Social Case Work

Social work is the practice of providing care and assistance for the physically, mentally or socially handicapped, often through charities or state-funded agencies. Among those regarded as socially handicapped are the unemployed, the homeless, members of broken families, alcoholics, drug addicts, and neglected or problem children. Physicians, psychiatrists and other specialists may be required to help diagnose the difficulty.

Social work usually employs three methods of assistance: case work, group work, and community organization. According to Mary Richmond (1861 to 1928), the author of the first book in casework, Social Diagnosis (1917) "...Social Case Work may be defined as the art of doing different things with different people, co-operating with them to achieve some of their own and society's betterment."In the words of Amy Gordon Hamilton (1892-1967), social work educator, "...in social case work the client is stimulated to participate in the study of his situation, to share plans, to make an effective effort to solve his problems, using his own resource and whatever community resources are available and appropriate."The professional method of case work originated in the United States during the second decade of the 20th century. The American Charity Organization Society was among the first organized group that sought to help the poor. The volunteers who were part of the society were called "friendly visitors," and later "paid agents." They visited the homes of the poor in order to evaluate their needs, to offer material assistance or to help them with guidance and advice. They developed systematic procedures for their tasks. Case work evolved into a professional method, while the terms paid agents and the poor transformed into caseworkers and clients respectively.

At first social workers were educated at summer courses. Schools for social work appeared when the people involved recognized the need of a more substantial training. Eventually these schools came under the administrative authority of universities. The people who turn to social work help to solve their problems are usually unable to cope with them alone. There are different reasons that make the coping patterns of a person ineffective when it comes to some problems. There are five general categories: lack of material resource; misconceptions about situations and relationships and lack of appropriate information; illness or health-related handicaps; emotional distress that is a result of stressful situations; personality features or deficiencies. When it comes to lack of material resource, social work agencies usually do not have financial resources to give. In such cases a case worker helps the client obtain funding, depending on situation and the agency's policy. For instance, a poor amputee that is a patient in a hospital may secure financial help via the social work department at the hospital so he or she can purchase artificial limbs.Sometimes misconceptions about situations and relationships can affect judgment and make it difficult for an individual to act adequately. Lots of people are superstitious about diseases, for instance, and this may prevent them from taking appropriate treatment. With emotional distress, acting sensibly becomes a challenge. The upset individual needs to share his or her feelings freely to someone who is outside the situation. Talking about a problem makes it easier to act rationally and be objective.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Community Practice: Theories and Skills for Social Workers
David A. Hardcastle; Patricia R. Powers; Stanley Wenocur.
Oxford University Press, 2004 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 15 "Community Social Casework"
Iowa Case Management: Innovative Social Casework
Hall, James A.; Carswell, Christopher; Walsh, Elizabeth; Huber, Diane L.; Jampoler, Jennifer S.
Social Work, Vol. 47, No. 2, April 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Readings in Social Case Work, 1920-1938
Fern Lowry.
Columbia University Press, 1939
Theory and Practice of Social Case Work
Gordon Hamilton.
Columbia University Press, 1940
Trends in Social Work, 1874-1956: A History Based on the Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work
Frank J. Bruno.
Columbia University Press, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 29 "The Evolution of Social Casework"
Client's View of a Successful Helping Relationship
Ribner, David S.; Knei-Paz, Cigal.
Social Work, Vol. 47, No. 4, October 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Clinical Social Work in the Eco-Systems Perspective
Carol H. Meyer.
Columbia University Press, 1983
The Task-Centered System
William J. Reid.
Columbia University Press, 1978
Social Work and End-of-Life Care for Older People: A Historical Perspective
Luptak, Marilyn.
Health and Social Work, Vol. 29, No. 1, February 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Child -Centered Social Worker and the Sexually Abused Child: Pathway to Healing
Anderson, Lorie Elizabeth; Weston, Elisabeth A.; Doueck, Howard J.; Krause, Denise J.
Social Work, Vol. 47, No. 4, October 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Understanding and Supporting Parent-Child Relationships during Foster Care Visits: Attachment Theory and Research
Haight, Wendy L.; Kagle, Jill Doner; Black, James E.
Social Work, Vol. 48, No. 2, April 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Mary Richmond and the Image of Social Work
Murdach, Allison D.
Social Work, Vol. 56, No. 1, January 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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