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What Is a Case Study?

When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.

Deep Dive into a Topic

At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.

As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.

Study a Pattern

One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.

Gather Evidence

During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.

Present Findings

As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.

Draw Conclusions

Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.


social work law case study

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Social Work Law Case Study 4300 words



Social work came into being with the introduction of the Local Authority Social Services Act (LASSA) 1970. The Act defines the responsibilities of social workers and how these responsibilities are being applied. This assignment will explore key legislation affecting the roles and responsibilities of Local Government towards people in need of social care provisions. For the purpose of this case study, I will define “Duty” and “Power” in relation to social services legal responsibilities to service users. If a duty is imposed by law, the local authority is legally compelled to carry out a particular function. When referring to a “power” the Local Authority has an element of choice. This means the authority may act in a certain way and is not under a legal obligation to provide a service or assistant (Brammer, 2007). The combination of duties and powers facilitates decision making for Local Authorities (Clements, 2004). While the law outlines various duties and powers these are counterbalanced by issues relating to values and ethics as in the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998), which aims to ensure that all aspects of our law are compatible with human rights.

The duty social worker has a duty to warn others of the risk and also warn the patient of the risk to their behaviour (Hardcastle and Powers, 2004). As a duty social worker within the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), I would, in the case of Sharon need to apply for deprivation of liberty for hospital treatment, based on the fact that Sharon has schizophrenia which is a recognised mental health disorder under the mental health Codes of Practice 1983 (MHCOP 1983). Under section 117 of the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983, local authorities have a duty to provide after care services for any person with a mental disorder. This will include people admitted to hospital for treatment (section 3). An individual duty is placed on both local and health authorities to provide the after care services for anyone to whom certain sections of the law applies until both authorities feel the person is no longer in need of the service (Mandelstam, 2000). In this particular case the duty social worker will have the power to call for a supervision order since Sharon suffers from mental illness and has relapsed, and that there is a substantial risk of serious harm to her health and safety or of her being seriously exploited if she was not to receive the after care service to be provided under MHA 1983, s117. Also the supervision order will ensure that Sharon receives the after care service. The application for a supervision order should then be made to the health authority (MHA 1983s25a).

Application for guardianship is made by the local authority’s Approved Mental Health Practitioner (AMHP), with the agreement of the nearest relative requiring written recommendations of two medical practitioners. An application for guardianship comes with a comprehensive care plan under the Care Programme Approach (CPA). The AMHP ensures that a multidisciplinary approach is maintained in developing the care plan (Brammer, 2007)

There are issues with the duty social worker’s powers and duties to intervene which may cause an ethical dilemma for social work practice. The key issue is between preserving the patient’s autonomy as enshrined in the 1998 Human Rights Act and protecting the patient and others. It is therefore important to determine the patient’s capacity. Therefore it is useful to promote non consensual intervention when necessary in order to ensure the appropriate balance of rights, obligations and interests (Potter, 2007).

It is important that a formal process is followed and there are legal backings for the deprivation as stated in the Bournewood judgement (DH, 2006). So the Deprivation of liberty safeguards will apply to those under the 2007 MHA, people in hospitals registered under part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000, and will apply to people who lack the capacity to give informed consent to the arrangements made for their care, and need to be cared for in circumstances which amounts to a deprivation of liberty in order to protect them from harm.

Under the safeguards there are a number of assessments that can be followed. A mental health assessment could be done under s12 of the MHA 1983. A mental capacity assessment will establish that the person lacks capacity in relation to the question whether Sharon should be a resident in the hospital, and a best interest assessment, which ascertains whether the detention is in the best interest of the person being detained.

The AMHP interviews Sharon before making the decision that sectioning her is the most appropriate way to provide care and medical treatment (Brayne and Carr, 2008). Then the AMHP will liaise with Sharon’ nearest relative as advised by s13 (2) of the MHA 1983. Since Dorothy is Sharon’ nearest relative, It is important to consult with the right relative otherwise this will make the detention unlawful. The AMHP then explains the decision to detain Sharon to all relevant parties such as the doctors, Dorothy and GP. As contained in DH (2008) the AMHP also has the power to inform the police or other relevant parties to transport Sharon to the hospital (s6 MHA1983 and MHCOP 11.8).

Peay (2003) states that while the MHA1983 and MHCOP provides a clear definition of the duties and powers of the AMHP there can be an ethical issue where this conflicts with both personal and professional values.

As Natalie and Sam are now alone in the house, the AMHP has a duty to inform the Children’s Team of the children’s current circumstance. Part 3 of the Children’s Act (CA) 1989 defines Children in Need as “unlikely to achieve, maintain or have the opportunity of achieving, maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services by a local authority. Or the health and development of the children in need is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired without the provision of such service” (CA1989, S17). Local authorities have the duty to safeguard or promote the welfare of the children within their area who are in need by providing a range of appropriate services and accommodation (CA1989, S20).

Brammer (2007) states that Local authorities have a duty of consultation before making decisions around looked after children. Therefore, they must find out the wishes of the children concerned, and the parents. The local authority should also consult with others (including family members who may be seen as relevant to the matter in hand (CA 1989 s22 [4]). However, in this case Sharon will not be in the position to be consulted just yet, therefore under the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 she may not have the capacity, but may likely gain capacity again in future therefore she will still maintain responsibility. There is a duty to maintain the child and provide contact with parents, family members and friends. This is not an absolute duty and will depend on the practicalities of individual cases, and where people may be contactable (Ball and Macdonald, 2002). If it is not practicable to place the children with family members or friends (or none of them are contactable) the social worker can place Natalie and Sam in a residential home (Ball and Macdonald, 2002). But they should place them as near to their parent’ home possible.

There are a number of issues the social worker will now have to consider. Firstly, the children will now be separated as their African aunt, Rose, is only able to care for Natalie on a short term basis, as a kinship carer. Sam would then become a looked-after child. Sam will remain under the supervision order, and Sharon can be relinquished of her duties whereby the local authority can now consider adoption (Ball and Macdonald, 2002). The process of review will need to take place at the point which Sharon continues to remain in hospital and says she can no longer care for the children. However, it should also be ascertained whether Sharon had the capacity to make the decision at the time she relinquished responsibilities of the children.

Fostering should now be the step forward. This may be short or long term, it may need to be provided in an emergency, as part of a planned provision of respite care by the local authority or private carer. Foster carers do not acquire parental responsibilities by virtue of the fostering arrangement. This is governed by the Fostering services Regulation (FSR2002, s11) which provides for the approval process of foster carers and written placement agreements. The regulation states that due consideration is given to the child’s wishes and feelings, and dependant on their age and understanding, and considering religious, cultural, racial and linguistic persuasions. The clash here is between Natalie being raised by white parentage and Rose coming from an African background, and the need to promote upbringing of children by their families. These issues will be unravelled by referring to the fostering service to carry out an assessment of any person considered to be suitable to become a foster parent. Since the foster carer is a kinsperson, the rules to kinship caring apply. This arrangement is where a child who cannot be looked after by their parents goes to live with a parent or a family friend (The Children’s Legal Centre, 2008). Rose can care for Natalie under the fostering arrangements for kinship care. Davis (2009) states that where a local authority is satisfied that the immediate placement of a child is necessary they may place a child with a foster carer which is not approved for a six week period. FSR, 2002 section 38 explains the conditions under which this can be met, and the carer can be a relative or friend.

In terms of the local authority’s responsibilities, Sam and Natalie will both still be classified as Looked after Children therefore will fall under the same procedures, even though Natalie is under kinship care. The local authority would have obtained an Interim Care Order (ICO) enabling it to have parental responsibility. The care order is made if the court believes the child may suffer if the child is not under any parental control (Section 33 CA 1989). The court makes it a duty for the local authority to receive a child into their care once they receive a care order. But the local authority will also have the power to determine to what extent a parent or guardian of the child may meet his parental responsibility, particularly if they wish to safeguard the child or promote his welfare. (OPSI, 2008)

CA 1989 Section 38 stipulates the duties the local authority will have towards children and young people it looks after. This will include providing suitable accommodation near Sam’s parent’ home as contained in CA 1989 Section 34. If the authority is unable to find a close enough accommodation to Sharon’s house then the authority should make the money available to facilitate such contact (Ryden, 2005). The next responsibility would be to facilitate safe contact by family members and other relevant people. The local authority has a duty to provide Sam with a care plan which must be reviewed every 6 months after the initial review period of 1 month and 3 months.

The local authority should also consider Sam’s religious, cultural and linguistic background when placing him, though this may not necessarily be a duty for the local authority but will be seen as good practice (CA) 1989 Section 22 (5) (c).

In terms of health it is a duty for the local authority to provide regular medical examinations, as in Promoting the health of looked after children (DH, 2002a).

The local authority has a duty to support the educational achievements of Looked After Children as stipulated in the Local Authority Social Services Act (LASSA)1970 Section 7, and in Care Matters (DfES, 2007) and also in s52 CA 2004. The duty of a local authority under sub section (3) (a) to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child looked after by them includes in particular a duty to promote the child’s educational achievement. (Crown Copyright, 2004) Social workers work in partnership with the local authority in consulting with the Local Education Authority (LEA) to ensure that the right educational provisions are in place. The authority will then need to place Sam in a school within 14 days of obtaining an accommodation (Brammer, 2007).

Despite the duties the Local Authority must follow, Sam and Natalie’s wishes must be taken into account throughout, apart from consent to accommodation (Davis, 2009).

The CA 1989 section 47 places an immediate duty on the local authority to investigate a child’s circumstances when there is information that gives reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives or is found in their area is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm. Since the allegation involves a foster carer, the procedure for investigation is outlined in the Carers and Disabled Children’s Act (CDCA) 2000 and the London Child Protection Procedures (LSCB, 2007) which calls for a strategy meeting to be held within three working days involving relevant professionals (including an OFSTED representative, as it involves a child) who are expected to determine a course of action. The police should be involved because there may be a criminal act to investigate. Sam must have a medical examination within 24 hours of the bruises being identified by his aunt. The Commission for Social Care Inspectorate (CSCI) are to be notified of the incident against Sam since they regulate and inspect registered carers.

The major purpose of the investigation will now be to protect Sam as best as possible. Therefore a decision will be made as to whether to place Sam on the Child Protection Register. However, the preferred option might be to suspend the services of the perpetrator and any other children under his care.

Sam will need to be interviewed by an independent social worker trained in attaining best evidence, which promotes impartiality throughout the investigation (Brayne and Carr, 2008). If the allegation is substantiated the perpetrator may be asked to leave the home under the Domestic Violence Act (2004). A fostering panel will take place to review the situation. Every Child Matters clearly states that the police should be informed before telling the person who is subject to the allegation because a criminal investigation might take place (DfES, 2006).

Under the Care Standards Act 2000 adoption agencies are regulated by the Commission for Social Care Inquiry (CSCI). The social worker will follow the Local Authority Adoption Service (England) Regulations (2003) which provide a children’s guide to adoption services for children and prospective adopters. The social worker in an adoption case is likely to work with the children’s intended adopters, family members and other relevant parties (Brammer, 2007). The Adoption and Children’s Act (ACA) 2002 introduces provisions which obliges the court to consider arrangement for contact. Adoption and placement orders can only be made by the court. LASSA 1970 s7 provides National Adoptions Standards that must be met by the Local Authority. A few of these include, the child’ need for a permanent home to be discussed at the review meeting, a suitable adoption match. Statutory guidance to ACA 2002 is also contained in DfES (2005).

Before making a placement order the court must consider arrangements or proposals for contact, then invite the parties to comment under s26 ACA 2002. At the Adoption application stage, s46 (6) requires that before making an adoption order the court must consider arrangements made by the long term carers. If the court considers that an order for contact should be made this will be covered under s8. It is no longer possible to attach contact conditions to an adoption order. Contact will also be considered as part of subsection f in the welfare checklist (ACA2002, s1 (4)) as a necessary relationship which Natalie and Sam will have for their relatives. Once the adoption order has gone through, the biological parents are no longer parents under the CA 1989.

The court must not make any order under the Act unless it considers that making it will be better for the child than not doing so (ACA 2002, s 1(6). The court is obliged to consider whether other orders such as supervision and special guardianship might be more appropriate than adoption. The court has to consider the HRA 1998 due to the obvious interference with family life that an adoption order will effect as in the case of RE M(A Minor) (Adoption or residence order) [1998] FLR 520.

There are conditions in place for making an adoption order. Parents or guardians should consent to the adoption (ACA 2002, s20). If parents do not consent a placement order can be obtained (ACA 2002 s21). When the child has lived with the prospective adopters for up to 10 weeks, the adopters may apply for an adoption order. The adopted person will be treated by law the same way as if the adopters had given birth to them, and any other holder of parental responsibility is removed (ACA 2002 s67). The Adoption agencies Regulations 2005 require the local government to establish an adoption panel. DH (2002, p36) states that:

“The role of the adoption panel is to provide an independent perspective, informed by a broad range of expertise to monitor and quality assure social work recommendations on adoption cases”.

The panel must decide whether adoption is in the best interest of the child, the suitability of prospective adoptive parents and matching the child to the adoptive parents.

Brammer (2007) states that a patient can be discharged from hospital as soon as he or she is found not to be suffering from a mental disorder. It is then the duty of the CMHT to provide after care services until Dorothy is no longer in need of these services (MHA1983, s117). The decision will be made jointly by the health team and the CMHT. However, Dorothy is under no obligation to accept after care and has a legal right to refuse, although in reality if the patient is receiving medication and no longer takes them or plans not to take them they can be detained further. The CMHT must also complete a multidisciplinary care plan for after care. This must also include a risk assessment for discharge (DH, 1995).

Sharon can receive supervised discharge under the Mental Health (Patients in the Community) Act (1995). This will ensure that she receives after care services which the CMHT must support the application. The CMHT will have to devise a care plan once Sharon is out of the hospital. However, the CMHT must also consider Sharon’s wishes as well as her needs and that of relevant others in Sharon’s life such as family members (Clements, 2004). The Care Plan will follow the model of the Care Programme Approach (CPA). DH (1995) also stipulates that CPA should be applied to patients who are accepted by specialist psychiatric services. The National Service Framework (NSF) for Mental Health (DH, 1999) sets standards as to what the CPA must adhere. Standard 4 states that Sharon must receive care which increases engagement and reduces risks. The CPA must give Sharon a copy of her care plan which is regularly reviewed. Services must be accessed all the time.

The local authority will assess, plan, review and coordinate the range of treatment, care and support needs for Sharon under the CPA, while the service user will be involved throughout the process. FACS may apply with regards tackling inequalities to ensure that those who meet the eligibility criteria will receive the service, based on assessment of individual needs. The local government will then be able to fund those who are mostly in need. However, the CPA is not a measure of eligibility. If support under the CPA arrangement is needed this will depend on a number of factors including risk of suicide, self harm, relapse, abuse and exploitation (DH, 2008a)

The Local Authority has the power to make arrangements to promote the welfare of older people (under the Health Services and Public Health Act 1995) though they will not have the power to make the person take up the service. Under the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 section 47 the Local Authority has a duty to undertake an assessment of the needs of an individual for community care services. Dorothy can be assessed under the Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) 2002 which has four eligibility bands to help the local authority ration resources (Brayne and Carr, 2008).

The local authority has a duty to inform Sharon and Dorothy of any other services that they or any other organisation provides for people with disabilities as contained in the Disabled (Services, Consultation and Representation) Person’ Act 1986 section 1. Dorothy can also receive the relevant service for her health and social care needs, as contained in the National Framework for Older people (DH, 2001) . The Local Authority however, does not have the power to impose any service against Dorothy’s wishes, and respect her rights to take risks. The important issue in this case is to realise the capacity a person has, and balance this with the duty of the local authority to minimise risks. This will make it easier for social workers to deal with ethical dilemmas of this nature.

The local authority has a duty to offer Dorothy and Sharon direct payments for her to purchase services of her own choice and to choose her own support staff where necessary. This is covered in the Community Care, Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) Regulations 2003 section 1 and the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996.

DH (2001) guidelines also expects the Local Authority to set up a Single Assessment Process which aims to speed up response time for older people who require service and reduce duplication in assessments. However, a critic of this process is that in order to improve practice and responses, more time was actually being spent by professionals.

If a juvenile is charged with an offence, the custody officer will have to consider bail. If bail is refused the child must be remanded to appear before the youth court at the earliest opportunity. Until then the child must be accommodated by the local authority (PACE 1994, s38 (6). If the child is over the age of 12 as in Natalie’s case then this will be a secure accommodation. The police can therefore refuse bail if they believe it is in the best interest of the child to do so. Other grounds for refusing bail as stated in PACE s 38, will not apply in Natalie’s case. Brayne and Carr (2008) believes that the best interest judgement may apply where Natalie will be transferred to a local authority accommodation pending trial, which may offer more prevention from Natalie committing another offence while awaiting trial. This implies that Natalie will no longer stay with her Aunt Rose.

Natalie will then receive services from the Youth Offending team (YOT) which are required by the Crime and Disorder Act (CDA) 1998. Every child matters also set out key outcomes for children with respect to early intervention and prevention (Home Office, 2003). The Children Act 2004 then provided structural changes for the delivery of children services requesting for the police authorities, probation boards and the YOT to cooperate in improving children’s well being (DfES, 2004).

The YOT must follow the Youth Justice plan (CDA1998, S40) in order to meet national objectives. Responsibilities of YOT include making assessments of children and young persons for rehabilitation programmes to prevent reoffending, where the young person receives a reprimand or final warning; provide support for children and young persons remanded or committed on bail.

The cases outlined above included relevant areas of four care provisions where the Local Authority has powers and duties to act. These are mental health services, children and adoption services, the Youth justice system and older people’s services. These cases have shown that the law plays an important part in social work practice. While the law defines many areas of duties demonstrated in the cases which govern practice, there are also areas where social workers make decisions without being subject to the law. The assignment tackled ethical issues where this conflicts with both personal and professional values. The key issue is between preserving the patient’s autonomy as enshrined in the 1998 Human Rights Act, and protecting the patient and others. It is also useful to promote non consensual intervention when necessary in order to ensure the appropriate balance of rights, obligations and interests. The Local Authority, however, does not have the power to impose any service against people’s wishes, and must respect people’s rights to take risks. The important issue in this case is to realise the capacity a person has, and balance this with the duty of the local authority to minimise risks. This will make it easier for social workers to deal with ethical dilemmas of this nature.

Ball, C and Macdonald, A (2002) Law for Social Workers (4 th ed), Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing

Brammer, A. (2007) Social Work Law , 2nd edition, Harlow, Pearson Longman

Brayne, H and Carr, H (2008) Law for Social Workers (10 th ed) Oxford, Oxford University Press

Clements, J (2004) Community Care and the Law , London, LAG Education and Services Trust

Davis, L (2009) The Social Workers Guide to Children and Families Law , London, Jessica kingsley

DfES (2007) Care Matters: Time for Change, London, The Stationary Office

DfES (2006) Every Child Matters: Working Together to safeguard Children: a guide to inter agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children , London, The Stationary Office

DfES (2004) Every Child Matters: Change for Children in the Criminal Justice System , London, The Stationary Office

DH (2008) Code of Practice, Mental Health 1983 , London, The Stationary Office

DH (2008a) Refocusing the Care Programme Approach: Policy and Positive Practice Guidance , Crown Copyright

DH (2006) Bournewood Briefing Sheet , London, The Stationary Office

DH (2002) A Fundamental Review of the Operations of Adoption Panels , London, The Stationary Office.

DH (2002a) Promoting the Health of Looked After children, London, The Stationary Office.

DH (2001) National Service Framework for Older People and System Reform, London, Crown Copyright

DH (1999) National Service Framework for Mental Health: Modern Standards and Service Models , London, Crown Copyright

DH (1995) Building bridges: A guide to arrangements for interagency working for the care and protection of severely mentally ill people , London, Stationary Office.

Hardcastle, D, Powers, P and Wenocur, S (2004) Community Practice: Theories and Skills for Social Workers, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Home Office (2003) Youth Justice – The next Step: Companion document to Every Child Matters , London, Crown Copyright

Home Office (1998) Establishing Youth Offending Teams , London, and Crown Copyright

London Safeguarding Children Board (2007) London Child Protection Procedures , 3 rd edition, London, LSCB

Mandelstam, M. (2000) An A-Z of Community Care Law, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Potter, M (2007) Mental Health Capacity and Non Consensual Intervention: A Human Rights Perspective, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Review, Issue 5, summer 2007,

Peay, J (2003) Decisions and Dilemmas: Working with Mental Health Law , Oregan, Hart Publishing

Ryden, N (2005) Family Support in Children and Families . In Jowit, M and O’Loughlin, S (ed) 2005, Social Work with Children and Families , Exeter, Learning Matters Limited.

Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI, 2008) Care order: last accessed 05/11/2008

The Children’s Legal Centre (2008) Kinship Care: accessed 02/04/09

Adoption and children’s Act 2002

Adoption agencies Regulations 2005

Carers and Disabled Children’s Act 2000

Children’s Act 1989

Children’s Act 2004

Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996.

Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Fostering Service Regulations 2002

Health Services and Public Health Act 1995

Human Rights Act 1998

Local Authority Social Services Act 1970

Mental Health Act 1983

Mental Capacity Act 2005

Mental Health (Patients in the Community) Act (1995)

National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990

Re M (A Minor) (Adoption or residence order) [1998] FLR 520.


Social Work Law Essay

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Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010) sets out the guidelines on how the setting and individuals should work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. This is in conjunction with the Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004. This document covers what to do when there are concerns about a child and the correct procedures to follow. In addition it states the roles and responsibilities of different agencies and practitioners, summary of the nature and impact of child abuse, training requirements for effective child protection and how to best operate best practice in child protection procedure.

Case Study in Social Work Practice

This essay will identify a case I have been involved in and have continuously had to assess whilst on placement. It will refer to a child who will be identified as A. A is a young carer and has only recently returned home after being removed from his mothers care due to her having a substance abuse problem and mental health concerns. I will link the legal framework that was relevant to this case study and describe actions taken. Additionally these actions will demonstrate the application of social work methods and theories that were contributive elements in his intervention, offering explanations as to why these particular methods were used. Before closing, the essay will review any issues of discrimination with a reflection of the

Social Workers and Policy Advocacy Essay

As a social worker it is important to engage in policy practice. It is a part of the profession, whether you like it or not. It is an aspect that can change the way things are done for clients in a good way or bad. If you want to be more affective in practice, advocating for policies is one way of making sure your clients receive what they deserve. Chapin (2011) talks about how as a social worker you cannot take on every social policy issue, but it is important to consider the policies that affect your client population.

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social work law case study

Social Work Law Case Study

Social work and the law looks at the interface between the practice of social work and the legal system that includes statutory law, case law and legal institutions. Law is central for social work practice in that many social work clients will inevitably be involved in legal systems such as child protection. As social workers, it’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations relevant to the client in order to be able to effectively provide support and advice. Social work practice in NI is influence by and guided by a number of legislations and laws it’s important for social work to be guided by transparent rules etc. (Parker reference) as often involved in difficult ethical decision making. At the heart of social work practice is the …show more content…

In this essay, the author

Human rights are inseparable from all parts of social work practice including theory, values and ethics and likewise practice. Social work practice as such incorporates aspect of the law as a sound guideline for decision making and likewise as a baseline for how each individual should be treated. Working with a human rights framework, Social workers can facilitate the inclusion of individuals marginalized, vulnerable or at risk, they can address and challenge barriers that exist in society and likewise can formulate and implement policies and programs that enhance peoples welling, their human rights and likewise social …show more content…

The largest growth in claims occurred in 2001, following the implantation of the human rights act in 2000, with the percentage of ECHR claims increasing to 63% of all judicial review cases being presented. This increase in ECHR cases being presented remained high in following years and highlights that awareness of human rights protections and a willingness to invoke the rights substantially increased following the implementation of the Human Rights Act, indicating that the ECHR has had a significant impact on the legal culture of Northern Ireland. However, despite this major increase, judges I Northern Ireland have found to be unwilling to act upon or enact any proceedings regarding the ECHR claims with only one declaration of incompatibility being issues since 2000. (Weiden,

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Essay about Social Work Law

Social Work Law This assignment involves a case study where Ralph, a fourteen year old boy, is currently in foster care because his mother; Kerry, felt she was unable to control him due to his behaviour. However, Kerry has now expressed that she is unhappy with this foster placement and has requested that her son be returned to live with her and his two younger brothers. The scenario becomes more complex owing to the fact that Ralph has disclosed that his mother had regularly hit him with a walking stick. In this essay I will seek to consider the main practice issues raised by the scenario of the case study. Using the materials provided within the course along with my own professional experience, I will outline relevant legislation …show more content… As the social worker involved with this case, I would want to carry out an assessment before Ralph returns home to his Mother. However, Ralph is in foster care voluntarily which means that his mother can return him home as she wishes. Under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, any person who has parental responsibility for a child may at any time remove the child from accommodation provided by or on behalf of the Local Authority under this section [s.20 (8) ]. Nonetheless, section 20 would be the most desirable option as it would be the least oppressive way to accommodate the young person while the assessment takes place. This would require cooperation from Kerry, Ralph’s mother. I would visit Kerry and try to explain the situation and the concerns that I and the other professionals had. This is likely to have a devastating impact on Kerry so this must be done in a sensitive way. The local authority is under obligation to work in partnership with the families of children in need or at risk. Sections 22 and 61 of the Children Act 1989 require local authorities and voluntary organisations to consult, where reasonably possible, with the child and the parents before making any decision in relation to the child (Block 3, p103). Before considering keeping Ralph in foster care, I would want to explore other options of residence. The case study does not mention Ralph’s birth father or whether he currently has a relationship with him. This would Show More

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Social Work Practice with Carers

social work law case study

Case Study 2: Josef

Download the whole case study as a PDF file

Download the whole case study as a PDF file

Josef is 16 and lives with his mother, Dorota, who was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder seven years ago. Josef was born in England. His parents are Polish and his father sees him infrequently.

This case study looks at the impact of caring for someone with a mental health problem and of being a young carer , in particular the impact on education and future employment .

When you have looked at the materials for the case study and considered these topics, you can use the critical reflection tool and the action planning tool to consider your own practice.

Support plan

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Transcript (.pdf, 48KB)

Name : Josef Mazur

Gender : Male

Ethnicity : White European

Download resource as a PDF file

Download resource as a PDF file

First language : English/ Polish

Religion : Roman Catholic

Josef lives in a small town with his mother Dorota who is 39. Dorota was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder seven years ago after she was admitted to hospital. She is currently unable to work. Josef’s father, Stefan, lives in the same town and he sees him every few weeks. Josef was born in England. His parents are Polish and he speaks Polish at home.

Josef is doing a foundation art course at college. Dorota is quite isolated because she often finds it difficult to leave the house. Dorota takes medication and had regular visits from the Community Psychiatric Nurse when she was diagnosed and support from the Community Mental Health team to sort out her finances. Josef does the shopping and collects prescriptions. He also helps with letters and forms because Dorota doesn’t understand all the English. Dorota gets worried when Josef is out. When Dorota is feeling depressed, Josef stays at home with her. When Dorota is heading for a high, she tries to take Josef to do ‘exciting stuff’ as she calls it. She also spends a lot of money and is very restless.

Josef worries about his mother’s moods. He is worried about her not being happy and concerned at the money she spends when she is in a high mood state. Josef struggles to manage his day around his mother’s demands and to sleep when she is high. Josef has not told anyone about the support he gives to his mother. He is embarrassed by some of the things she does and is teased by his friends, and he does not think of himself as a carer. Josef has recently had trouble keeping up with course work and attendance. He has been invited to a meeting with his tutor to formally review attendance and is worried he will get kicked out. Josef has some friends but he doesn’t have anyone he can confide in. His father doesn’t speak to his mother.

Josef sees some information on line about having a parent with a mental health problem. He sends a contact form to ask for information. Someone rings him and he agrees to come into the young carers’ team and talk to the social worker. You have completed the assessment form with Josef in his words and then done a support plan with him.

Back to Summary

Josef Mazur

What others like and admire about me

Good at football

Finished Arkham Asylum on expert level

What is important to me

Mum being well and happy

Seeing my dad

Being an artist

Seeing my friends

How best to support me

Tell me how to help mum better

Don’t talk down to me

Talk to me 1 to 1

Let me know who to contact if I am worried about something

Work out how I can have some time on my own so I can do my college work and see my friends

Don’t tell mum and my friends

Date chronology completed : 7 March 2016

Date chronology shared with person: 7 March 2016

social work law case study

Young Carers Assessment

Do you look after or care for someone at home?

The questions in this paper are designed to help you think about your caring role and what support you might need to make your life a little easier or help you make time for more fun stuff.

Please feel free to make notes, draw pictures or use the form however is best for you.

What will happen to this booklet?

This is your booklet and it is your way to tell an adult who you trust about your caring at home. This will help you and the adult find ways to make your life and your caring role easier.

The adult who works with you on your booklet might be able to help you with everything you need. If they can’t, they might know other people who can.

Our Agreement

Signed: ___________________________________

Young person:

Signed: ____________________________________

Name :             Josef Mazur Address :       1 Green Avenue, Churchville, ZZ1 Z11 Telephone:        012345 123456 Email:            [email protected] Gender :         Male Date of birth :        11.11.1999        Age: 16 School :            Green College, Churchville Ethnicity :        White European First language :        English/ Polish Religion :         Baptised Roman Catholic GP :            Dr Amp, Hill Surgery

The best way to get in touch with me is:

Do you need any support with communication?

*Josef is bilingual – English and Polish. He speaks English at school and with his friends, and Polish at home. Josef was happy to have this assessment in English, however, another time he may want to have a Polish interpreter. It will be important to ensure that Josef is able to use the words he feels best express himself.

About the person/ people I care for

I look after my mum who has bipolar disorder. Mum doesn’t work and doesn’t really leave the house unless she is heading for a high. When Mum is sad she just stays at home. When she is getting hyper then she wants to do exciting stuff and she spends lots of money and she doesn’t sleep.

Do you wish you knew more about their illness?

Do you live with the person you care for?

What I do as a carer It depends on if my mum has a bad day or not. When she is depressed she likes me to stay home with her and when she is getting hyper then she wants me to go out with her. If she has new meds then I like to be around. Mum doesn’t understand English very well (she is from Poland) so I do all the letters. I help out at home and help her with getting her medication.

Tell us what an average week is like for you, what kind of things do you usually do?

Monday to Friday

Get up, get breakfast, make sure mum has her pills, tell her to get up and remind her if she’s got something to do.

If mum hasn’t been to bed then encourage her to sleep a bit and set an alarm

College – keep phone on in case mum needs to call – she usually does to ask me to get something or check when I’m coming home

Go home – go to shops on the way

Remind mum about tablets, make tea and pudding for both of us as well as cleaning the house and fitting tea in-between, ironing, hoovering, hanging out and bringing in washing

Do college work when mum goes to bed if not too tired

More chores

Do proper shop

Get prescription

See my friends, do college work

Sunday – do paper round

Physical things I do….

(for example cooking, cleaning, medication, shopping, dressing, lifting, carrying, caring in the night, making doctors appointments, bathing, paying bills, caring for brothers & sisters)

I do all the housework and shopping and cooking and get medication

Things I find difficult

Emotional support I provide…. (please tell us about the things you do to support the person you care for with their feelings; this might include, reassuring them, stopping them from getting angry, looking after them if they have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs, keeping an eye on them, helping them to relax)

If mum is stressed I stay with her

If mum is depressed I have to keep things calm and try to lighten the mood

She likes me to be around

When mum is heading for a high wants to go to theme parks or book holidays and we can’t afford it

I worry that mum might end up in hospital again

Mum gets cross if I go out

Other support

Please tell us about any other support the person you care for already has in place like a doctor or nurse, or other family or friends.

The GP sees mum sometimes. She has a nurse who she can call if things get bad.

Mum’s medication comes from Morrison’s pharmacy.

Dad lives nearby but he doesn’t talk to mum.

Mum doesn’t really have any friends.

Do you ever have to stop the person you care for from trying to harm themselves or others?

Some things I need help with

Sorting out bills and having more time for myself

I would like mum to have more support and to have some friends and things to do

On a normal week, what are the best bits? What do you enjoy the most? (eg, seeing friends, playing sports, your favourite lessons at school)

Seeing friends

When mum is up and smiling

Playing football

On a normal week, what are the worst bits? What do you enjoy the least? (eg cleaning up, particular lessons at school, things you find boring or upsetting)

Nagging mum to get up

Reading letters

Missing class

Mum shouting

Friends laugh because I have to go home but they don’t have to do anything

What things do you like to do in your spare time?

Do you feel you have enough time to spend with your friends or family doing things you enjoy, most weeks?

Do you have enough time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, most weeks?  (for example, spending time with friends, hobbies, sports)

Are there things that you would like to do, but can’t because of your role as a carer?

Can you say what some of these things are?

See friends after college

Go out at the weekend

Time to myself at home

It can feel a bit lonely

I’d like my mum to be like a normal mum

School/ College Do you think being your caring role makes school/college more difficult for you in any way?

If you ticked YES, please tell us what things are made difficult and what things might help you.

Things I find difficult at school/ college

Sometimes I get stressed about college and end up doing college work really late at night – I get a bit angry when I’m stressed

I don’t get all my college work done and I miss days

I am tired a lot of the time

Things I need help with…

I am really worried they will kick me out because I am behind and I miss class. I have to meet my tutor about it.

Do your teachers know about your caring role?

Are you happy for your teachers and other staff at school/college to know about your caring role?

Do you think that being a carer will make it more difficult for you to find or keep a job?

Why do you think being a carer is/ will make finding a job more difficult?

I haven’t thought about it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish my course and do art and then I won’t be able to be an artist.

Who will look after mum?

What would make it easier for you to find a job after school/college?

Finishing my course

Mum being ok

How I feel about life…

Do you feel confident both in school and outside of school?

Somewhere in the middle

In your life in general, how happy do you feel?

Quite unhappy

In your life in general, how safe do you feel?

How healthy do you feel at the moment?

Quite healthy

Being heard

Do you think people listen to what you are saying and how you are feeling?

If you said no, can you tell us who you feel isn’t listening or understanding you sometimes   (eg, you parents, your teachers, your friends, professionals)

I haven’t told anyone

I can’t talk to mum

My friends laugh at me because I don’t go out

Do you think you are included in important decisions about you and your life? (eg, where you live, where you go to school etc)

Do you think that you’re free to make your own choices about what you do and who you spend your time with?

Not often enough

Is there anybody who knows about the caring you’re doing at the moment?

If so, who?

I told dad but he can’t do anything

Would you like someone to talk to?

Supporting me Some things that would make my life easier, help me with my caring or make me feel better

I don’t know

Fix mum’s brain

People to help me if I’m worried and they can do something about it

Not getting kicked out of college

Free time – time on my own to calm down and do work or have time to myself

Time to go out with my friends

Get some friends for mum

I don’t want my mum to get into trouble

Who can I turn to for advice or support?

I would like to be able to talk to someone without mum or friends knowing

Would you like a break from your caring role?

How easy is it to see a Doctor if you need to?

To be used by social care assessors to consider and record measures which can be taken to assist the carer with their caring role to reduce the significant impact of any needs. This should include networks of support, community services and the persons own strengths. To be eligible the carer must have significant difficulty achieving 1 or more outcomes without support; it is the assessors’ professional judgement that unless this need is met there will be a significant impact on the carer’s wellbeing. Social care funding will only be made available to meet eligible outcomes that cannot be met in any other way, i.e. social care funding is only available to meet unmet eligible needs.

Date assessment completed :            7 March 2016

Social care assessor conclusion

Josef provides daily support to his mum, Dorota, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder seven years ago. Josef helps Dorota with managing correspondence, medication and all household tasks including shopping. When Dorota has a low mood, Josef provides support and encouragement to get up. When Dorota has a high mood, Josef helps to calm her and prevent her spending lots of money. Josef reports that Dorota has some input from community health services but there is no other support. Josef’s dad is not involved though Josef sees him sometimes, and there are no friends who can support Dorota.

Josef is a great support to his mum and is a loving son. He wants to make sure his mum is ok. However, caring for his mum is impacting: on Josef’s health because he is tired and stressed; on his emotional wellbeing as he can get angry and anxious; on his relationship with his mother and his friends; and on his education. Josef is at risk of leaving college. Josef wants to be able to support his mum better. He also needs time for himself, to develop and to relax, and to plan his future.

Eligibility decision :                Eligible for support

What’s happening next :            Create support plan

Completed by Name : Role : Organisation :

Name: Josef Mazur

Address 1 Green Avenue, Churchville, ZZ1 Z11

Telephone 012345 123456

Email [email protected]

Gender: Male

Date of birth: 11.11.1999 Age: 16

School Green College, Churchville

Ethnicity White European

First language English/ Polish

Religion Baptised Roman Catholic

GP Dr Amp, Hill Surgery

My relationship to this person son

Name Dorota Mazur

Gender Female

Date of birth 12.6.79 Age 36

First language Polish

Religion Roman Catholic

Support plan completed by


Date of support plan: 7 March 2016

This plan will be reviewed on: 7 September 2016

Signing this form

Please ensure you read the statement below in bold, then sign and date the form.

I understand that completing this form will lead to a computer record being made which will be treated confidentially. The council will hold this information for the purpose of providing information, advice and support to meet my needs. To be able to do this the information may be shared with relevant NHS Agencies and providers of carers’ services. This will also help reduce the number of times I am asked for the same information.

If I have given details about someone else, I will make sure that they know about this.

I understand that the information I provide on this form will only be shared as allowed by the Data Protection Act.

Josef has given consent to share this support plan with the CPN but does not want it to be shared with his mum.

Mental health

The social work role with carers in adult mental health services has been described as: intervening and showing professional leadership and skill in situations characterised by high levels of social, family and interpersonal complexity, risk and ambiguity (Allen 2014). Social work with carers of people with mental health needs, is dependent on good practice with the Mental Capacity Act where practitioner knowledge and understanding has been found to be variable (Iliffe et al 2015).

Mental capacity, confidentiality and consent

Social work with carers of people with mental health needs, is dependent on good practice with the Mental Capacity Act where practitioner knowledge and understanding has been found to be variable (Iliffe et al 2015). Research highlights important issues about involvement, consent and confidentiality in working with carers (RiPfA 2016, SCIE 2015, Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland 2013).

Young carers

A young carer is defined as a person under 18 who provides or intends to provide care for another person. The concept of care includes practical or emotional support. It is the case that this definition excludes children providing care as part of contracted work or as voluntary work. However, the local authority can ignore this and carry out a young carer’s need assessment if they think it would be appropriate. Young carers, young adult carers and their families now have stronger rights to be identified, offered information, receive an assessment and be supported using a whole-family approach (Carers Trust 2015).

Young carers of parents with mental health problems

The Care Act places a duty on local authorities to assess young carers before they turn 18, so that they have the information they need to plan for their future. This is referred to as a transition assessment. Guidance, advocating a whole family approach, is available to social workers (LGA 2015, SCIE 2015, ADASS/ADCS 2011).

Tool 5: Family model for assessment

Young carers and education/ employment

Transition moments are highlighted in the research across the life course (Blythe 2010, Grant et al 2010). Complex transitions required smooth transfers, adequate support and dedicated professionals (Petch 2010). Understanding transition theory remains essential in social work practice (Crawford and Walker 2010). Partnership building expertise used by practitioners was seen as particular pertinent to transition for a young carer (Heyman 2013).

Image: The Triangle of Care (cover)

Download The Triangle of Care as a PDF file

The Triangle of Care Carers Included: A Guide to Best Practice in Mental Health Care in England

The Triangle of Care is a therapeutic alliance between service user, staff member and carer that promotes safety, supports recovery and sustains wellbeing…

Capacity Tool

Download the Capacity Tool as a PDF file

Capacity Tool Good decision-making Practitioners’ Handbook

The Capacity tool on page 71 has been developed to take into account the lessons from research and the case CC v KK. In particular:

The tool allows you to follow steps to ensure you support people as far as possible to make their own decisions and that you record what you have done.

Know your rights - Young Carers in Focus

Download Know your rights as a PDF file

Tool 3: Know Your Rights Young Carers in Focus

This pack aims to make you aware of your rights – your human rights, your legal rights, and your rights to access things like benefits, support and advice.

Need to know where to find things out in a hurry? Our pack has lots of links to useful and interesting resources that can help you – and help raise awareness  about young carers’ issues!

Know Your Rights has been produced by Young Carers in Focus (YCiF), and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Tool 4: Vision and principles for adults’ and children’s services to work together to support young carers

Download the tool   as a PDF file

You can use this tool to consider how well adults’ and children’s services work together, and how to improve this.

Tool4: vision and principles

Click on the diagram to open full size in a new window

This is based on ADASS and ADCS (2015) No wrong doors : working together to support young carers and their families

Download the tool as a PDF file

You can use this tool to help you consider the whole family in an assessment or review.

What are the risk, stressors and vulnerability factors?

How is the child/ young person’s wellbeing affected?

How is the adult’s wellbeing affected?

Family Assessement Model

What are the protective factors and available resources?

This tool is based on SCIE (2009) Think child, think parent, think family: a guide to parental mental health and child welfare

Download the tool as a PDF file

Tool 6: Engaging young carers

Young carers have told us these ten things are important. So we will do them.

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Working in Partnership with the Department Health

Social Work and the Law - Case Study Example

Social Work and the Law

Extract of sample "Social Work and the Law"

In other instances, abuse reports from hospital visits were ignored and the child was returned to her abusers. The Timeline article noted that three social workers were sacked after a public inquiry by Lord Laming found them guilty of negligence. Since Victoria's death, there has been an upheaval in reforms to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults, especially in the areas of social work and the government in the UK. Under the Children's Act of 2004 (Smith 2005), legislation in the following areas has been introduced: physical and mental health, emotional well being, protection from harm and neglect, education training and recreation, contributions by children to society, and social and economic well being.

The question becomes whether these generalized areas can become focused enough to matter. Studies indicate that the basic areas affected by the Act are the rights of children through the revised Mental Health Act; needs of pupils through Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA)__related to the number of new international family arrivals; disability awareness training; the Education Act 2005; help for people with dementia through the International Health Study related to quality of life; the need for new legislation prohibiting discrimination because of sexual orientation, and the effort to balance work and life in the community (Background 2006).

This is an ambitious enterprise, but given past history, it is not likely that the Children Act 2004 will resolve all of the issues in conflict. There is presently a two-year assessment underway funded by the Nuffield Foundation which began in October 2004 and will continue to September 2006. The assessment is based on the Human Rights Act of 1998 which brought the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK domestic law, and the purpose is to determine anti-discriminatory measures available under the Equality Bill which extend to children and young people (All Party Parliamentary 2005).

One concern in the Climbi inquiry was allegation of racism. Victoria was African and spoke little English (Timeline 2003). At present, no police officers criticised by the inquiry have lost their jobs, and one of the social workers involved has been allowed to resume working with children (Climbi Inquiry 2005). With anti-discrimination a key concern in the UK and Blacks, ethnic minorities and the disabled the focus of many reforms underway, the social aims of the UK government are commendable, but one wonders if they can actually change public perception in a way that creates a safe environment for children.

The policies contained in the law have weaknesses. The Equality Bill allows for enforcement against anti-discriminatory actions, but, according to the Child Impact Statement, "its powers in relation to the Human Rights Act 1998 are primarily promotional." Clause 9(2)(a) of the Equality Bill defines human rights as ECHR rights specifically, though subsection (b) enables the new Commission on Equality and Human Rights to exercise its functions in respect of other human rights. This could include the UN Convention on the Rights of the

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social work law case study


  1. Social Work Practice and the Law (eBook Rental)

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  2. Social Work Law Training

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  3. Social Work Law Training

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  4. Case Study Report In Social Work

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  5. How To Write Social Work Law Case Study Assignment?

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  6. How To Write Law Case Study?

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  1. Learning Law & Social Change

  2. Ethics and the Law in Social Work 03 Sep 2022

  3. Social Legislation

  4. CA Foundation Law Case Study questions and answers I CTC Classes

  5. The Intersection of Social Work and Criminal Justice

  6. Doctrine of Indore Management


  1. Why Do People Study Law?

    People typically study law in order to work in a profession that requires the knowledge of the law, such as a judge, lawyer or legal aide.There are many different kinds of people who study law and even more reasons why a person chooses to s...

  2. What Is a Case Study?

    When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to lear...

  3. Why Are Case Studies Important?

    Case studies are important because they help make something being discussed more realistic for both teachers and learners. Case studies help students to see that what they have learned is not purely theoretical but instead can serve to crea...

  4. Real Cases Project: Law and Social Welfare

    introduction to Law for Social Work students. B. Relevance of the Case Studies to the Course. The case studies will be used both to explain key legal

  5. Social Work Law Case Study 4300 words

    LAW ASSIGNMENT CASE STUDY. Introduction. Social work came into being with the introduction of the Local Authority Social Services Act (LASSA) 1970.

  6. Social Work Law Essay

    Free Essay: Social Work Law This assignment involves a case study where Ralph, a fourteen year old boy, is currently in foster care because his mother;...

  7. Social Work Law Case Study

    Social work and the law looks at the interface between the practice of social work and the legal system that includes statutory law, case law and legal...

  8. Essay about Social Work Law

    Social Work Law This assignment involves a case study where Ralph, a fourteen year old boy, is currently in foster care because his mother; Kerry, felt she.

  9. Social Work Case Study for Law

    A case study in social work and law social work case study for law social work case study for law course name institution location of institution date

  10. Grade: B

    complexities that are present in the social work profession within the legal framework. This. assignment will focus on Case Study 3 (Mr Khan) and will be

  11. Case Study 2: Josef

    in particular the impact on education and future employment.

  12. SoCial Work CaSE StuDiES

    Social. Workers are often given considerable powers under the law to intervene in private lives and enforce changes. When and how is it ethical to use

  13. Case Studies

    The following case studies were included to highlight different ways that social workers can assess and intervene with issues of social isolation.

  14. Social Work and the Law Case Study Example

    Social Work and the Law - Case Study Example. Add to wishlist Delete from wishlist. Cite this document. Summary. According to a BBC Timeline (2003) the murder