Our societies today is consists of many problems when we tend to have people requesting assistance from different agencies whether it is private or public. As a social worker, it is necessary that we offer assistance to those people. We may assign them to some other person or institution in order to receive the desired treatment. As a way of gathering information for this paper, I had the opportunity of interviewing a social worker at the Ministry of Social Development in Grenada West Indies which is a public entity. In this, the social worker works in a smaller district ( Parish-level) where she spearheads all main decisions within the parish level. In this district, there is a subordinate that works under her supervision or handles affairs when she is not around but would not be able to handle delicate cases if she is not around. During this interview, I got an insight into what goes on within the institution what was necessary to assist in doing their jobs well and what needed to be done for better results. Some of the knowledge I gained was about the people agency deals with, what method or Approaches they used and the kind of help offered to clients in need.
Firstly, during this interview, I was able to learn about the type of people the institution offers help too. Although the agency is a public agency which covers the whole country, cases dealing with children under the age of eighteen usually sent to an agency known as Child Protection Agency. This agency also provides support to people in the country with different financial needs such as an elderly pension program and an education assistant program. The other issues the agency deals with are the social ills that occur throughout the country such as physical or sexual abuse and fire victims among others. In order for caseworkers to be and serve their clients well, they should do the following according to (Australian Government department of health,2006) :
“1. Deliver as much as possible.
2. Work within communities.
3. Have Primary responsibility for a person’s service.
4. Their workload should be high enough to allow relatively high-frequency contact.
5. Should be time unlimited.”
This agency follows the code of ethics from the National Association of social workers to carry out their daily practices. The agency is on a small island and through this, they are broad-based and deals with all types of problems faced by citizens of the country. Case workers tend to deal with a lot of issues and have to try their best to give the best results as possible. Within this public agency, it is difficult for a caseworker to follow some of these steps because of the lack of resources. Workload tends to be heavy on the worker since there are not enough people to carry out different duties. “Across many fields of human service today, case management is gaining recognition as a major practice, stronger essential to promoting effective service delivery to target diverse population.” ( Moxley,2007.p.10) With the gaining popularity of casework and case management, the agency now is in a better position to deal with issues facing the citizens within the country. Although, sources are limited they often try their utmost to help clients get positive results.
Secondly, an insight was given about the different practices of the agency and the methods they use in dealing with their clients. As it was said earlier the client base is somewhat a large one due to the number of people and the area the caseworker has to cover during the period. (University of the West Indies open Campus ,2018). stated ”Beder (n.d) described the overall function of theory in practice as giving direction to our professional activities and showing that our actions are not random. The author believed that we need a theoretical base in order to:
a) Help explain people’s actions
b) Provide an explanation of what is happening in any given situation
c) Prescribe what we should do in a given situation
d) Can be used to describe and cope with area of the social work relationship.
e) Help us to explain our interventions to others (Beder, 2010).”
As an institution, they do not deal with one specific approach or method. A combination of the theories is used within the institution among the social worker when handling their clients. Theories such as Generalists, eco-, and strength-based practices are used. The Practices are applied based on the nature of the situation after careful examination. Sometimes a combination of methods may also be used to help solve the cases brought forward toward the social worker.
Because the agency deals with different natures of the cases and it is also the main agency used by people within the country they do not deal with one theory they use whatever theory that is necessary to handle a situation. Due to this a combination of theories is used.Theories are normally used to assist and improve the social functioning of individuals by assisting social worker and clients to figure out different thoughts and feelings. Additionally, they also help the social worker to maintain a focus on the interaction between the person and their environment. Theory and practice work together with each other in social work practice. Theories demonstrate several actions and guides through the process of changing troublesome behavior. There are several theories that may be used by a social worker in practice. (SIMMONS School of social Work, n.d) Social work theories are general explanations that are supported by evidence obtained through the scientific method. A theory may explain human behaviour, for example, by describing how humans interact or how humans react to certain stimuli. Social work practice models describe how social workers can implement theories. Practice models provide social workers with a blueprint of how to help others based on the underlying social work theory. While a theory explains why something happens, a practice model shows how to use a theory to create change. It is also important to choose relevant theory as it directly influences on social workers approach to clinical practice.