SW 313 (A Report with Sample Case Study on the Functional Approach of Social Work)

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A report on the Functional Approach of Social Work (Philippine Setting) with sample case study from DSWD XI-RRCY; has ma...


A Report with Sample Case Study on the FUNCTIONAL APPROACH OF SOCIAL WORK By Johynne Amilyn G. Nasa 3 – BSSW Ateneo de Davao University, S.Y. 2010-2011 ―Human growth expresses purpose and constitutes a process.‖ -Ruth Smalley, 1970

To be functional is to accomplish or do a particular purpose for which a person or thing is specially fitted. In social work profession, function is the purpose or end product of an agency, organization, etc. e.g. the function of a government agency may be to ameliorate the living conditions of distressed Filipinos (De Guzman, 1993). It was first developed in the 1930s by the faculty members of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, principally by Jessie Taft, Virginia Robinson and Ruth Smalley, and is based from the philosophy of Otto Rank, a German psychoanalyst and student of Sigmund Freud. In casework, Functional Approach refers to the delivery of the service as the focus of intervention. According to Smalley, it is a method for engaging the client through a relationship that is essentially one-to-one, in the use of a social service toward his own and the general social welfare. The concept of the ―use of agency function‖ as basic in social work helping was introduced by Taft which resulted into the Pennsylvania School being known today as the ―functional school‖. The Functional Approach has particular applicability to the Philippines due to the existence of countless social agencies providing services to very varied client needs (Mendoza, 2008). This helping process has a psychological base and a therapeutic approach derived from Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory (Diagnostic Approach). However, there are three (3) characteristics of Functional Approach that makes it different from that of the Diagnostic Social Work: 1. It works from a ―psychology of growth‖ - The social worker engages the client in a helping process which releases the latter’s own power of choice and growth. - It sees the human being as capable of modifying both himself and his environment in accordance with his own purposes and within the limits of his own capacity and his own environment.


2. The purpose of the agency guides the social worker’s over-all purpose - It gives focus, direction and content to the worker’s practice. - The worker’s goal is to realize the purpose of her agency in the interest of the client, the agency and the society. 3. Social work is viewed as a helping process through which an agency’s service is made available - The social work method is directed in ―having to do with the initiating, sustaining and terminating of a process in human relationships‖. - The client and the worker will agree on what the former can do with the service that is being made available. Five (5) Principles that guides the Functional Approach: 1. Understanding of the phenomenon served (diagnosis) 2. Worker’s conscious use of time phases in the process (beginnings, middles and endings) 3. Use of agency function 4. Conscious use of structure (time, place, agency policy and procedure) 5. Use of relationship

Important Notes: 

    

While majority of social workers espoused the Freudian Theory, a small group adapted the approach of Otto Rank led by Jessie Taft and the faculty of the School of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. This group came to be called as the ―Rankians” or ―functionalists‖. (Functional) Caseworkers help people learn to live in the present and make the best of themselves with the resources that are currently available. (Functional) Caseworkers never speculate on the type of change anticipated or desired for setting goals is considered a prerogative of the client. By recognizing the limitations inherent in the situation, only the client can determine what the future can and should be. The technique of setting time limits is a hallmark of the Functional Approach. This approach can be applied both with individuals and with groups.


Republic of the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development REGIONAL REHABILITATION CENTER FOR YOUTH Bago Oshiro, Tugbok District, Davao City

SOCIAL CASE STUDY REPORT I. Identifying Data Name: a.k.a. ―Larry‖ Age: 17 years old Birthday: January 10, 1993 Civil Status: Single City Address: Brgy. 21-C, Piapi Boulevard, Davao City Religion: Roman Catholic Educational Attainment: 1H

Sex: Male Birthplace: Digos City Nationality: Filipino

II. Family Composition Name of Members Cesar Sr.

Relationship to Client Father





Educational Attainment 3H

Susan Nerissa Cesar Jr.

Mother Sister Brother

Female Female Male

38 22 19

4H 4H 1H

Occupation Furniture Maker Housekeeper Housekeeper Furniture Maker

III. Presenting Problem The client was recently turned over to DSWD-RRCY for temporary custodial care and rehabilitation by the personnel of Ma-a City Jail. He is now 17 going 18, yet after two years, his case is still on trial. IV. History of the Case On the 24th of January 2008, Larry and his brother, Cesar Jr., were on their way to visit their mother. They were about to ride a jeepney somewhere along Matina when a certain boy came closer and without any provocation from Larry, attempted to stab him. Upon noticing the commotion, Cesar Jr. came to the rescue and stabbed his brother’s attacker using the knife which he was able to take away from the aggressor himself. After which, the siblings ran away taking different route while the other boy was brought to the hospital by the onlookers and was later declared dead on arrival. 3

Larry and his brother hid for a while but after ten days, they were found and arrested by the authorities. They were detained at Talomo precinct for more than a week and were eventually transferred to Ma-a City Jail. A murder case was filed against them and the trial is still ongoing at RTC Branch 12, Davao City. Client’s Background Larry is the youngest among the three children of Cesar Sr. and Susan. He stands 5’ 5‖, of medium built and with fair complexion. He is neat at all times and carries himself well. A silent type of person, he does not talk much but nevertheless, his silence did not make him less participative in the activities being held at the agency. He is also a keen observer and has wellthought ideas to share. During his stay at BJMP-Ma-a City Jail, he was considered as one of the most reliable and trusted inmates, giving him some privileges during his stay there. Prior to this, the client experienced loitering in the streets for almost a year. While there, Larry shared that he was able to meet and make friends with other boys his age. He claimed that it was because of them why he learned to engage in vices such as drinking, smoking, sniffing rugby as well as taking part in gang riots. Indeed, that was what made up Larry’s life for a while. But when realization of his activities’ negative effects came, he decided to go back home and start anew. He enrolled himself as a freshman in a nearby public school with the help of his father. He was already doing fine when the stabbing incident happened. Family Background Larry is a product of a broken family and, together with his brother and sister, was left under the welfare of their father upon their parents’ separation when he was barely four years old. At that time, his mother eloped with another man, leaving him and his two other siblings with their father. His father and brother are the breadwinners in the family. They provide for the family’s daily needs with their work as furniture makers. Larry describes his father as a good person. According to him, they always talk about things and resolve every issue in a calm way. He also said that they are happy and contented even without their mother. His sister now became the one in charge of the place their mother once hold and long vacated. They are patriarchal when it comes to decision-making and their sister, being the eldest, is next to their father in terms of power inside the home. 4

Initially, the family resides in Digos City, Davao del Sur but when Larry’s parents parted ways, the children were brought by their father in Piapi Boulevard, Davao City where they rented a house. It now serves as their permanent residence for years now. Their place is not conducive for the growth and development of a teenager like him. There are many bystanders hanging around in the neighborhood. These people that eventually became Larry’s peers has primarily influenced him to loiter in the street, engage in vices and become a member of a gang called CIA, also known as City Innocent Angels. V. Assessment Based on the client’s statement, he neither stabbed nor provoked the victim in any way and argued that his brother only defended him. The attempt to stab Larry could probably be motivated by a vengeance from another gang member whom the client and his fellow gang members have encountered and fought with in a riot before. Larry’s association with the CIA or City Innocent Angels has been the main root of his problem. If it were not for the gang’s past ―adventures‖, which made him earn some ―enemies‖ along the way, he and his brother would not be involved in such crime. On the contrary, this happening is rather anticipated and expected due to the family set-up that the client had. The absence of his mother at the early stage of his life and the reality of having a broken family made him seek for belongingness and security outside the home and he got it from his peers who mostly have the same situation with him. Given the companionship and momentary ―fun‖ they brought him, Larry, at first, did not mind the negative influence they have on him. When he did, it was already a little too late. Furthermore, he was not able to have the proper guidance while growing up since his father and brother was always out working and his sister had been focused in her duties at home, hence, there is no one to check on him and monitor his activities. This analysis is supported by Abraham Maslow’s theory on the Hierarchy of Needs in which he gave emphasis on the five levels of needs that every human being should meet to be able to function well, grow fully as a person and realize his/her innate potentials—the Physiological Needs, Love and Belongingness, Security and Safety Needs, Esteem Needs and Self-Actualization Needs. Essentially, when one level is not satisfied, the others would be greatly affected and so is the individual himself. This would ultimately lead him/her to be dysfunctional and unable to effectively perform his/her roles in the society. 5

Given Larry’s situation, though his physiological needs like food, clothing and shelter are provided for by his father and brother, his need for love and belongingness is still not fully compensated and that may be the reason why he could not feel any security, particularly inside their home, which every person yearns to possess. With that, he has resorted to the ―comfort‖ and company of his friends and made matters worse. VI. Treatment Plan General Objectives: To help the client restore his social functioning and regain his self-esteem as well as discover and realize his innate potentials, turning him into a more productive individual. Specific Objectives


1. To strengthen the client’s relationship with his parents and siblings

Conduct a Family Counseling

2. To let the client ventilate—let him overcome his fears and insecurities as well as regain his selfesteem 3. To develop the client’s spiritual side

Provide an Individual Counseling

-Social Worker -Client

Encourage the client to open up and participate in the religious activities of the agency Let the client participate in the Livelihood and Skills Training Program and Homelife Activities of the agency Let the client attend the non-formal classes provided by the agency thru Alternative Learning System (ALS) Coordinate with the PAO for the speedy

-Social Worker -Spiritual Adviser -Inmates/Wards -Client

The client became spiritually-inclined.

-Social Worker -Homelife Staff -House Parent -Client

The client acquired new learnings, values and skills.

-Social Worker -Agency Volunteers (Educators) -Inmates/Wards -Client

The client decided to continue with his studies upon discharge from the agency.

-Social Worker -PAO Lawyer

The client became hopeful and optimistic

4. To provide the client with new learnings, values and skills

5. To restore the client’s interest on his studies and encourage him to continue with it upon his discharge 6. To assist and give support to the client

Persons Responsible -Social Worker -Client’s family -Client


Expected Outcome The family relationship became stronger and the (family) members developed an open communication with one another. The client restored his normal functioning and regained his selfesteem.

regarding his pending case in the Court

-Client’s parent/s -Client

trial of the case, continue on monitoring the client’s progress inside the agency and regularly submit reports to the Court

regarding the outcome of his trial.

VII. Evaluation A murder case was filed against Larry and his brother in 2008. But being a minor, only fifteen during the commission of the crime and having been detained for two years in Ma-a City Jail, Larry has been transferred to RRCY to undergo intensive rehabilitation while waiting for the outcome of his trial. VIII. Recommendation It is recommended that the client undergo intensive rehabilitation so as to free him from the traumas he may have acquired in the past, to restore his normal functioning and to strengthen some aspects of his well-being that has been cited in the abovementioned plan.



De Guzman, L. (1993). Dictionary of Social Work-Philippine Setting. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers. Mendoza, T. L. (2008). Social Welfare and Social Work. Third Edition. Quezon City, Philippines: Central Book Supply, Inc.


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