Role of Caseworker in the field of Social Work.


  1. Introduction
  2. History of the term 
  3. Social casework
  4. Multicultural prevalence and acceptability  


A caseworker is a social worker who works for a government agency, a nonprofit organisation, or another organisation to take on individual cases and provide advocacy, information, and solutions. Caseworkers are also used by legislators as a type of legislative staffer to provide services to their constituents, such as dealing with individual or family issues. With the intent to provide social services such as therapy, a social worker must obtain a Master's degree. A Master's degree from an accredited university is required of a titled Social Worker, who usually, but not always, pursues a state licence after completing graduate school in the professional setting. For better use of their allotted funds, British MPs and members of the US Congress frequently provide constituent services through caseworkers.

History of the term

The emergence of social casework as a general professional discipline is closely linked to the history of social casework. The formation of the Charity Organization Society and the Settlement movement in the late nineteenth century marked the beginning of efforts to alleviate industrial poverty. While social casework was a common intervention method, it wasn't until Mary Richmond's 1917 book Social Diagnosis that a formal definition for the field emerged. Richmond advocated for working with clients rather than against them in Social Diagnosis, and for gaining a "sympathetic understanding of the old world backgrounds from which the client came" rather than making broad generalisations or assumptions. Based on each client's unique background, problems, and individualised needs, the term "social diagnosis" came to mean "a systematic way for helping professionals to gather information and study client problems."

Social casework

Social casework is a method used by social workers to help people find solutions to social adjustment problems that are difficult for them to solve on their own. Social casework is a type of social work that focuses on the adjustment and development of individuals and, in some cases, couples, in order to achieve more satisfying human relationships. The relationship between a caseworker and their client in social casework is one of support, with the goal of "enabling an individual to solve a problem through self-efforts." The social casework relationship is a dynamic interaction of attitudes and emotions between the social caseworker and the client with the goal of meeting the client's psychosocial needs and allowing the client to better adjust intrapersonally (interactions and transactions) within the respective environment. The initial assessment of a client's current, relevant past, and possible future modes of adaptation to both stressful situations and normal living situations is called psychosocial assessment. Every social casework process has the goal of problem solving; the caseworker does not solve the problem for the client, but rather assists the person in the situation in adequately solving or confronting the problem within the individual's weaknesses and strengths to the end of overall development.

Values in social casework

"To enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty," says the social casework profession. 

Values maintained in casework are:
  • Every individual has inherent worth and dignity. Every individual has the right to self-determination. 
  • Every individual is the primary concern of society, has potential for and the right to growth. 
  • Every individual, in turn, has to contribute to the society's development by assuming his social responsibility. 
  • The individual and society in which one lives are interdependent. 
  • Basic human needs have to be met by services which are not dependent upon in accord either to moral behaviour or to race, nationality, or caste. 

Stages in social casework process 

The stages are:
  • Intake and Rapport building/ initials 
  • Clinical exploration of the problem/ Interview 
  • Assessment 
  • Intervention/ Treatment 
  • Monitoring and Evaluation 
  • Follow-up and 
  • Termination 

Case management

From assessment to comprehensive intervention for equitable client care, social work case management connects clients to services that improve their functional capacity. "Case management is a mechanism for ensuring a comprehensive programme that will meet an individual's need for care by coordinating and linking components of a service delivery system," according to the National Association of Social Workers (1984). It is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual's health needs through communication and the provision of available resources in order to promote qualitative and cost-effective outcomes. Health needs are addressed within the social model of health, which includes psychosocial, recreational, cultural, and linguistic needs as well as physical/biological and medical factors. The context, formulation, and definition of a problem define these requirements.

Since the late 1980s, case management has also been referred to as "service coordination" or "care coordination." "A client-centered, assessment-based, interdisciplinary approach to integrating health care and psychosocial support services in which a care coordinator develops and implements a comprehensive care plan that addresses the client's needs, strengths, and goals," according to the National Association of Social Workers. The first is based on the service organization's objective goals, while the second is dependent on the individual or group who benefits from the service. Case management varies by setting, depending on policies, tolerance, and objectives; however, efficiency in services is a common feature. Caseloads are one factor that has an impact on efficiency. When it comes to caseload and efficient workload management, the United States Department of Children and Families recommends no more than 12–15 open/active cases and 8–10 new referrals per month. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) reported in 2009 that this post-2008 allocation of caseload management showed 90% efficiency in services and quality of practise. According to Minnesota Workload Analytics, for evidence-based stabilising and strengthening the workforce, a general work load hour for case management is 3.30 hours, with 1.45 hours for case intake. Traditional individual – family assessment takes 3.45 hours – 12.45 hours. Overhiring and expanding employee benefits are common practises in social services to increase caseload handling. Increasing caseloads above 35 cases per caseworker per month attracted repeated maltreatment reports, according to Arizona's Department of Economic Security surveys, and the ideal client to case manager ratio suggested is 10:1. They concentrated on expanding prevention services to reduce caseloads, which had a positive impact. The larger the caseload, the less direct care is provided, and brokerage and crisis management services are provided. Case management is a type of direct social work practise that entails the creation and implementation of a case plan as well as the administration of case management systems to ensure that services are delivered effectively. As a result, the case manager is responsible for resource development, service management, lean leadership, cost control, resource distribution, and authority management. Case management is also known as service management because of the resource control aspect.

The generic phases of case management are similar to the casework process:
  • Screening and rapport building 
  • Psycho-social assessment and problem conceptualization 
  • Care planning within the prioritization of needs 
  • Specific resource allocation 
  • Implementation of a plan; service co-ordination 
  • Monitoring and review 
  • Termination/Closure or re-assessment
In case management practice there are different models used:
  1. Case management – Assessment, monitoring, referral and coordination plus direct service role. 
  2. Case monitoring model – Assessment, monitoring, referral and coordination only. 
  3. Brokerage – Assessment, sub-contract/support services, monitor outcomes. 
  4. Advocacy – Assessment, advocate for services, monitor outcomes. 
  5. Managerial case management – Reviewing assessment and management plans submitted by caseworkers, monitoring costs, authorizing expenditure. 

Multicultural prevalence and acceptability

A large number of organisations in the United Kingdom, particularly in the voluntary and public sectors, employ caseworkers. Most government agencies in the United States that provide social services to children from poor or troubled families employ caseworkers, who are each assigned a percentage of the cases under review at any given time. Caseworkers in Australia may be assigned to child welfare, drug and alcohol services, or community health organisations. In 2004, the United States had approximately 876,000 child welfare caseworkers. Seventy-two percent of caseworkers are women, with an average salary of $64,590.


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