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For Instructors - Brickville


This case involves an entire community faced with major decisions about development, as well as a resident family experiencing transition. This case, therefore, provides students with a multi-level client system that mirrors real-life practice challenges—families challenged by their changing environment. To best incorporate this case into courses, instructors should familiarize themselves with the case files that describe the features of the Brickville community (population size and composition), the presenting problems (a redevelopment plan created without community input and a family’s struggles within that context), and the social worker’s roles. Becoming familiar with the backgrounds and assessments of the Stone family members, their presenting concerns (decisions to be made about caregiving, housing, and a memorial playground), and the social worker’s role with the family is essential. Instructors should also provide support for students around skills and challenges in community practice, including where and how such practice diverges from social work with individuals. The social worker, who lives and works in the Brickville community, has been tasked with finding workable solutions to a variety of problems with diverse clients’ systems.

A town map, sociogram, and an interaction matrix have been developed. Instructors are encouraged to use the map for students to become more familiar with the community. The sociogram can serve as the springboard for discussion about the nature of relationships between elements in the community and how, then, interventions within one element of this system may affect other parts. The case can also introduce students to community needs assessments; there is a needs assessment matrix whereby students can test their beginning knowledge by selecting needs assessment methods that best fit specific scenarios. Students will also benefit from use of the genogram, ecomap, and sample forms to work with the Stone family.

There are opportunities for instructors to devise their own activities based on this case. Theoretical frameworks can inform direct practice interventions with the family based on knowledge of human behavior in the environment, as well as interventions with the community. Community development scenarios can inform policy discussions at the national or local level. This case can also help your students explore policy issues that impact the families in Brickville. Have your students do a dual assessment; using this approach, think about how current policies and programs may be contributing to the challenges families in Brickville face, and policy changes that could improve families’ outcomes. Then have them think about how they may engage with the people of Brickville and use their policy practice skills to impact these policies, and how working on the macro level could build on and enhance their work with a family such as the Stones.