You are asked to make your theory explicit in this assignment and you can do so by using the first four of these questions to provide your response to components 1, 2 & 3 of the assignment.
In the intervention you will need to provide a consistent link between how you are understanding what is going on (assessment) with what will be done (intervention plan)
Specifically it is suggested that in the assignment description that you:
 establish case goals informed by your assessment
 how you would stay engaged with ‘where the client is at’ – i.e. how the client/clients are thinking about the problem, feeling about the problem, etc.
 specify the actions for each goal i.e. how does the goal become acted on?
You will note when you watch the video between the social worker and Cheryl that the worker makes several suggestions about possible actions. These are provided purely as examples and do not have to be included in your intervention plan. In fact you may disagree with the worker’s ideas and have a very different concept of intervention.
4. Reflection
The slides for week 12 lecture (see LMS) take you through the rationale and process of critical reflection. In particular Gardner’s (2014) 2 stage model of critical reflection.

In this component of the assignment you need to illustrate how you bring yourself to the material in the video. This is an exercise in self-awareness about what you are learning and what you are struggling with. You will need to talk about what arises for you emotionally, ideologically and cognitively in this scenario.

In addition, in Chapter 11 of Healy (2014), the reading for Week 12, you are encouraged to develop your own framework for practice by making informed decisions about your use of the five theories we have covered. We want you to start the process of doing this by articulating in your assignment why the theories you have chosen, and the discourse informing them resonates for you. For example, how do the theories sit with your own views, values, attitudes and assumptions?
Finally, reflection on your learning needs provides a way understanding where you are going in your professional education journey.

Prue Atkins – Bundoora Instance Coordinator SWP4APA


Gardner, F. (2014). Being critically reflective: Engaging in holistic practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
Healy, K. (2014). Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. Palgrave Macmillan
Howe, D. (2013). Relating theory to practice. Book V1 in M. Davies (Ed.) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work, John Wiley & Sons

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