For Instructors - Riverton

The Case of Riverton

The Riverton case is the “community case,” and it is rich and detailed. Rather than outline all of the characters, services, and landmarks, I would direct you to the case file, which describes the features of the community (population size and composition); the presenting problem (the presence of a “wet” homeless shelter in the neighborhood has created a problem with trash; urinating and defecating on or near residential property, etc.); and the social worker’s role.

I have intentionally made the social worker both a resident of the community, and a social worker who has been tasked with finding a workable solution to this problem. This invites a discussion of ethics. For example, does the social worker (who I have called “you” to personalize this) have a dual relationship problem, as both a resident who doesn’t like their property marred, and a social worker, who recognizes that the homeless must be housed adequately somewhere? How do you deal with this?

I have also developed a sociogram, a companion tool with the interaction matrix. Although the interaction matrix provides more detail about the nature of the relationships, the sociogram invites the instructor to talk with students about its use as a visual tool for depicting community relationships.

This case also provides the student with an ecological model of drinking behavior. How can they use this model to help them think about how to deal with this problem?

In the case file, under the section titled “Your Concerns,” the issue of the Alcohol Impact Zone comes up. Later, such a zone is described (briefly, this is a a legal device that allows for the imposition of statutes in which certain forms of alcohol, usually malt liquor, and other low-cost alcohol, may not be sold in certain communities, and usually in places (like Alvadora) where there is a concentration of persons who are homeless. It effectively prevents them from buying large quantities of alcohol. This will likely prove to be the best intervention that the student can come up with (it was the best intervention that I could come up with!). Thus, make sure that when students read this section of the case that they are directed to do research on what an alcohol impact zone is.

A Note to Instructors about The Riverton Case
- Fall, 2011

by Alice A. Lieberman, University of Kansas

If You Have Any Questions or Comments About This or Any Other Case on Our Website, Please Contact Me Via Email. I Really Do Answer Very Quickly! My Email Is Alicel@Ku.Edu. Thanks!