In this case scenario what would you do?

Here are some hypothetical case scenarios for you to think about. Write your thoughts and comments: what would you do if you were faced with these situations? The headers provide some clues…

Settlement, housing for survivors, trauma informed approach

You are a settlement counsellor with a busy caseload. Your 28-year-old client, an immigrant spouse, has been living in her van on the streets for a few weeks. The only accommodation available that she can afford is a basement apartment that she refuses to accept and she won’t tell you why. She becomes withdrawn and uneasy every time you discuss her housing options. You are aware that she was living in a basement with her spouse and his family in a rented duplex earlier. You would like to discuss her reasons for refusing the basement apartment so that you’re better able to help her but she keeps insisting that you find her an apartment and not talk about her past experiences.

Reflect on what is going on with the client. What can you do?

Client-centred approach and professional boundary setting

A  has been working actively with her client, S for the past two years. S is a 58-year-old woman who came from the same home country as A and is about the same age as her mother. S has lost both of her adult children and her husband died from heart problems shortly after coming to Canada. She has no family in Canada.

A helped S. connect with community organizations and obtain housing and social assistance. S now attends ESL classes and faith-based services. She brings some food or small gifts each time she sees A and she is one of A’s favorite clients. A’s supervisor has suggested that it is time to close the case, but A reports that S still needs help. A is considering hiring S as a babysitter in order to provide her with some part-time employment.

Describe some possible issues highlighted in this vignette. Suggest how you could alternatively manage the situation.

Supported housing, mental health issues, Trauma-Informed Approach, Bridging with grassroots agencies

You are a program supervisor in a leading Edmonton service agency that specializes in supported (non-market) housing for women who have survived violent relationships. One of the conditions of getting supported housing via your agency is to allow periodic inspection of the unit. One of the clients, a South Asian woman fluent in Urdu, refuses the inspection, refuses to speak with her social worker, and now faces being evicted from the unit.

What do you think is going on with the client? What are your options? Could you call someone, perhaps in another agency, for help?

 In-shelter rehabilitation from effects of violence, Trauma-Informed Approach

You are a program supervisor in a second stage shelter. One of the residents, who has arrived after three weeks at the first-stage shelter, wishes to leave and return. In your conversation with her, it emerges that she is frustrated by the ESL classes that she must mandatorily attend to stay in the shelter. She finds it hard to retain the vocabulary and grammar and also objects to the themes discussed in the classes, such as traditional holiday celebrations. She also finds it hard to use the shared kitchen space and is deeply upset by her inability to access her temple located on the other side of town.

What steps would you take? What could you explore about the issues she is facing? What alternative solutions could you suggest?

Counselling and sexuality – LGBTQ and family violence.

You are a grassroots outreach worker. Your client is a 25-year old gay man, who has approached you for advice and ways to resolve his highly troubled personal situation. It turns out that in 2015, he was evicted from the family home and cut off by his family. One day, he was surprised by a visit from his parents. They have a ‘compromise’ solution for him: he can come back home if he marries a woman from the home country and tries to lead a ‘normal’ life. After much thought, he opts to marry the woman in exchange for getting his family back. After their marriage in spring 2016, the young couple argue constantly, which sometimes leads to violence. They have an infant daughter, whom your client loves dearly and from whom he does not wish to be separated.

How can you help? What issues can you identify? What steps will you take?

Supported referral, Anti-oppressive practice, safety planning

A young woman, a sponsored immigrant from a Francophone country, married in 2016, visits a social worker at a settlement agency in March 2017. She discloses that she is no longer comfortable living with her husband. He has moved them to a remote suburban location, refuses her permission to use the single car and gets angry when she says that she wants to register for ESL classes nearby. She discloses that he used to hit her but stopped after she called 911 (later she dropped the charges and returned home). She has sought help from his and her families but has been advised ‘to adjust.’ The social worker advises her to run away again and gives her a list of shelters to call. She also tells her to get her resume job ready and gives her some steps on where to look for jobs. The young woman feels lost. As she leaves, she gets a call from her husband. He says that he knows that she is at the mall (where the settlement agency is located). He wants to know who she is meeting there.

What do you think is going on? What would you do if you were the social worker? Would you do anything differently?

Out-of-shelter outreach; preventing re-victimization

You are the community outreach worker for a young woman who has recently moved out of her second stage shelter (with which you are a worker) into a rented basement. She is living as the tenant of a couple who are from her community and with whom she was acquainted before she went to the shelter. During your monthly meeting with her to assess how she is getting along, she says that she has not yet found work but in lieu of part of her rent acts as a babysitter and cleaner for her landlords. She is worried that the couple have been in touch with her estranged (not yet divorced) spouse and his family. When you suggest that you could help her move, she is reluctant.

 What do you think is going on? What would you do if you were the outreach worker? How would you evaluate the situation?

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