Principles and goals of social case work

Principles and goals of social case work

 Principle of Individuality: The case worker should analyze individuals from various aspects. Every individual is unique and so problems faced are also unique based on their intelligence and other circumstances in which they are living. So mode of helping, use of strategies and techniques must be according to the intellectual level, socio economic situations and ego strength, one’s capacity and resources. In educational settings while assessing the problems of children, the case worker should notice the symptoms of distress, stress levels of children, and collect additional information which will help in the assessment and intervention.

 Principle of purposeful expression of feelings: The client should be given a chance to express feelings freely especially negative feelings. The case worker should listen to the client purposefully and should neither praise nor condemn. The case worker should understand the internal state of mind of the client, attend and listen meaningfully. There should be empathetic resonance and should use exploration and social skills.

 Principle of self determination: The client is lead to take decision, giving them opportunity to decide what is right and wrong and appropriate for themselves.

 Principle of acceptance: Accept individual as a person of “worth and dignity” always accept ones positive feelings not negative feelings.

 Principle of non judgmental attitude: The case worker has no right to judge anyone as guilty or innocent.

 Principle of confidentiality: Problems of client is kept in confidence or as a secret. It is only disclosed in case of suicide or homicide and that too professionals with the knowledge of client which is called shared confidentiality.

Social case work is individualized service delivery based on comprehensive assessment that is used to develop a case or service plan. The plan is developed in collaboration with the client and reflects their choices and preferences for the service arrangements being developed. The goal is to empower the client and in the process, ensure that they are involved in all aspects of the planning and service arrangement in a dynamic way.

The core conditions of case work relationships are empathy, congruence, unconditional positive regard, concreteness.

 Empathy which is a radical commitment on the part of the case worker to understand clients as fully as possible.

 Congruence is the ability and willingness to be what one truly is, in the relationship, to be honest, open and authentic.

 Unconditional positive regard: Case workers respect it and value the deeper core of client and identify with their potential rather than with their current behaviors. The case worker should possess a non judgmental attitude and should not be influenced by prejudices or biases.

 Concreteness involves the fluent, direct and complete expression of specific feelings and experiences, regardless of their emotional content.


The primary goal is to optimize client functioning by providing quality services in the most efficient and effective manner to individuals with multiple complex needs, psychological issues, depression, and anxiety or in crisis.
 Social case work must be goal driven, have a purpose or seek an objective that is established in conjunction with the client and the client’s family when appropriate. The goals are:
 Facilitating behavioral change enabling the client to live more productive and satisfying life.
 Enhancing developmental, problem solving and coping skills to learn to cope with new situation and new demands.
 Promoting decision making which will stimulate the individual to evaluate, make, accept and act upon his choice.
 Improving relationships to become more effective in their interpersonal relationships.
 Facilitating client potential to learn ways to use their abilities and interests to the maximum.
 Creating and promoting the effective and human operation of systems that provide resources and service to people.
 Linking people with systems that provide them with resources, services and opportunities.
 Improving the scope and capacity of the delivery system.
 Contributing to the development and improvement of social policy.

Tasks and Functions

Tasks and functions of social case worker are related to client level intervention and system level intervention.

Client level intervention

once identified and engaged clients as a result of outreach or referral services, the case worker conducts face to face comprehensive assessment with each client on his strengths, limitations and also social, financial and institutional resources available. The case worker focuses on how these resources relate to the principle concerns of the client. On this basis, the case worker develops individualized service plan with the client that identify the priorities, desired outcomes, strategies and resources to be used in attaining outcomes.

The responsibilities of case worker, client and significant others should be clarified throughout development of the plan. Direct contact between client and social worker is essential to accomplish the assessment and service plan.

The case work starts with case study, diagnosis, case treatment, termination, evaluation and follow up. Also mobilizing formal and informal resources and services needed to maximize the child’s physical, social, emotional, wellbeing and co-coordinating and monitoring service delivery. The social case worker advocates on behalf of the plan for needed client resources and services, outcomes with revision of the service plan as indicated and terminates the case. Social worker should assess, allocate, monitor and evaluate services and fiscal resources.

System level intervention

Social worker should understand how the educational setting and environment affect the client positively and negatively also analyze the strength and limitation of the environmental system. The case worker should delineate desired outcomes, agency  policy formation, select strategies, continuously revise as indicated the desired outcomes and strategies also be responsible for resource development, financial accountability, sanction, data collection, information management, programme evaluation and quality assurance.

Some of the approaches to social case work in educational setting include:
 Psycho analytical approach
 Psycho social approach
 Problem solving
 Behavior modification
 Crisis intervention
 Eclectic approaches

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