Socw2061 A3

Socw2061 A3

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Socw2061 A3

Contrasting a Problem Solving and Strengths-based Approach

The problem-based approach makes several assumptions including the idea that the clients lack competence, the professional is responsible for defining the nature of the problem, and that treatment is aimed at ensuring that the client overcomes the problem. The approach contrasts with the strengths-based approach, which recognizes that people have diverse capabilities, skills, resources, gifts, and aspirations that they can use for their development. Furthermore, the strengths-based approach recognizes that clients are capable of making their own decisions, and that these individuals can act in the best way (Tong, 2011). The strengths-based approach also identifies that the interaction that the individual has with his or her social environment influences individuality and contributes to personal history.

I have different perspectives on social issues. One of these viewpoints is acknowledging that clients should be given a voice in making decisions. Admitting that they have to deal with their problems is essential since the professional is not expected to implement an alternative without the clients’ input (Pattoni, 2012). At the same time, some of the clients may not be competent enough in decision-making. The respective incapacity may be the case with some of the patients who have a mental illness. In this case, the professional can apply some choices on behalf of the client. However, this does not mean that the professional has the sole responsibility of defining the nature of the problem that the client is facing.

Practicing from a Strengths-based Perspective

Sherry’s resilience is shown by her ability to take care of her mother from a young age and enduring abuse from her father. She has five children who have a small age difference between them even though she is only 28. She has managed to bring up her children well with minimal support from their fathers despite encountering mistreatment from her current boyfriend. She realizes that she has to get help to deal with the violence and is willing to work with Karen on this matter. Karen helps her by coming up with a safety plan, which will ensure that Sherry and her children have somewhere to go in case the maltreatment escalates (Unfried, 2010). The assistance that Karen offers to Sherry is pertinent in resolving the abusive situation.

Karen and Sherry differ primarily in their upbringing and current life situation. While Karen is married and leads a stable life, Sherry has already had three men in her life and is in a violent relationship. Karen is also literate while Sherry does not have an adequate educational experience further adding to their diversity (Unfried, 2010). However, Karen does not let this difference influence her decision. Instead, she finds a way to help Sherry, such as looking at developing a safety plan to ensure that Sherry has a place to live. I support Karen in her decision, as I would take the same approach to ensure that Sherry continues to take care of her family. I would also go a step further and convince Gavin to consider funding Sabrina to ensure that she acquires the help needed.

Identifying Helping Skills in Involuntary Client Relationships

Donna and Kevin know that they need help so that they can be able to take care of their children. Kevin has already demonstrated his desire to nurture them by seeking help and by informing the agency that he does not want his children to be placed under custody. He is confident that Donna will get the help she needs for her alcoholism and will return home to take care of the children (Unfried, 2010). Parents often respond with fear when they are dealing with CPS workers, and this may hinder them from cooperating. I would begin by developing trust with Donna and Kevin and reassuring them of the need to do what is best for their children. The strategy would require telling them to get rid of marijuana and any drug-related business they might have.

I would assist Kevin in getting employment and ensure that Donna can complete her treatment. Going above procedural requirements is one of the ways of building trust. Moreover, parents are more likely to engage if they feel supported (Schreiber et al., 2013). Showing concern for Donna and Kevin is vital in developing a positive relationship. Development of good helping relationships is imperative as it can enable the social worker to change the clients’ attitudes and perceptions. The tactic goes beyond the primary function of social control in child welfare. It is also crucial to ensure that the emergence of conflict does not prevent the social worker and the client from collaborating (Boer & Coady, 2007). Guaranteeing that both parties concur is central to the family’s wellbeing in the long-term.

Child Protection in Practice

Children who are abused and neglected are likely to become violent when they become adults. According to a study by The John Howard Society of Alberta (2010), how children grow up influences how they end up leading their adult lives. The correlation is significant, considering that children face different forms of abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional maltreatment, as well as exposure to intimate partner violence (Government of Canada, 2009). The research also demonstrates the importance of implementing the established child safety policies. It is critical to ensure that children understand that they do not have to live their lives in a dangerous and detrimental environment that is full of conflict, fights, and other vices. Children need to be protected from such settings because they are likely to copy the behaviors they see.

Removing the children from abusive environments may end up saving them. Some of the children do not have role models who they can emulate. In several cases, a number of the policies are insufficient to protect the children (Kufeldt & McKenzie, 2011). The law is their only refuge, as it will ensure that they live in a safe place. The children need to understand that they can live positively and in healthy environments. However, providing them with contexts that contribute to their welfare cannot happen without the establishment of laws and policies aimed at protecting them. It will also help in reducing crime rates in the future since abused and neglected children are more likely to become offenders (The John Howard Society of Alberta, 2010). Therefore, if the children are kept safe from an early age, then they will not have the time to engage in behaviors that will lead to crime.

Anti Oppressive Practice

The problem-based approach focuses on a person’s deficiencies, and necessitates the use of a professional to come up with answers and solutions to the current issue (Hammond, 2010). Using this approach would involve identifying all of the problems that Sherry has. She does not have a sufficient level of education, has unstable relationships, and a problematic child. Sherry also depends on assistance, seems to tolerate violence, which she ends up exposing to her children, has too many children than she can manage, and does not have financial stability (Unfried, 2010). In this case, the approach recognizes most of the problems faced by the client adequately.

The problem-based approach fails to identify the strengths that Sherry has demonstrated. Therefore, a social worker who chooses to use this approach would not recognize Sherry’s ability to take care of her children. Instead, she would recommend the removal of children under the client’s responsibility. On the other hand, using a strengths-based approach is more appropriate since it ensures that Sherry receives the support she needs to take care of her family.


Boer, C., & Coady, N. (2007). Good helping relationships in child welfare: Learning from stories of success. Child and Family Social Work, 12, 32-42.

Government of Canada. (2009). Canadian incidence study of reported child abuse and neglect 2008. Retrieved from

Hammond, W. (2010). Principles of strength-based practice. Retrieved from

The John Howard Society of Alberta. (2010). Family violence relationship between domestic violence & child abuse. Alberta: The John Howard Society of Alberta.

Kufeldt, K., & McKenzie, B. (2011). Child welfare: Connecting research, policy, and practice Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Pattoni, L. (2012). Strengths-based approaches for working with individuals. Retrieved from

Schreiber, C. J., Fuller, T., & Paceley, S. M. (2013). Engagement in child protective services: parent perceptions of worker skills. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 707-715.

Tong, M. (2011). The client-centered integrative strengths-based approach: Ending longstanding conflict between social work values and practice. Canadian Social Science, 7(2), 13-22.

Unfried, B. (2010). A day (and night) in the life of a social worker. Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd.

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