Complete Social Work Discussion Post


Discussion 2: Generalist Intervention ModelAs a social worker, how do you identify the needs and presenting concerns of a given population? Once you determine those needs and presenting concerns, how do you select the most appropriate intervention and assess that it is effective for this population and the specific concerns they face? Social workers must draw from a variety of resources and consider all of the cultural, societal, biological, and physical factors that might influence a client’s experience. While no intervention fits all situations, practice models, such as the GIM, offer social workers a starting point from which they can engage, assess, plan, implement, evaluate, terminate, and follow-up with the needs of their clients.For this Discussion, review this week’s Resources. Then, select a population with which you would be interested in working as a future social worker.  Finally, consider how the Generalist Intervention Model might assist you in working with this population, given what you have read so far.Post by Day 4 a brief description of your population of interest and explain how the Generalist Intervention Model might assist you in working with this population given what you have read so far.Support your posts and responses with specific references to the Resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.REQUIRED REFERENCE FOR THE GENERALIST INTERVENTION MODEL:Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2015). Understanding generalist practice (6th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.Chapter 1, “Introducing Generalist Practice: The Generalist Intervention Model” (pp. 1–52)

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Australian Social Work
ISSN: 0312-407X (Print) 1447-0748 (Online) Journal homepage:
Centrelink: how social workers make a difference
for young persons. A model of intervention
Jane Squires & Natasa Kramaric-Trojak
To cite this article: Jane Squires & Natasa Kramaric-Trojak (2003) Centrelink: how social
workers make a difference for young persons. A model of intervention, Australian Social Work,
56:4, 293-304
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Published online: 14 Oct 2010.
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Download by: [Walden University]
Date: 04 March 2016, At: 10:09
Centrelink: how social workers make a
difference for young persons. A model
of intervention
Downloaded by [Walden University] at 10:09 04 March 2016
Jane Squires and Natasa Kramaric-Trojak
It is mandatory for social workers at Centrelink to interview and assess under
18-year-old youth who are applying for the ‘Unreasonable to Live at Home’ (UTLAH)
rate of Youth Allowance. The aims of this research project were to identify and
describe social work models of intervention when interviewing young persons
who applied for UTLAH payments and to examine the way in which social workers
developed a response to organisational and legislative changes. The qualitative
research consisted of two components: field observations of social work interviews
with claimants and an open-ended questionnaire completed by social workers after
the observed interaction. The research confirmed the hypothesis that parts of a
number of social work interventions could be combined and used to effectively
assess and assist clients within the prescribed short-term approach. In addition,
it supported the researchers’ belief that social work models of intervention could
be adapted to organisational and environmental changes. A potential challenge
for social workers at Centrelink is to produce a brief social work model of
intervention that is flexible enough to be used by professionals across sectors.
brief casework, social work skills and
interventions, young persons.
Social workers at Centrelink fulfil a number
of roles. Their primary role is the provision of
Jane Squires works as an Out of Home Care Casewroker
at the Department of Community Services in the Hunter
Natasa Kramaric-Trojak works as a Social Worker at
Centrelink in the Hunter area.
casework services with a broad range of
clients in need of support, as well as
consultation to customer service officers,
working in partnership with community
agencies and involvement in managerial
functions. According to Centrelink’s
social work information system, a large
proportion of social workers’ caseload
and referrals is focused on mandatory
assessment of young persons under
18 years of age who apply for the
‘Unreasonable to Live at Home’ rate
of Youth Allowance. This rate is based
on meeting the criteria of independence
because of extenuating circumstances
within the parental home.
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
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The assessment of under 18-year-old
UTLAH claims encompasses an interview
with the young person, followed by
telephone contact with each parent and
a third party to establish a broader
understanding of the client’s home situation
and well-being. Interviews, which are
one component of this assessment, are
often carried out in a single session
which generally lasts up to one hour.
Within this hour it is essential that workers
assess clients’ social and personal
circumstances against an expansive
eligibility criteria, as well as to provide
emotional support, offer family mediation
or reconciliation and referral to other
agencies relevant to the clients’ needs.
Referrals are often made for services
that can provide specialised assistance
around issues of accommodation,
counselling, child protection, employment,
education, mental health and substance
abuse. This research was focused on
identifying and describing social work
interventions used during the client
interview stage.
Literature review
The requirement to fit a large amount of
work into a short time frame, according
to Sach and Newdon (1999), supports
the wide spread push for economically
focused ideals that promote efficiency.
Agencies are pressured to work more
quickly, with reduced staff and resources
and to deliver services at the lowest
practicable cost in order to be financially
viable (Rowlands 2000). The joint issues
of accuracy and accountability have
become a high priority in many agencies,
including Centrelink. The increased
responsibility for social workers at
Centrelink is a result of the introduction
of payment and privacy delegations in
1998. The delegations gave social workers,
who hold a certain level of experience, the
authority to make decisions about client
eligibility for payments. Furthermore, the
policy requires that correct decisions be
made within a specified time frame to
ensure a high quality standard of social
work service within Centrelink (Business
Partnership Agreement with FACS 2000,
unpublished report).
A review of the literature indicated a
lack of information relating to specific
single-session social work interventions,
such as those used in Centrelink. Godfrey
(1999), who researched brief therapy in
Centrelink, also noted the inability to locate
relevant studies. She concluded that
some elements of solution-focused/brief
therapy were used in Centrelink and were
appropriate for certain client groups. Her
suggestion was that more research would
be beneficial to define and articulate
an appropriate practice framework for
Centrelink that could be adapted to
changing environments.
Richmond (1999), in contrast, analysed
the limitations of the model of service
delivery used when working with young
persons and their families within Centrelink.
She emphasised that the model was
based on an ‘income support framework’,
which imposes restrictions on the social
workers’ flexibility to implement professional
skills. Her recommendation was for a
new service delivery model that focused
more on a holistic, individualised approach
to meet clients’ needs rather than simply
assess them for income support. Since
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
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1999, however, Centrelink has implemented
changes to achieve the provision of a
more holistic service for its clients, by
acknowledging that individuals have
varying needs and require not only income
support, but different types of assistance.
Social workers within Centrelink now focus
on providing a personalised service
which explores clients’ needs, social
circumstances and options before assisting
them to develop action plans (Centrelink
Social Work Services Directions, 2000,
Based on the researchers’
understanding of this involuntary client
group and the social work roles in face-toface interviews with young persons, it
was hypothesised that a generalist practice
encompassing a brief-eclectic model of
intervention would be used. The time
allocated for interviews meant that brief
intervention would be essential, as the
beginning, middle and end phase of the
interaction are generally performed within
a single session.
Models of intervention often related to
brief therapy are crisis, task centred and
solution-focused models (Sheafor, Horejsi &
Horejsi 2000). It was expected that social
workers at Centrelink would use this and
other models to address the varying issues
presented by this client group. Combining
aspects of different models represents an
eclectic model of social work intervention
(Payne 1997). An eclectic model is flexible
and allows individual workers to customise
their intervention to most effectively address
the cases they encounter (Payne 1997).
Such a model is commonly applied by
social workers who exercise generalist
practice (Meyer & Mattaini 1995; Sheafor
et al. 2000).
There were two aims for this research
project. First, to identify and describe a
social work model of intervention when
interviewing young persons applying for
the ‘Unreasonable to Live at Home’ rate of
Youth Allowance. Second, to examine how
social workers adapted their practice in
accordance with both organisational and
broader social changes.
Qualitative research methods, which
combined the techniques of semistructured
observations performed by the researchers
and reflective questionnaires completed
by social workers, were undertaken to
address the aims of the research. Using
both techniques allowed the researchers
to compare their outcomes with the
reflections of social workers. These
two perspectives contributed to the
objectivity of the data.
Participants were social workers from
Centrelink customer service centres who
volunteered to take part in the research.
Specific customer service centres were
chosen because of their close geographical
proximity, which allowed researchers to
complete the project within the time
frame of field placement. All 19 social
workers in the targeted areas agreed to
participate, however, four were unable to
take part in the research because of limited
time and client non-attendance. Fifteen
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
workers were involved in the project, three
men and twelve women who had varying
degrees of social work experience, as well
as lengths of time spent working within
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The semistructured observations involved
identifying material that fitted into the
predetermined categories, combined
with the opportunity for recording any
other relevant data not previously
categorised. The categories, which
were determined by researchers before
conducting observations, included
issues addressed in the process of the
interview, the social work skills
implemented, the models of intervention
used and the theoretical basis
underpinning practice.
Questionnaires were anonymous and
contained mostly open-ended questions.
They were created to gather social workers’
reflections on the intervention models and
skills used during their interview, an opinion
of the most effective interventions for this
client group and their individual level
of satisfaction with the opportunities
to implement interventions and skills.
Information was also requested regarding
the workers’ understanding of their role,
the effects of policy and organisational
changes on social work practice and any
factors that impact on interactions with
these clients.
Data collection
Researchers sent social workers information
regarding the research project. Follow up
phone calls were used to confirm workers’
agreement to participate and to schedule
appointment times for observations.
Twenty-six observations were carried out.
Social workers were observed by one
researcher on each occasion, with the
exception of two interviews, which included
both researchers. The reason for these
joint observations was the lack of relevant
interviews during the time allocated for the
research. This proved to be beneficial in
that it was possible for the researchers to
crosscheck their data.
Questionnaires were given to social
workers after the observed interviews
and were required to be returned within the
following week via internal mail to ensure
anonymity. A total of 13 questionnaires
were completed and returned.
Data analysis
The data was recorded and analysed
manually by the researchers. Data from
the observations was organised into the
predetermined categories, whereas the
data from the questionnaires was arranged
according to the main themes arising from
each question.
Ethical considerations
Social workers were informed that all
information received from the research
would be confidential and that either the
worker or the client were free to withdraw
from the research at any time. Before
observing interviews social workers were
asked to obtain verbal client permission
for the researchers to be present during
interviews. It was explained to the clients
that the focus of the research was on the
social worker and that their participation
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
would not impact on the outcome of their
Research limitations
Because of the limited amount of time
allocated for the research project,
Table 1.
Interview Results
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there was no opportunity to pretest
or conduct substantial reviews. The
time restrictions also impacted on the
size of the sample and the extent to
which the topic area could be
Issues Addressed
Introductory Issues: Greeting, worker’s role, process of assessment,
payment types, client’s obligations, privacy and confidentiality, process
of appeal, administrative assistance with forms, client’s right to decline
answering questions and the consequence of this action, worker’s
note-taking, contact details for parents and third parties.
Family Situation: Family structure, relationships, support types, contact
(frequency), parent’s employment status, drug & alcohol issues, mental
health issues, police involvement, attempts at mediation and/or
Reason for Leaving Home – Specifics of Conflict: time frame of conflict,
type-verbal, physical, emotional, severity, violence/safety issues,
responses to conflict, coping mechanisms.
Mediation: Referral to reconnect service, conflict resolution, advice,
Supports: Family, friends, school, professionals, other.
Accommodation: Stability, safety, appropriateness, satisfaction, options.
Education: Literacy/numeracy skills, personal goals, barriers, options.
Employment: Referral to Job, Placement, Employment and Training,
work conditions, wages, harassment issues, options.
Ending: Worker’s contact details given, client’s questions, youth info card.
Social Work Skills
Engagement, information sharing, clear language, respect,
genuineness, warmth, attending, active listening, empathy, focusing,
non-judgemental attitude, immediacy, mirroring/matching, questioning,
clarifying, understanding, working through client resistance,
concreteness, education & advice, empowerment, reframing, validation,
encouragement, acknowledging feelings & strengths, information
sharing, referral, visualisation, challenging, probing, advocacy, liaison,
investigation, reality testing, self-disclosure, reassurance, negotiation,
suggestion, summarising, creativity, imagination.
Models of Intervention Brief casework, crisis intervention, solution-focused, problem solving,
psycho-social, assessment, task centred, education, referral, grief &
loss, family therapy, empowerment, advocacy.
Social work ethics and values, crisis theory, systems theory, role theory,
life-cycle theory, conflict theory, consensus theory, labelling theory,
Feminist theory, antidiscriminatory, anti-oppressive, strengths
perspectives, empowerment, communication theory, case
management, narrative theory, structural theory.
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
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Table 1 represents the compilation of
data recorded by the researchers after the
observation of client interviews. The
‘issues addressed’ section depicts the
general interview pattern that was followed
by the majority of social workers. In other
instances the same issues were covered in
varying orders. Most of these issues were
directly related to legislative requirements,
Fig. 1.
with variations resulting from specific
client situations. An extensive range of
social work skills were recorded from the
observations. The use of these skills varied
among workers. Models of intervention and
theoretical background were identified by
the researchers with the assistance of
relevant social work literature.
The following data represents the
responses that social workers provided
Interventions implemented.
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
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in the questionnaires completed after the
observed interviews.
Figure 1 displays the interventions
identified by social workers as being
practised in the observed interviews. A
significant number of interventions were
identified, the most common ones being
solution-focused and psychosocial
assessment. These were closely followed
by exploration, brief casework, and crisis
Figure 2 depicts the skills that social
workers recognised as being used in their
interactions. The skills of empathy and
active listening were said to be used more
often than the remaining skills, such as
rapport building, questioning, reflection,
validation and so on.
A question was posed to social
workers about their satisfaction with the
opportunity to use their social work skills
and intervention techniques. The responses
indicated that the majority of workers were
satisfied with these opportunities.
Figure 3 presents skills and interventions
perceived by social workers to achieve the
best outcomes. It shows social workers
considered empathy as the most effective
skill, followed by active listening,
information sharing, validation, reframing
and so on. The interventions thought to
be capable of producing the best
Fig. 2.
Skills Utilised.
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
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outcomes were crisis and problem solving
interventions. Several other skills and
interventions were also regarded as
important to effective outcomes with
this client group.
When asked about factors that impact
on interactions with clients and satisfaction
levels, social workers expressed that
time and legislative requirements have
the major influence. The issues of
resources, working with mandatory
clients and office set up were also
observed as having a considerable
effect (see Fig. 4).
The responses to the question about
the changes within Centrelink and their
impact on social work interventions
identified that the resources and
legislative changes do impact on
their practice with this client group.
Social workers expressed the view that
their interventions now include more
referrals to specialised outside agencies
where particular client needs might be
more readily met.
Social workers defined their casework
role with young persons as multifaceted.
They identified a variety of roles used
Fig. 3.
Interventions and skills for best outcomes.
Australian Social Work/December 2003, Vol. 56, No. 4
when interviewing this client group for
UTLAH rate of Youth Allowance, including
assessment, needs identification,
empowerment and advocacy (see
Table 2).
Social workers were given the
opportunity to make any further comments
and the following responses were recorded:
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‘Social work in Centrelink is specific.’
‘Can be a very influential position in
assisting the disadvantaged.’
‘I believe we play a unique role in assisting
young people in need.’
Fig. 4.
‘Social work has so much to
contribute . . . due to our expertise.’
The research project identified a unique
model of brief social work intervention
used when interviewing young persons
in Centrelink. This model is time-limited …
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