Ethical Social Work Practice: Helping Sarah

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Question :

Code: SWK707

Title: Ethical Social Work Practice in Complex Contexts

Assessment Task 1: Short essay responses/ multiple choice quiz

Goal: To develop knowledge about core concepts and contexts for social work practice

Product: Short essay responses/ multiple choice quiz

Format: This is an individual assessment. This task requires you to complete a combination of

short answer multiple choice questions (15 marks) and short essay style responses (20

marks). Questions and answers will be drawn from a list of key course readings

accessible via Blackboard and/ or through student research.

Criteria This assessment will be graded according to the following criteria:

• The multiple choice answers will be judged as being the most correct response

of those available.

• Short essay responses will be marked according to:

Factual correctness.

Use of relevant academic and credible grey literature to support statements


Critical and reflective analysis, which appreciates relevant contexts, core values

and approaches to practice

• Structure and accuracy of writing

Assessment Task 2: Collaborative analysis of a complex case

Goal: To critically apply relevant practice concepts and processes to a complex scenario.

Product: Reflective analysis of case study and presentation

Format: This is a group assessment, undertaken in groups of 2 (or 3 if negotiated with tutor). This task requires you to analyse a given problem based learning (PBL) scenario, identify aspects of the scenario to foreground, and reflect on the concepts and processes a social worker could use to respond to these. Presented in a PowerPoint presentation in class.

Formative assessment - The tutorials in Weeks 4 to 6 will provide an opportunity for you to present your initial ideas and obtain feedback from your tutor for assessment task 1.

Criteria The group presentation will be assessed according to your groups ability to:

• Present in a clear, engaging manner using appropriate technologies.

• Deliver within the time limit

• Identify important aspects of context including why these are significant for the practitioner to consider

• Identify at least one significant feature of the context which creates complexity the practitioner should be aware of and respond to

• Identify and justify at least 3 ethical considerations for the practitioner

• Identify processes for responding to the above contexts and ethical considerations drawing on relevant course and case relevant research studies, good quality grey literature and social work practice literature

• The quality of an annotated bibliography of 6 key references chosen as particularly helpful to your analysis (last slides)

• Demonstrate an openness and capacity for critical reflection through a willingness to expose your practice to scrutiny and interrogate implicit assumptions and values embedded within it, in a group setting

Assessment Task 3: Reflective essay

Goal: To demonstrate your capacity to identify and analyse key ethical considerations for your own social work practice in complex practice contexts.

Product: Case study analysis

Format: This is an individual assessment. You are to write a scenario which includes substantial complexity for a practitioner drawing on your own experience, and drawing on relevant social work processes,

concepts and approaches, analyse how you the practitioner should think about and ethically respond to such complexity. A framework of key questions developed through the course will be provided to support your reflective process.

Course Outline: The product of this assessment is your own reflective and evidence based analysis of key considerations for ethical social work practice in complex contexts.

Criteria This written analysis will be assessed according to your ability to demonstrate you can:

• Identify and explain aspects of the scenario that you as a practitioner may experience as complex

• Identify and explain ethical considerations that are significant for you as a social work practitioner in the scenario

• Identify and clarify at least one legal consideration in the scenario, drawing on relevant legal information

• Indicate how the social worker might proceed drawing on the AASW Code of Ethics, AASW Standards, relevant concepts, theories and literature Demonstrate your capacity to recognise and analyse practice responses that are context responsive, well founded and consistent with the core values and ethics of social work

• Demonstrate your ability to be reflexive, that is, acknowledge the influence of your own preferences and personhood, including how you understand and respond to complexity

• Develop a logically structured, well researched, coherently argued analysis that is appropriately supported by relevant and credible sources, research and analytical literature

• Demonstrate an emerging professional level of written expression including grammar, punctuation, spelling and referencing

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Answer :

Case Brief

There was a very sad and distressed lady that I saw at the reception, who was extremely worried about her eviction from the house and would have to find a new place to stay. She must have been around 30 years of age named Sarah, who was in an abusive relationship till recently. Her partner was found guilty of mentally and physically abusing her and had got convicted for DV a couple of months ago. Her partner was not allowed to meet her and that she had been fired from her job of last 5 years due to all irregularity and disturbances in her personal life. Although her parents tried their best to help her, but little did she manage as the rents and bills were all shared earlier with her husband and it was difficult to pay them alone. Therefore, she was looking for a more affordable option but had no money to sigh a bond. Also, she had left her studies mid-way in high school therefore; it was difficult to find a well paying job. And this was the end of the conversation for the day.

Complexity theory

The key areas of focus in a complexity theory are the approach and methodology through a more non-linear and complex way, which is highly unpredictable (Byrne, 2002). It can be understood deeply and thoroughly only when one gets to work in such complex situations, exposed ways and other systems of adaptively (Anderson, 1999).

One has to understand the various elements in a complex theory, wherein there are different factors such as personal, social, relationships, housing, and other basic needs. Such systems are very prone to adaptively and sudden abrupt ions, unpredictability and are non-reliable (Manson, 2001). They may result in making an individual’s life turn upside down in no span of time. 

In present case scenario, complex adaptive system could be due to abusive relationship, poor financial health and mental depression etc. These issues are not separate. These are intertwinglessness. The relationship between different contexts is creating complexity. For instance- Sarah’s unemployment and housing problems are not separate issues. The abusive relationship with partner could create complexities with her mental depression, which leads to unemployment and poor financial health. Sarah’s family support also couldn’t do much for her. The lack of support from her family also origin of complexity. The housing issues, unemployment, abusive relationship, lack of family support and poor finances are different context. These contexts can overlap each other. Hence, to solve Sarah’s problems. It is necceassy to simplify the all context and understand them with opened mind.

ASW’s code

After reviewing Sarah’s situations, Being Social worker, I inspire to follow the ASW’s code of ethics. These codes are respect for person and Social Justice. According to Respect for persons’ code, the concept here means that every individual should be respected and needs to be respected (Gardner, McCutcheon and Fedoruk, 2017). They have their own worth and self-respect matters highly to all. This in turn helps the development of Type society and culture of people. 

Another code of ethics Social justice is one of the key elements for any governmental existence, that all the citizens are treated equally in the eyes of the law and that no one is deprived of their justice needs. Therefore, the professional of social work treats it to be an obligation-based service.

These both code of ethics helped me to understand Sarah’s conditions and guide her the best way. A social worker must respect the dignity and autonomy of individual. Social worker must foster individual’s rights and well being. Hence, I am responsible to treat her with respect. She should be realized that she is human being who deserves respect from everyone and no one has right to degrade or abuse her. Under another code of ethics, social worker promotes social justice and fairness. They advocate those changes, which reduce inequalities. They oppose to remove all violation to human rights. Sarah is being denied for basic human rights. She was harassed and beaten.

Maslow’s theory

Sarah is dealing with many context and complexity. In order to perform context analysis of Sara’s case, Maslow’s theory is beneficial.

One of the key elements of this theory is that, shelter to all is of paramount importance to protect them from all odds such as rains, cold, heat, etc (McLeod, 2007). Maslow has also given us a theory based on the hierarchy of needs of an individual, and shelter to all tops the list there. This need is basically physical requirement of an individual to protect them from the weather, harmful elements, dislocation etc. Their are others needs which are physical in nature such as, the need for food, water, air, sleep and affection. He depicted these needs through a triangular diagram putting the most critical and basic physiological need on top and then the others in sequence of importance and survival (Block, 2011). First of all, these basic physical needs are to be met only then the individual will be able to focus of other psychological and social needs. There will be nothing more important to him than food, water, air, affection and shelter. All the other needs to him are secondary in nature, which are basically meant to be for self-actualization. Hence, Sara’s poor mental health can be due to unfullfillment of her basic needs. She doesn’t have house, money to survive. These needs are important to meet before solving other complexities of Sara’ case.

Helping Sara (Act and NRAS)-Finding Accommodation

Being Social worker, I can help Sara to find out affordable accommodations and job for better finances. She told me that her partner doesn’t share house rent with her. Apart from this, she had been evicted from her house. I can help her under The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld). The duty of RTA’s is to keep eye on day-to-day activities taken under Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act in year 2008 (Carr, 2009). The norms on the tenant agreement has all do and don’t or the agreement states all consequences of how to handle the concern raised during the period of tenancy and elaborate the consequence if one of the party build the terms in law. Hence, I will discuss with her and analyze if she is evicted unlawfully. In that case, act can be helpful for Sara. Meanwhile. Through National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), Sara can find affordable housing to live. Violence like Domestic is foremost seen or an important part noticing as in the homelessness where the majority seen in the case of one woman look out for the support from specialist homelessness services throughout the country like Australia where the situation has been affected by both family and domestic violence. By seeing such scenario of growing domestic and family violence problem we try to come out with some solution in Queensland. NRAS is helpful to homeless women especially due to domestic violence (Milligan and Pinnegar, 2010). NRAS provides home services for homeless people. NRAS also provide funds for homelessness especially for women, children who escaped domestic violence. NRAS focuses on underprivileged people, rent should be low so that they can afford the houses. There are many other options available which can be helpful for Sara. For example- QLD housing application for bond loan. A loan, which is interest free to cover up the rental agreement if shifting to private rental room, is called Bond Loan. This loan is valid till 4 week from the agreement made between owner and tenant and to be return back.

I can assist her for rental grant also. Granting rent for 2 weeks where to assist people in difficult situation in looking for home and moving to private rental home is called Rental Grant.

According to ASW’s code of ethics Professional integrity, Professions related to social work ask for empathy, truthfulness, commitment, competence, reliability, self-consciousness, judgment and transparency. People in the profession of social work do following practices to make their work more effective. Hence, I will help Sara to find some organizations, which can help her in crisis accommodations.

Homeless Hotline—1800 474 753

Connect—1800 811

Brisbane Homelessness Service Centre—p07 3036 4444

Townsville Homelessness Hub—07 4753 0600

Helping Sara- Depression and unemployment-Strength based approach

The next approach is to deal with depression issues of Sara. A person centric approach is beneficial to deal with her low self-esteem issues.

Professionals using strength-based approach work in collaboration. Instead of directly giving something they help people in doing things for themselves so that they can be supportive (Rashid, 2015). These practitioners value the talents, potentials and skill of other persons and communities. They know the value of their skills, knowledge, connections and capacity. Therefore, I communicate with Sara and focus on her strengths. I will appreciate her for her strength to move out from abusive relationship. The practitioners of the strength-based approach always show a cooperative attitude. They believe that people are expert in their own lives. They think that their role is to give more choices to them and encourage them to take important decisions for themselves. I will be more cooperative towards Sara and help her to tap her potential. I will help her to find out the alternatives and encourage her to make decisions. The strength-based approach inculcate hope in the client which further helps in strengthening relationships between people of different culture and communities.  I will encourage Sara to join some community programs where she can meet people like her who showed courage to turn around their lives. The practitioners of strength based approach individuals are supported to set goal first and then identify the strength whereas in strength based approach some particular strengths assessment is done with the client. I will encourage Sara to take small steps and make goals. These goals can be relationship, financial or personal goals. I will point out her strengths and utilize her strengths to make her life better. The objective of this approach is obtaining goal. It is and important and crucial element of an approach that people set goals for their lives which they want to achieve. I will ask her about her choice of filed where she would like to work. I will encourage her to explore her career choices rather than accepting the work comes in her way. I will assist her to fill center link and other job application portal for employment based on strength based approach. I will motivate her to complete her study. 

To communicate with Sara, I made sure to follow ethical considerations. I would also involve her family and explain them the significance of their support in Sara’s life. I would respect to their culture. I would also keep her information confidential. I wouldn’t ask any questions which Sara doesn’t want to questions.