Social justice is a core component of the mission of the social work profession (National Association of Social Work [NASW], 2001). “Social workers uphold standards, concerning prejudice, and discrimination toward any population potentially compromises the economic, social, and emotional well-being of a society (Jani, Osteen, & Shipe, 2016). Further, understanding self-awareness and the client’s way he/she views the world are merely prerequisites to a culturally competent approach (Jani et al., 2016). The following information reflects a case study involving Claudia and her family. Also, describing two social issues related to Claudia that inform a culturally competent social worker and culturally competent strategies to assess the needs of children. Hence, types of data collected from Claudia and her family to better serve them, as well as resources that offer further information about Claudia’s case. Moreover, the use of eco-map, representing Claudia’s situation and how the ecological perspective of assessment influence how the social worker interacted with Claudia. Lastly, social workers utilizing strength perspective and multiple assessment tools in Claudia’s case and its influence on the therapeutic relationship with Claudia and her family.
Two social issues related to Claudia that inform a culturally competent social worker
The first issue entails that Claudia is a six-year-old Hispanic child, and the second regards her parents do not hold legal status in the United States. The Latino population is the fastest-growing group in the United States; thus, social workers must be knowledgeable about how to effectively serve this population (Furman, Negi, Iwamoto, Rowan, Shukraft, & Gragg, 2009). Claudia is Hispanic, and her parents do not hold legal status in this country.
Culturally competent strategies to assess the needs of children
According to Woolley (2013), “Assessment of children is, in larger part, defined by a range of activities used to gather information about a child, a struggle or challenge confronting that child, and relevant information about that child’s social environment (p. 3).” Language barriers existed when the social worker interacted with clients’ mother, and the social worker assisted with psychoeducation translated in Spanish. The application of systematic and comprehensive assessment strategies is prevalent in building an evidence-based approach, which is most useful to assist with service delivery (Woolley, 2013).
Types of data collected from Claudia and her family to best serve them
Including a reflection of Claudia and her family’s environmental factors are vital pieces of information that will assist the social worker in obtaining fact-finding content. According to Woolley (2013), “The pursuit of providing clients with the best possible social work services available at a given point in time, basing the assessment on gathering the best evidence possible, and systematically collecting that evidence is distinctly now new endeavors in the social work profession (p. 5).”
Identified resources that offer further information about Claudia’s case
According to Woolley (2013), “There are two diagrammatic assessment tools that have seen widespread use in social work practice with children and families: eco-map and the genogram (p. 7).” Both methods offer an ecological focus system that helps the social worker understand the dynamics of the entire family system. Also, gaining a comprehensive picture of the family structure and its influence on the current presenting problem. Also, they help search for potential strengths, possible resources, and the ongoing collection of assessment information (Woolley, 2013).
Eco-map representing Claudia’s situation, and how the ecological perspective of assessment influenced how the social worker interacted with Claudia
With the reluctance of Paula, Claudia’s mother assumed to get this help for her child due to the nature of their citizenship; the social worker was able to get historical factors from the family to evaluate family functioning. The social worker was able to effectively utilize therapeutic and evidence-based techniques to promote resilience in Claudia’s issues associated with feeling safe. According to Woolley (2013), “Another important step in the evolution of the ecological perspective in social work is the incorporation of a focus on risk and protective factors and the vulnerability or resilience to the impact of environmental stressors that such factors may offer (p. 9).”
Social worker utilizing strengths perspective and multiple assessment tools in Claudia’s case, and its influence on the therapeutic relationship with Claudia and her family
The social worker utilized the strength perspective in the assessment process, utilizing child therapy techniques, such as child-centered nondirective play therapy, along with unconditional positive regard (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014b). Further, making translation accommodations for clients’ mother, to whom obstacles were associated with language barriers. Identifying strengths as a supportive parenting unit, positive peer interactions, and the ability to engage. Ultimately, it reflected the client/therapist relationship, as the social worker was able to assist with change in current situation as evidenced by Claudia’s concern decreasing for locked doors, and no longer questioned mother about motives of people passing them on the street, and the resilience toward good and bad individuals (Plummer et al., 2014b).
The client faced environmental challenges, due to socioeconomic status, and holding residence in a somewhat dangerous neighborhood, adding to her anxiety and fear after exposure to a mugging (Plummer et al., 2014b). Consequently, her mother risked her greatest fear of exposing her citizenship but wanted help for her daughter as she identified that Claudia struggled with safety and her view of people at this point. However, the social worker assisted the family with evidence-based assessments coupled with cultural competence techniques to help this family regain resilience in their presenting problem. Social work has a rich history of stressing issues of cultural and ethnic diversity and historical and current forms of discrimination and oppression that emerge within the family’s macro-system and the various micro-systems and mezzo-system surrounding a child and his or her family (Woolley, 2013, p. 10).
- Furman, R., Negi, N. J., Iwamoto, D. K., Rowan, D., Shukraft, A., & Gragg, J. (2009). Social work practice with Latinos: key issues for social workers. Social work, 54(2), 167–174. doi:10.1093/sw/54.2.167
- Jani, J. S., Osteen, P., & Shipe, S. (2016). Cultural Competence and Social Work Education: Moving Toward Assessment of Practice Behaviors. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(3), 311–324. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/10437797.2016.1174634
- National Association of Social Workers. (2001). Standards for cultural competence in social work practice. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
- Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
- Woolley, M. E. (2013). Assessment of children. In M. J. Holosko, C. N. Dulmus, & K. M. Sowers (Eds.), Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions (pp. 1-39). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
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