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Assessment of Need and Practice of a Social Worker

Reflective practice

Reflective practice is a continuous process by which an individual particularly a learner considers thoughtfully those things that they have gone through in their life applying the knowledge they have gained in addition to being taught by professionals. It is a self-regulated process that is mainly applied in education and health professionals but not limited to these professions. In broad terms, it is the process by which one analyses their working practices daily to be more competent and develop professionalism (Higham, 2005).

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A reflective process is important as it ensures continuity in learning and when individuals use this process they are in a better position of developing themselves. Moreover, mistakes that have been made can be corrected and improved upon regarding performance (Schon, 1983). Reflective practice has both strengths and weaknesses. Some of the strengths include professional growth as one becomes aware of themselves; acquiring new knowledge about professional practices and problems associated with the profession. According to Schon, the practice is time-consuming as it requires one to experience puzzlement, confusion or surprise in a situation that is unique or confusing to him/her. Moreover, one reflects on the situation before him which also impacts his viewpoint in trying to experiment and come up with a new understanding of the current situation (Schon 1983). In addition, if the person reflecting is not aware of what is involved, they may end up repeating the same mistakes.

Need Assessment

In their article, Rouda & Kusy (1993) state that this is a process in which individuals or organizations study the current state of the situation and what it ought to be. Needs assessment involves carrying out a gap analysis where the current situation is checked and compared with the required situation (Rouda & Kusy, 1993). For instance in this case study, Tracey was addicted to heroin despite being pregnant and therefore there is a need to help her off the drug dependency so that she can take care of and raise her child. After carrying out a gap analysis, the most important needs should then be addressed. Secondly, one needs to identify the causes of the problems that one is going through. A needs assessment can be carried out through direct observation of the situation, interviewing the subjects, and consulting with the right people who may have specific information (Rouda & Kusy, 1993). In the case study, Tracey said she was introduced to heroin and therefore there is a high possibility that she could stop with help.

Identifying key needs of individuals by a social worker

In his book, Barker (1995) defines a social worker as a person that assists vulnerable groups or individuals in society. The vulnerable groups may include elderly, drug addicts, homeless, and the poor among others. A social worker helps in managing the cases by linking clients to the relevant agencies, counseling, social research as well as others. Furthermore, a social worker could help their clients cope with the situations being experienced by giving victims hope for a more positive outlook and hence enabling them to open up and talk about the problem at hand. Additionally, social work helps clients identify their personal strengths and the social assets they possess. Lastly, a social worker breaks down the problems into parts that can be solved easily and remain focused on the goals of their project (Barker, 1995).

Rouda & Kusy (1993) identified many methods that a social worker can use in discovering an individual’s needs. Firstly, one can use questionnaires in identifying these problems. Secondly, consult people who have some specific knowledge concerning the area of study before concluding. Thirdly, you can review materials that are written concerning the problems regarding the individuals’ problems. Other methods that can be used include interviewing the individuals, carrying out various tests, using focus groups and studying the records and reports that may have been given by other experts like doctors for example, (Rouda &Kusy, 1993).

Tracey’s addiction to heroin is a key problem in this case. Though she has gone through rehabilitation, there is a need to ensure that she is completely rehabilitated. This can be done by asking her to disclose the last time she took heroine and how she felt once she stopped. Also, Tracey suggested that she became pregnant while in prison; and therefore is important to know whether this is true. This can be done by interviewing those people in prison to ascertain the likelihood that she could have gotten pregnant while being there than just accepting her story. Now that Tracey is staying with her family and needs their support to help raise the child, there is a need to work with the family in giving the right support. Additionally, now that Tracey is no longer attending the assessment session, there is a need to find out if she has gone to stay with her partner now that he is out of prison. There is also a need to find out whether the report given by the person from the GP surgery is correct. This can be done by interviewing the person and then analyzing the information (Dominelli & Payne, 1998).

Priority needs of Tracey in the case study

Service User Name: Date:
Care Manager Name: Review Date
Strengths Goals/objectives Action (how needs are to be met) By Whom
1. Look into Tracey’s addiction to heroin.

2. Causes offailure of Tracey to attend an assessment session.

3. about Tracey’s pregnancy

4. How to bring up the child

5. Verification of the report given by GP official

It enables us to know if she has been completely rehabilitated.

Will be in a position to avoid such instances in future.

Will be in a position to know the person responsible for her pregnancy.

Will be able to know how Tracey is treated at home.

Ensure accuracy of data.

To ensure that Tracey is completely rehabilitated.

To help Traceyunderstands the importance of assessment session.

Find out the person responsible for Tracey’s pregnancy.

To make the relatives understandTracey and encourage them to take care ofthe child.
To find out if the information given by a person from GP surgery is accurate

Interview Tracey and question her friends and relatives to find out if she has stopped using heroin.

Visit Tracey at her home to find out the reason for her failure to attend the assessment session.

Interviewing Tracey and the people in charge of the prison.

Talk with Tracey together with her relatives.

Interview the person from GP surgery.

A social worker.

A socialworker

A social worker

A social worker, Tracey and herrelatives.

A social worker and the person from GP surgery.

6.Tracy’s accommodation

7. Tracy’s Blood test

Enables the social worker to monitor the subject’s movement and behavior.

To enable the social worker to identify other problems that Tracy could be having

Provision of accommodation will allow for the efficient provision of necessary services by the social worker.

Since Tracy spent some time in prison, she might have contracted a serious disease like HIV/Aids which may be a major setback to the rehabilitation program.

Tracy’s family should come in hand at this point by providing accommodation and appropriate moral support.
Try to bring Tracy to understand the importance of knowing one’s HIV status since it will aid in understanding oneself and enables one to live responsibly.
Tracy’s family members

The Social Worker

After studying what happened to Tracey it appears that one problem follows another, for example, her being addicted to drugs and after going prison to she became pregnant. She also was on a rehabilitation program and was referred to a social worker for the needs assessment. It was found that she did not attend all the needs assessment sessions as reported by the person from the GP; it is possible that she went back on heroin. It is also thought that she is back with her partner.

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One of the main proposed actions that could be taken to solve these problems that Tracey faced is to interview her and those concerned to ascertain whether the information can be trusted. The interview would most likely get relevant information from her that can be used to analyze and hence help in solving her problems. According to Dominelli and Payne (1998), this interview forms an integral part of ascertaining the problem and its mitigation measures, which is quite essential in this stage of the process. Relevant questions should therefore be prepared by the interviewers, by the problem to be solved.

The social worker could ask Tracey to give a history of her life and that of her family, as well as any factors that she may think contributed to her problem. The social worker should also try inquiring whether Tracey has been completely rehabilitated in order to take care of her child. After information is gathered, the social worker must critically analyze the information and work together with the client to change the problems. The technique of interviewing where a social worker uses questionnaires is a good method provided the questions are not biased (Sundene, 2008).

The proposed action is effective as it seeks to address the specific needs of the clients. For example, Tracey’s addiction to heroin, the person responsible for her pregnancy, and how her family can help with upbringing the child. Similarly, the interview helps the client to be in a better position to open up and freely give information about her life as this is essential in providing a solution to the client’s problems. Thus, the use of questionnaires and other documentation allows the social worker to break into segments the issues to be solved for quicker analyses. For example, the answers given could be broken into three parts such as addiction to heroin, pregnancy and support for the child.


The report above has identified the key needs of Tracey and what ought to be done to help her solve the problems that she is going through.

Reference List

  1. Barker, R, l. 1995.The Social Work dictionary.3rd ed.Washington, DC: NASW Press.
  2. Dominelli, Adams and Payne.1998.Social Work Themes, Issues and Critical Debates. London: Macmillan.
  3. Rouda, R. & Kusy, M, Jr. 1993.”Needs assessment-the first step”.5thed. WestCountry UK: West publishers.
  4. Schon, D. 1983.The reflective practitioner. Basic Books: New York
  5. Sundene N. 2008. An interview with a Heroin Addict turned Psychologist. Kitchen TableMedicine,LLC.

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