Social Work Case Studies

Respond to each case study.

a. Identify key DEIPAR issues important to supervision of the case (worker and client).

b. State your recommendation for addressing the core issues (previously identified).

c. From a supervisory/leadership perspective, state your recommendation for resolving or

preparing for readiness. Consider rooted resolve over superficial resolve.

3. Each response should be 3-5 paragraphs, written in APA 7th edition, essay format, minimum of six

references. Use course and/or outside materials or research to strengthen your recommendations.

Case Study #1: Social Work Supervision

One of your roles in the counselor education program at a local university is to run a practicum clinic and

provide group and individual supervision. A new practicum counselor, Hazel, was in her early twenties

and, prior to entering practicum, had discussed her history of physical abuse, mentioning she never

wanted to have to file an abuse report. During her practicum experience, she received individual

supervision from a Licensed Clinical Social Worker adjunct faculty member who had worked in the child

welfare system. As Clinical Director, you provided both group supervision and on site, as-needed

supervision. Hazel was assigned a client through the clinic. In this instance, the client was a 14- year-old

Latina cis-gender female who lived with her father and stepmother due to prior neglect by her mother.

During treatment, the 14-year-old client disclosed that she smoked marijuana and drank strawberry

wine coolers with her mother and minor cousins during a weekend visit.

Clinic procedure requires student counselors to obtain immediate supervision if a client makes an

allegation of abuse or neglect. Hazel did not come out of the session to report the incident and said

nothing after the session concluded. Later, during her one hour individual supervision session, the

supervisor watching the tape realized that the child’s statement required a protective services report.

Her supervisor walked Hazel through the procedures of writing and filing the report, which Hazel did

without resistance. Several days later, Hazel came into your office and stated, “I feel like crap, I’ve

ruined her life”.

Hazel expressed fear that the client would never return for counseling, and fear that the client would

hate her. She reported imagining all sorts of consequences including that the child’s father would no

longer allow the child to see her mother and that the child would no longer disclose information if she

returned to counseling. She questioned her decision to make an abuse or neglect report and reported

feeling angry at her supervisor.

Hazel’s reaction was consistent with reactions reported in the literature and did not bode well for future

ethical practice. You and Hazel discussed the issue first from a legal standpoint. Reminding her that as a

mandated reporter she must make the report or risk her license and possible criminal charges. Then you

addressed the issues from an ethical perspective, reviewing the ethical codes including welfare to client,

confidentiality, boundaries, and multiple or dual relationships. You challenged Hazel on viewing herself

as the child’s protector and taking responsibility for her happiness. You linked her reaction to her own

personal history and discussed how her countertransference impeded her ability to make ethical


Finally, you processed her feelings, relating them back to her own history of abuse and focused on how

that history brought up pain and fear. While she seemed to express an understanding of her role as a

counselor and acknowledged how her feelings were impeding her judgment, her difficulty with the

situation continued. The next time she met with her client in a recorded session, the client stated,

“someone called protective services and I had to talk to them” and Hazel said nothing. She did not admit

to making the report and appeared uncomfortable and nervous in the videotaped session. The client

made several statements during the session trying to get Hazel to admit her role in the neglect report,

but Hazel shut down and said nothing. The client continued by stating that a police officer accompanied

the protective service worker, “a white cop who was rude”, and who “embarrassed and scared the

family just being there”. The client stated further “I can’t believe somebody would send white cops to

our house; we don’t need them, we never did.” Hazel remained quiet and attempted to change the

subject. You bring your observations of the session to Hazel in an individual supervision session.

Currie, N. (2021). Case Studies in Decolonized Social Work Supervision. Manuscript in preparation.

Pickover, S., Golomb, S., & Bennett-Garraway, J. (2017). Case examples in clinical supervision: The challenge of

mandated reporting. The Practitioner Scholar, 6, 108-118.

Case Study #2: Social Work Leadership

You are a Clinical Director for small community-based agency in a rural area. The agency provides

outpatient behavioral health services and case management. You manage a team of three clinicians, two

graduate clinical interns, and three case managers. The agency founder and board hired you two years

ago to create, launch, and manage the program. This program is near to you as it primarily serves a

vulnerable population that you also self-identity with.

As the program grows and becomes successful, you begin to experience a change in your working

relationship with the agency founder and Executive Director. He begins to undermine your decision

making, holds up important projects, and is unsupportive with your guidance of agency staff. You ask to

speak with privately where you express your concerns. He is warm and engaged during your meeting

and promises to support your vision and management of the program.

The very next week he is back to his previous behavior, creating barriers for you to management the

program, second guessing your work, and patronizing your follow up with him. He has even gone as far

as to suggest you might benefit from a mentor and has scheduled you a meeting with one of the agency

board members, a local psychiatrist. You attend the meeting and explain your concerns with the

program and overall work culture. The board member listens attentively and appears engaged. After

responding to your appeal the board member compliments your appearance with a flirtatious smile. The

board member then invites you to their home to meet their partner and join them for a wine tasting.

You graciously decline, feeling awkward about the ask.

The next week the board member and ED meet with you to inform you that you will now be managed by

the board member and should report to them for approval in decision making. The board member is

now a paid part time employee and continues the contentious work environment the ED has created.

You make a final appeal to the ED reporting the inappropriate conversion and invite from the board

member and your overall dissatisfaction with your experince at the agency as of late. Your appeal is met

with concern in the moment but ultimately falls on deaf ears. No steps to resolve your concerns or

difficult work environment are initiated by the ED or board member. The agency board was handpicked

by the ED and any communication including grievance to the board is circumvented by the ED. You feel a

tremendous sense of obligation to your clients especially being the only clinician/social work leader

specializing in your focus area and population in the area. However, the work environment is almost

unbearable and your personal life and emotional health have begun to suffer.

Currie, N. (2021). Case Studies in Decolonized Social Work Supervision. Manuscript in preparation.

Text that you can draw from for references

Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castañeda, C. R., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zúñiga, X.

(2010). Readings for diversity and social justice. New York: Routledge.

Aldarondo, E. (Ed.). (2007). Advancing social justice through clinical practice. Lawrence

Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Kadushin, A., & Harkness, D. (2014). Supervision in social work (5th ed.). Columbia

University Press.

Miller, J., & Garran, A. M. (2017). Racism in the United States: Implications for the helping


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