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Assessing as an Important Task of a Social Worker


One of the primary tasks of a social worker lies in assessing. It not solely allows to be aware of the atmosphere in the family but also enables gathering essential information on each particular client. The data to collect may, notably, be related to “the client’s unique circumstances, social functioning, feelings, and behaviors.” (Scarnato, 2019) Analyzing the above helps to identify the client’s strong points and resources possible to use in resolving the problems as well as understand where the latter actually originate from.

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Assessment may presuppose utilizing a considerable variety of tools and techniques, but it is essential to remember that the client remains the main source of information to rely upon. Therefore, it is most reasonable to opt for the tools that enable gathering information on both the current situation and the past life occasions it may root at. One of the most efficient techniques of that kind is the so-called bio-psycho-social-spiritual model, which may sometimes also include a cultural component (Scarnato, 2019). It considers the client’s medical history, mental status, social functioning, and spiritual beliefs. Those parameters, in turn, comprise numerous factors that regard both the client themselves and their family. Such an approach allows for a more complex investigation of the current circumstances, hence a more appropriate solution.

Biological and Developmental Milestones in the Children

The biological and psychological components of the model are actually possible to unite into one, as they are both related to health. Applying the technique to Sandra Malone’s children would probably reveal no physical abnormalities but several developmental and/or psychical ones. Thus, her elder son Sean may be emotionally disturbed, which is apparent from his aggression and “inability to learn” (Logsdon, 2020). Alternatively or additionally, he may have some genetic psychical condition, as non-motivated aggressive behavior may mark a range of disorders up to schizophrenia (Stöppler, 2020). As there is no information on the mental health of his father, a psychiatric examination is critical.

The youngest daughter, Caitlin, may be experiencing a disturbance as well since toddlers of her age normally sleep through the night. If one does not, this is possibly a sign of so-called separation anxiety, which occurs when a toddler lacks parental attention (Ben-Joseph). The mental well-being of Sandra’s daughter Molly is also doubtful because her systematically slow reaction to instructions is a frequent marker of developmental delays (SSM Health). Therefore, three of four Sandra Malone’s children doubtlessly need medical supervision.

However, the kids’ behavior is not necessarily unhealthy because their brother Patrick, Sandra’s second child, who lives with her aunt, does not exhibit any abnormalities. He is happy enough with a person who is, most probably, friendly towards him, while the other children lack emotional support and a sense of security. Thus, Sean lives in isolation in a correctional institution and has behaved aggressively since he stopped meeting his father. Molly and Caitlin, who live with Sandra and see her drinking as well as being humiliated by Travis, behave disharmoniously.

Taking the above into account, it is possible to assume that the origin of the problems the three children are experiencing is social. There may be some inborn abnormalities as well, however, considering the lifestyle Sandra leads and the lack of data on the fathers’ medical histories. For this reason, a psychological consultation is critical for all three. It would identify whether the kids are suffering from certain mental conditions and/or cognitive impairments or simply not living in an appropriate atmosphere, hence excessively nervous.

The Family’s Home Environment (HBSE)

This variable comprises social and spiritual components; optionally, a cultural one as well. Social factors include “personal and family relationships […] history of abuse […] educational background […] and the general social functioning” (Scarnato, 2019). All of Sandra’s children have insufficient contact with their parents as well as siblings. Thus, Patrick and Molly are unaware of who their biological fathers are, while Sean apparently is on bad terms with his. Furthermore, the two elder sons do not even live with their mother, which aggravates their isolation, hence worsening their psychological state. By contrast, it would hardly be better if the boys lived with Sandra, as they would observe her quarrels with Travis, which could harm their psyche as well. It is also worth mentioning that all of the family members would lack private space since the accommodation Sandra is currently living in is not adjusted to house four kids adequately.

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In order to improve the home environment, it would be reasonable to tell Patrick and Molly, who have begun to wonder why they look different from their relatives, about their fathers. Even a generalized story without extra details would be helpful for self-identification and, consequently, factor into the psychological and emotional stability of the children. Also, it is critical to explain to Sean and Patrick why they cannot live with their mother and siblings at the current stage so that they do not consider themselves abandoned and unnecessary.

Ideally, all of the siblings should meet each other and socialize on a regular basis, which would form stronger bonds among them. The children need to realize that, although they have different fathers and are not living under the same roof, they are a family. Considering Sean’s inclination to aggressive behavior, meetings should occur in the presence of a social worker and a psychologist. Sandra’s parents could also join the meetings since Sean is doubtlessly attached to them after being raised by them for a while. As for the other siblings, they need closer contact with loving people in order to feel family support on a continuous basis, which also means they need to see their grandparents regularly. However, those meetings should not involve leaving the kinds with Joseph and Siobhan for a long time because they report becoming physically unable to manage negative behaviors.

It would also be reasonable on Sandra’s part to stop inviting Travis to her place while Molly and Caitlin are at home until he masters self-control. He apparently needs psychological assistance, which would require both time and financial resources but is essential in case she would like to stay with him. In fact, if Sandra and Travis are planning to raise the children together, they need a consultation and supervision of a family psychologist, which is also time-and-money-consuming.

Sandra’s Spiritual Perspective

The spiritual aspect of human life is one based on faith as well as related practices, resources, and activities. Sandra has not been reported to participate in any, but I would identify her as a believing Christian or, possibly, a daughter of those. This is assumable from the fact that she gave birth to all four children, notwithstanding the financial distress, instead of opting for an abortion. Furthermore, she did not even complete her studies, as her first pregnancy happened when she was sixteen, but she decided not to terminate it. A perspective of that kind is, actually, not quite appropriate under the given circumstances because Sandra is unable to meet the needs of all her children.


To summarize, three of four of Sandra’s kids need psychological consultation and, possibly, psychiatric supervision, as in two of them, psychical abnormalities are highly probable. Her current boyfriend, Travis, should talk to a specialist as well in order to learn how to manage his emotions and how to behave in a family. Ideally, the couple has to consult a family psychologist because both are facing difficulties on their way to harmonious family life, although they find it desirable.

In addition, all four siblings need regular interaction so that they are more closely connected to each other and, consequently, feel more support, which they apparently lack. They also need closer contact with their grandparents, who are ready to share their love; therefore, Sandra could arrange meetings of that kind on a regular basis. However, they should only happen under the supervision of psychologists and social workers to avoid improper behaviors. Such measures may improve the home environment of the family by making it friendlier and more stable.


Ben-Joseph, E. P. (n.d.) Sleep and your 1- to 2-year-old. Kid’s Health. Web.

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Developmental delay. (n.d.) SSM Health. Web.

Logsdon, A. (2020). Symptoms of emotionally disturbed students. VeryWellFamily. Web.

Scarnato, J. M. (2019). The components of a biopsychosocial-spiritual-cultural assessment. MSW Careers. Web.

Stöppler, M. C. (2020). Aggression: symptoms & signs. MedicineNet. Web.

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