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Case work in a neighbourhood house : the role and performance of a case worker in a group work setting Baycroft, Bernice Winnifred


This study describes and evaluates the role and the performance of the case worker in a group work agency, on the basis of a student project which was carried out in "Gordon House", a neighbourhood house in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. Two case work students from the School of Social Work at the University of British Columbia were assigned to the House as a second-year field placement, to set up case work services. The period of the project was from September, 1949 until May, 1950. The study analyses a sample set of cases, (records which were compiled by the students during the project), giving particular consideration to (l) the kinds of problems clients brought to the case worker, (2) the activities of the case worker in this setting, and (3) what the case workers added to the services which the agency already offered. The project as a whole is analysed, with particular reference to (a) problems of setting up the service, (b) the experimental interest of the project for social work practice, and (c) the value of the project to the community. Considerable evidence was found to verify that there is a place for a case worker in the neighbourhood house, and that this place is one in which the case work function can find adequate fulfilment. A wide variety of personal problems are encountered in the membership of the House, and it requires a case worker with broad knowledge and skill as a practitioner to deal with them. The case worker's role in the House is one which is complementary to group work, and which does not overlap existing community case work services. Working together, group workers and case workers can provide a specialized service for those seeking better personal adjustment. The special significance of the study is in its clarification of the problems and advantages of adding a case worker to the staff of a group work agency, and what this can do for case work-group work cooperation in the community. It is hoped that the study will stimulate thinking with regard to the combined use of existing social work skills, (group work and case work), on the treatment level and that something further will develop in the community to which this study might contribute, which would provide adequate treatment services for disturbed children.

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