8 Principles of social case work


Social work is a hands-on profession that strives to help people and families deal with their different problems. The exact work that social workers perform depends on their specific field. For example, a Child Welfare social worker, or case worker, will spend every day dealing with foster children, bio-parents and the juvenile courts. Specifically, Child Protective Service (CPS) case workers are empowered to remove children from unsafe homes and place them in state custody. They do this because of observable neglect, abuse, threat of harm and safety issues. Many of their clients come from lower socio-economic levels and struggle with poverty, homelessness and substance abuse. On the other hand, Permanency case workers deal with children and teens in permanent foster care. They work to find long-term care providers or people to adopt their client's children.

Objective of social case work

The basic purpose of social work is to enable the client to enjoy with some degree of permanency, more satisfying, effective and acceptable experiences in the social situations in which he find himself. To achieve this goal efforts are made to bring effective changes in the client’s environment or social living situations. According to Witmer, the chief aim of social case work is that of helping people to mobilize their capacities for the solution of the problems that brought them to the attention of social agencies. Most of the writers of social work like Moffet and Hollis have emphasized that one of the main objective of social case work is to bring about an adjustment between the individual client and his situation or environment. Bowers mentioned two objectives: better adjustment in the social relationships of the individual and the development of individual personality. According to Perlman, within the boundaries of what the client wants, his capacities and the resources of skills and materials means of the agency and community, the specific goal is to help him achieve his previous level of functioning of which he is capable of this time.

The purpose of social case work is to help an individual client to solve his psycho social problems in such a way so that he find himself capable of dealings with these problems at present and also may solve in future if such problems arise. Thus social case work has the following objectives as mentioned by P.D.Mishra; To understand and solve the internal problems of the individuals v To strengthen his ego power v Remediation of problems in social functioning v Prevention of problems in social functioning v Development of resources to enhance social functioning.

Principles of social case work

1-Principle of Acceptance Social caseworker accepts the client as he is and with all his/her limitations. He/she believes that acceptance is the crux of all help. It embraces two basic ideas --- one negative and one positive. He/she does not condemn or feel hostile towards a client because his/her behaviour differs from the approved one. Later on, he/ she tries to modify his/her behaviour step by step. Acceptance implies liking the client irrespective of his negative qualities and conduct. It is an expression of good will towards the client and criticisms if any are done out of goodwill. It is conveying deep concern and active understanding to the client who is liked by the worker in spite of his problem—behavior for which he is hated or punished by the society. No effective relationship is possible without accepting the client.

2- Principle of Confidentiality Confidentiality is based upon the basic right of the client; it is an ethical obligation of case worker and is necessary for effective case work service. Everyone prefers to keep his things to himself and saves it from leaking out unless It’s divulge is more beneficial to the person. Once the worker imbibes the value of worth and dignity of an individual, he will refrain from encroaching upon the client’s privacy and maintain the confidence repose in him. Once the client loses confidence in him, he will not believe the worker and the while process of communication will break down, and impossible will be the task to assist the helpee in his problems or in fulfillment of his needs

3.- Principle of relationship is the basis of all help. The relationship should develop around the act of helping the client. Helping the client is the purpose for which interaction takes place between the worker and client which is affected by their experiences of relating with people in the past, their expectations from each other and anxieties about the situation, values that governing their lives, norms of behavior , knowledge and experience about the subject matter of interaction. Necessary to develop relationship is the worker’s training in and mastery of inter personal skills like active awareness, building trust, communicating, listening and expression of feelings etc

4. Principle of Resource utilization Services are provided to the individual in recognition of his contributions to the society. It is only because of this that the government takes care of those who are not cared by any one. Example: orphans, destitute, handicapped etc.

5. Principle of individualization No two persons are alike in all qualities and traits. Their problems may be the same but the cause of the problem, the perception towards the problem and ego strength differs in every individual. Therefore, each individual client should be treated as a separate entity and complete information is required to establish close relations in order to solve his/her problem from root.

6. Purposeful expression of feelings. Purposeful expression of feelings is the recognition of the client’s need to express his/her feelings freely, especially his/her negative feelings. The caseworker listens purposefully, neither discouraging nor condemning the expression of those feelings.

7. Principle of controlled emotional involvement The case worker must not be emotionally involved with the client during the case work process, when the client communicates his/ her feelings or problems with the case worker. The case worker has to respond to all feelings of the client with his knowledge and understanding. The social caseworker tries to understand the client’s feelings and emotions but he/she himself/herself does not involve emotionally in his/her problems

8. Principle of self determination It is the practical recognition of the rights and need of the client to have freedom in making his own choice and decision in the case work process. Social responsibility, emotional adjustment and personality development are possible only when the person exercise his freedom and choice and decision. Case workers have to give this right to the client so that he can decide and take best possible action in his self interest.


Thank You