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Caseworkers working with groups : a survey and assessment of casework agencies using groups of clients and relatives of clients for educational and treatment work, Greater Vancouver. Kerr, Ann

Abstract

In many social agencies today, caseworkers are working with groups of clients or relatives of clients and there are increasing references to this development in the literature. The purpose of the present study was to discover? (a) the extent of the use of such groups by caseworkers in the Greater Vancouver Area; (b) the administrative policy on the subject; (c) the views and experience of supervisors in the group method, including problems of supervising caseworkers; (d) the experience and also the training of caseworkers in these groups. Questionnaires were utilized to obtain most of the data. They were sent to the casework agencies of the Greater Vancouver Area, to the administrators of agencies with caseworkers using the group method, and to the supervisors of such caseworkers. An interview schedule was prepared to use in interviews with caseworkers who were "change agents" in a group. The evidence is that increasing numbers of social workers in the Greater Vancouver Area are working with groups of people rather than singly. The administrative level reflects much uncertainty about the appropriate policy to develop in the use of group methods. Supervisors are on the whole not experienced in this technique, and questions on how to supervise caseworkers working with groups need to be answered. Caseworkers are favorably impressed with the usefulness of groups as a way of helping clients and relatives of clients, but most of them lack adequate training in group method. To improve services, there is now a need for a classification system of group services to be employed in casework agencies, and there is an urgent need for training, probably with the aid of Schools of Social Work Instructors, to help caseworkers become proficient in this new development of group method.

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