SWM 5100 Educational Settings

Field of practice case study analysis (2000 word)

For this assignment, you are required to utilise the framework we have been using to explore each field of practice area. You will apply this to a field of practice we have not covered in our unit content. You can choose from educational settings or income maintenance and employment. There will be one case study for each of those two fields of practice. Choose only one case study for your assignment.

This means you will have to do your own research on your chosen field of practice. This should include, but not be limited to:

  • The relevant legislation and policy within that field of practice
  • Service provision and practice within that field of practice
  • Ethical tensions and dilemmas within that field of practice
  • Intersections with the law or legal processes within that field of practice.

The relevant chapter from the core textbook will be an important place to start, but you will be required to also locate your own supporting literature.

This assignment will require you to build on the skills we have developed throughout the unit, particularly in the tutorials, to use critical reflection as a framework to navigate challenging case presentations. You will be required to respond to the case study as a social worker, imagining how you might consider the key issues and formulate appropriate decisions.

CASE STUDY ONE: Educational settings

Ms Smith notices that Jack, a 7 year old boy in her grade 1 class is acting differently than usual. He is not his usual bubbly self, he appears withdrawn and quiet. At school pick up one day, Ms Smith checks in with Jack’s parents who dismiss the observation, putting it down to a recent cold/flu that Jack had, which kept him home from school for a few days.

The behaviour seems to persist so after sometime Ms Smith refers Jack to the school social worker. The school social worker starts seeing Jack and after sometime he discloses that his 15 year old step-brother sexually abused him. The school social worker makes a notification to child protective services and an investigation is open.

Jack’s parents are in shock over the situation and the sudden involvement of protective services in the family’s life. They ask the school social worker to respect their privacy and keep the situation confidential. This is not only for Jack, but also because his step-brother attends the nearby high school.

Ms Smith notices that Jack’s behaviour continues to deteriorate. She is finding him difficult to manage in the classroom as he is starting to act out. She asks the school social worker for an update on the situation. The school social worker feels torn. On one hand, she thinks the information would help the teacher manage Jack in the classroom, but on the other hand, she needs to consider the implications on the family.

After reading the case study, respond to the following questions:

Legislation and/or policy (15%)

Identify and describe a key piece of legislation or policy that applies to this case study. Provide a rationale for why it is relevant and how it might apply to the case study. Include specific reference to the Act, where relevant.

Service provision and practice (20%)

A core part of social work practice is referring to appropriate agencies and services to support the people you are working with.

In relation to Jack’s situation, as well as notifying protective services following the disclosure, find one service or program that you would consider referring to. This service or program could be for Jack, his brother, his parents or the entire family.

Find an actual service that exists somewhere in Victoria (or in your state or territory if you are a distance education student). You can use online service directories, google and you can call and make inquiries to agencies.

Describe the service and provide a rationale for why you would refer the client to that service. In your response outline the goal of this referral (what do you hope it to achieve?) and any potential obstacles to that referral.

Ethical tensions/dilemmas (35%)

Would you disclose to Miss Smith, or not?

In this section, provide a detailed description of your ethical decision-making process and outcome (i.e. detail what you would decide and how you get to that decision). Identify the key ethical issues relevant to your decision-making, and provide a detailed rationale for your decision, drawing on AASW Code of Ethics and other relevant ethical guidelines in your response.

Intersections with law/legal processes (20%)

In this case study, the social worker makes a notification to protective services. Indicate in your response whether this is a mandated response or not and provide reference to a relevant source to support your claim. Provide a brief summary of when social workers are required to make a mandatory notification to protective services in Victoria.

In the absence of a directive towards mandatory notification, how would you decide whether to make a notification to protective services? Use at least one relevant source to justify your response.

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