Radical Casework Essay

1626 words - 7 pages

IntroductionThe purpose of this assignment is to provide a framework to distinguish how radical and non-radical perspectives can be used. The paper will explore a range of casework and socio-political orientation theories through discussion of the unique challenges of Vanessa Thomas and her children (case study).Radical casework is quite different to the traditional or non-radical approach. Traditional understanding puts emphasis on the individual and sees the social environment as a mixture of interpersonal relationships and roles within the direct social surroundings of family, friends, and work; (Bailey & Brake, 1975; Galper, 1980). On the other hand, the radical approach includes ideas of how various aspects of the broad socio-economic framework, such as dominant beliefs, exploitative and oppressive practices in power, affect the individual. It aims to address the structural inequality in the wider society. Certain principle values of both approaches can appear at times to conflict. Thompson (2000) says that these values do not conflict, but asks that the person is seen as an individual and part of a wider 'web of social and political factors'. Petruchenia and Thorpe (1990) go one step further stating that the difference between radical and more conventional casework is related to the interpretation of the 'social milieu'.Presenting ProblemBuilding on the assignment case overview, the following information provides an abbreviated history on Vanessa's experiences to now.Early Childhood ·Father was an alcoholic & physically abused family members·Mother separated from Father when Vanessa was nineTeenage Years:From 13-18 Vanessa substance abuse developed starting with alcohol and occasional cannabis use and through to amphetamines/cocaine · Started to get involved in petty crime ·By 18, drugs were needed to feel 'normal'.Twenties:Increased drug addiction resulted in more serious criminal offences - stealing, armed robbery and prostitution.·Vanessa gave birth to two children during this periodThirties:At age 34, jailed for armed robbery· Undertook drug rehabilitation program and was subjected to racism Released from prison at 37AssessmentVanessa presented as defensive, distrustful and confused - and explained her major problems as accommodation and financial support. Some physical signs (e.g. shaking, sweating and dilated pupils) indicated that she was under the influence of drugs. Discussions indicated that family support networks are non-existent. Religion and cultural issues prevent her from contacting her family and her ex-partner has moved inter-state. Her financial situation is dire, as her ex-partner does not support the family - resulting in reliance on government assistance. The children have been in foster care for three years and are now readjusting to living with their mother. There is enormous social pressure on the family due to unemployment, discrimination and poverty. Substance...

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