When it comes to assessing children, it is of importance to use multiple evidence-based tools. Interviews or open-ended tools are considered a starting point for becoming familiar with a child and their families and determining what further assessment measures are suitable (Wooley, 2013). This information demonstrates that quantitative methods should follow the previous step. They include structured surveys that allow for collecting valid and reliable data about the clients. Furthermore, an ecological focus is necessary to understand how a child’s interaction with the environment affects them. In particular, this assessment can find equilibrium between a person and their family or boundaries between a family and other systems (Wooley, 2013). It is worth admitting that it is challenging to state which of these tools is more significant. They complement one another because open-ended tools make social workers familiar with a client and choose the required quantitative method to collect valid data. Finally, ecologically focused tools consider how these data affect children’s relationships with other systems.
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Eco-mapping is a popular method to present family strengths and resources. According to McCormick et al. (2008), this term stands for “a graphic representation or visualization of the family and linkages to the larger social system” (p. 17). This approach focuses on informal (friends, relatives, and others) and formal (care providers, school authorities, and others) systems. The focus on them is necessary to find how external and internal processes can affect a family and a child. McCormick et al. (2008) stipulate that the eco-map is an essential step to determine what and how systems affect children. When the map is ready, the social worker and the child can identify what sources of support there exist, and this information can be used to maximize the client’s strength and overcome the existing challenges.
Social workers should draw sufficient attention to clients’ culture and environment. When a social worker is culturally competent, there is an opportunity that a close and productive relationship with a client can be established. This step is significant since it increases the probability that the patient’s problem will be overcome. Thus, that given paper will focus on Claudia’s case to comment on social issues and cultural competence and demonstrate how an eco-map can be applied to the selected situation.
In the beginning, it is necessary to present social issues that are relevant to the case study. Plummer et al. (2014) reveal that Claudia is a Hispanic female, meaning that she faces some challenges typical to this immigrant group. Firstly, Boen and Hummer (2019) stipulate that representatives of this ethnic group have fewer socioeconomic resources. Secondly, Hispanics often face discrimination, segregation, and other structural barriers that make it challenging for them to become fully-fledged members of society (Ramos et al., 2017). This information denotes that the social environment can significantly affect Claudia and her family.
It is possible to use different culturally competent strategies to assess children’s needs. Firstly, one can research their environment to find what challenges and opportunities they witness. This step ensures that a social worker is familiar with the client’s background. Secondly, it is reasonable to choose age- and culture-specific language. If possible, a suitable decision is to have instruments in two languages while working with immigrant individuals. This approach will ensure that a child will feel comfortable disclosing their concerns.
If I were to serve Claudia and her family, I would collect data of a few types. Firstly, it would be reasonable to conduct interviews with the clients to identify their problems. This conversation would also reveal Claudia’s relationships with parents, friends, and teachers. Secondly, it would be reasonable to organize an observation to see how Claudia behaves while playing. This approach would demonstrate the child’s concerns because playing is a leading type of activity for children, meaning that it can be informative for social work practice.
Direct interaction with Claudia and her family is not the only source of information. Further data can be found by relying on the available evidence regarding children’s assessments. Relevant scholarly articles can assist how to deal with the client. Simultaneously, it can be helpful to communicate with Claudia’s teachers to determine how she behaves at school and what they think about the child’s problems.
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This eco-map demonstrates that three systems, represented by the mother, school friends and teachers, and “good” neighbors affect Claudia. They can provide the client with the necessary support to overcome the current problem. Thus, it is possible to suggest that the ecological perspective influenced the social worker’s choice of interaction. It refers to the fact that the social worker admitted parents’ support and helped Claudia notice more “good” people.
In the selected case study, the social worker used the strengths perspective. It refers to the fact that there was constant cooperation with Paula, Claudia’s mother, and the promotion of interaction with peers (Plummer et al., 2014). Simultaneously, the social worker used multiple assessments, including non-directive play therapy and unconditional positive regard. That comprehensive approach made Claudia engaged, which established a productive relationship with the client and her family.
In conclusion, the discussion has demonstrated that it is essential to draw attention to cultural competence. Representatives of various groups have specific issues, and social workers should be aware of mitigating their adverse impact. The created eco-map for Claudia’s case reveals that different systems can support the client. Thus, social workers’ task is to use various assessment tools and techniques to help clients obtain that assistance.
Boen, C. E., & Hummer, R. A. (2019). Longer – but harder – lives?: The Hispanic health paradox and the social determinants of racial, ethnic, and immigrant-native health disparities from midlife through late life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 60(4), 434-452. Web.
McCormick, K. M., Stricklin, S., Nowak, T. M., & Rous, B. (2008). Using eco-mapping to understand family strengths and resources. Young Exceptional Children, 11(2), 17-28. Web.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Laureate International Universities Publishing.
Ramos, A. K., Suarez, M. C., Leon, M., & Trinidad, N. (2017). Sense of community, participation, and life satisfaction among Hispanic immigrants in rural Nebrasks. Kontakt, 19(4), e284-e295. Web.
Wooley, M. E. (2013). Assessment of children. In M. J. Holosko, C. N. Dulmus, & K. M. Sowers (Eds.), Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions (pp. 1-39). Wiley.