The psychosocial evaluation case study was based on YouTube video HSM 405. It is about a case manager who performs a psychosocial evaluation for a middle-aged mother called Jane. Jane’s chief complaint is that the child protection agency claims that she doesn’t take good care of her two kids and the agency wants to take the kids away from her. The purpose of this essay is, therefore, to answer questions based on the case manager’s interaction with his client Jane.
What the Case Manager Did Well and What He Could Improve
The case manager conducted the interview pretty well, focusing on mining of the most critical issues. He did an introduction for them to get to know each other, albeit the names. The first thing in every psychosocial evaluation is the introduction. It determines whether the interviewer will fully open up or will switch off from following parts of the assessment (Ferguson, 2016). Secondly, the case manager applied sound manners in taking turns. He never interrupted Jane as she speaks, and he correctly probed for the one piece information at a time. Additionally, the case manager kept nodding in agreement and jotting down notes as Jane spoke.
However, there are a few areas that the case manager needs to improve on. First, he kept touching his phone and computer throughout the session which, according to Ferguson (2016), are signs of inattentiveness. Playing with the objects would also signal that he is not interested in the client’s stories. So, he needed to avoid using the gadgets during the assessment session. During the introduction, he never created a strong rapport with the client. He never applied any ice-breaker. He just brushed over the names as a ‘by-the-way’ and went straight to the assessment. This can could stir a considerable resistance in the client.
Additionally, he never maintained eye contact throughout the evaluation. He ought to have kept eye contact with the client to indicate that indeed he was listening. The third aspect that he could improve on is the facial expression. A lot of information can be drawn from the expression we show on our faces. Implicitly, the case manager’s facial gestures could show scorn and disdain. Finally, he needs to avoid distractors. Getting distracted by his phone and laptop made him forget something as simple as the number of kids that the client had.
Questions to ask
According to Featherstone, Morris, White, and White (2014), you cannot take a child away from his/her parents because of just one isolated reason like poverty. Therefore, the foster case manager has to ask a set of questions to come to the core of the problem and establish the need for foster care. First, the case manager needs to assess the safety of the children from physical abuse, psychological torture, or infestation with parasites, dirt, rodents, and bugs. Security is the central theme in child protection.
Next, the caseworker needs to determine the ability of the parent to care for the kids effectively. This depends on the mental stability of the parent and their drug history. For instance, a parent who has a severe mental health problem or who drinks too much alcohol cannot take proper care of the kids and can put the well-being of the children in jeopardy. The final question involves the source of income for the family. A stable source of income is necessary for the children to have food security, to have decent clothes, and to access education like other kids.
Albeit lightly, the caseworker gathered a considerable lot of information from Jane. He questioned the availability of the father to the kids and how responsible he was. He also probed the source of income for the family to see if it was stable enough to guarantee proper life to the kids. Additionally, he asked dug into Jane’s drug abuse profile. Finally, the case manager questioned the availability of food for the kids and the type of food they usually eat. These give almost ninety percent of the information needed.
Engaging a Resistant Client
Customer resistance is inevitable, and there are several ways of engaging such a client. First, I would appreciate the fact that I cannot change the client but rather techniques. Trotter (2015), advises that a case manager only needs to focus on the interaction with the client and let change happen naturally. Furthermore, it is the interaction itself that bears the resistance anyway!
Next, I would try to understand the client’s world and the possible reasons behind their resistance. There is always a valid reason that makes the client respond the way they do. For instance, a client might show resistance because he/she knows that some accusation against them is real and they want to avoid responding to it. The other technique is to accept that clients often use resistance to meet their need for accomplishment and power (Trotter, 2015). Finally, I would end the interview and meet the client at a later date.
If I were the case manager, I would gather more information on the mental health of the client and whether she had ever visited a psychiatrist before. I would also probe her to reveal how she deals with the kids whenever she finds them in a mistake. That would help determine whether her children are at risk of physical abuse or psychological trauma. Finally, I would gather information on Jane’s plans to take her children to school. Education is critical, and if she has no plans of educating her kids, that will give a further leeway for the need of foster care.
Services I would Provide to the Client
There is a vast range of services that I would offer the client to help both herself and her children. First, I would provide drug testing services. From her account and the observation of the child-protection service agents, she takes a beer. She admits that she usually takes one bottle of beer every night except when she was pregnant. However, the chances are that she could be consuming toxic amounts of beer and other drugs as well. Featherstone and his colleagues (2014) posit that such clients should undergo a proper expert drug test and even rehabilitation programs.
Besides that, I would assist her to access depression management and mental health assessment services. According to Fitzgerald, Torres, Shipman, Gorrono, Kerns, and Dorsey (2015), most single parents suffer depressive illness which might even precipitate mental health problems. Jane admits that her husband is an irresponsible man. Which means that she has to shoulder the whole burden of taking care of the kids. This can overwhelm her and depress her considerably.
The other services I would offer her include emotional intelligence therapy, anger management training, parenting lessons and training on how to live a healthy life for her and her children. Most parents do not have the slightest hint on how to take care of their children and how to manage anger, which might make them injure their children in one way or the other (Featherstone et al., 2014). So, it is imperative to educate parents on such matters. Finally, I would help her to understand what to do in case the child protection takes her children away.
Featherstone, B., Morris, K., White, S., & White, S. (2014). Re-imagining child protection: Towards humane social work with families. Policy Press.
Ferguson, H. (2016). What social workers do in performing child protection work: evidence from research into face‐to‐face practice. Child & Family Social Work, 21(3), 283-294.
Fitzgerald, M. M., Torres, M. M., Shipman, K., Gorrono, J., Kerns, S. E., & Dorsey, S. (2015). Child welfare caseworkers as brokers of mental health services: A pilot evaluation of project focus Colorado. Child maltreatment, 20(1), 37-49.
Trotter, C. (2015). Working with involuntary clients: A guide to practice. Routledge.