Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Guidelines for Casework Recording

Record is a dynamic and flexible instrument hence no
hard and fast rules can be prescribed. The casework
record should reflect an orderly way of thinking which
can be done through a flexible use of process,
summarized and condensed recording so that the
recorded material becomes a positive aid to the worker
in his/her practice.
The following guidelines however may be observed:
1) Maintain a field work diary
While in the field you must carry with you a field
work diary. This diary is used for writing, events
and incidences as they happen during the day. They
may cover such things as names, addresses, dates,
and details of interviews with the client and
collaterals, observations, inferences and any other
such relevant information. From this jumbled up
data you are then expected to organise
systematically the available information into a
formal case record. The daily process record may
comprise the following:
a) Conduct the interview, write in narrative style
the questions asked and the way they were
answered or in other words write about the
interview as it took place. The observation
should be suitable recorded such as the
mannerisms, expressions, gestures, hesitation,
silence, resistance, discomfort, emotions
expressed, refusal to answer, certain questions
etc. The record should also reflect significant
reactions of the client such as changes in mood
and responses, body language, the subjects from
which the client tends to shy away or finds
difficult to discuss.
b) Extra information on environmental factors,
relationships with those around gathered with
home visits or any other source could be
mentioned. Letters or other such documents
could be attached. At the end of report you
should give your inferences and interpretation.
You should indicate the meaning you derived
from the events and incidents and reasons for
it. You should conclude by briefly outlining your
plans for the next meeting or the next steps
you propose to take, in other words your future
plan with respect to that case. This may
1) areas to be covered in the next interview
2) collaterals to be contacted
3) information to be obtained for the next
How to Collect and Organise Data
The caseworker can use the following tools and devices
for collecting data:
1) Face sheet/Intake sheet
2) Eco-map
3) Genogram
Face Sheet/Intake Sheet
Face sheet or intake sheet as some prefer to call it is
generally filled in at the initial phase of the casework
process. Most of the social work agencies have a more
or less standardized proforma which has blanks for
entries to be made by the worker related to the
identification data such as name, age, occupation, family
profile and other such information. The purpose of the
face sheet is to give in a convenient form the objective
social facts or situation of the client of a permanent
character to particularize the case.
A family genogram is the graphic representation of one’s
family tree. It gives a pictorial representation of the
members along with a chronological statement of
significant events. It helps in assessing a person’s
psychosocial characteristics or the interactional
patterns of the family. The caseworker organising the
information can make it brief or extensive depending
on the purpose it is to serve.
Though family experiences are significant, people are
also greatly affected by the social context in which they
live. Our record will not be complete if we do not depict
this social context. An eco-map is an effective tool for
this purpose.
According to Hartman (1978) an ecomap is an extremely
useful tool for portraying the social context, because it
provides a diagrammatic representation of a person’s
social world. In addition to presenting an overview of a
person, family or household in context, the eco-map
readily identifies the energy-enhancing and energydepleting
relationships between members of a primary
social system (e.g. family or household) and the outside
world. The graphic nature of the eco-map highlights
social strengths and social deficiencies and helps to
identify areas of conflict and compatibility. It often
indicates areas where change may be needed. The ecomap
is a natural adjunct to the genogram.