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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Q-sort study of family centered casework performance MacGregor, William Dale


The evaluation of social worker performance is a problem that frequently confronts the social work profession because the profession continually seeks to discover what it is doing for, and with, the clients it serves in order to learn how to serve them better. A number of studies of effect have been launched to this end. The Area Development Project of Vancouver, British Columbia, is one such study. The project seeks to test a specific treatment method, "integrated family services", on a selected group of one hundred multi-problem families. The experimental design calls for one hundred families in the treatment group and two hundred families in two control groups in order to test the hypothesis that the demonstrating services of the project are more effective in improving the functioning of families with complex problems than the "usual agency services" of health and welfare agencies. Studies of effect on casework services too often assume that there is no significant variation in the performances of professionally trained social workers when there is little reason to believe this to be the case. This study, which was carried out in conjunction with the Area Development Project, aimed at developing a Q-sort measure of family centered casework performance that could be used to test the hypothesis that there are significant differences between the inputs of professionally trained social workers. The proposed instrument would also document any differences between social worker performances should the hypothesis prove true. The completed Q-sort of Family Centered Casework Performance was applied to the Area Development Projects' treatment group social workers to generate a performance score for each of the workers as well as a profile description of the ideal family centered casework performance. It was possible to demonstrate that the inputs of the social workers differed greatly, while at the same time develop a precise profile description of the projects' "integrated family services". The study also attempted to relate the performance levels of the treatment group social workers to client movement in the cases that the workers carried. The establishment of a definite conclusion in regard to this relationship was not possible because of limitations in time and data, however, a means of analysis was developed for use with final data from the Area Development Project when it becomes available. The introductory chapter gives a brief summary of the problem of social worker evaluation, alternative ways of dealing with the problem and a statement of the scope and limitations of the study. The Theoretical framework of the study and the methods utilized are outlined in Chapter II. In Chapter III, the study findings are presented along with descriptive data on the study sample. The thesis concludes with a brief summary of the study and its' conclusions followed by some proposals for dealing with final data on client movement when they become available.

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