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Handout 1 - Overview of Casework
Defining Casework
Casework is one of the oldest professional forms of community service practice. Its form and focus has changed over time in response to the environment but its fundamentals remain the same.
Casework is that part of community service practice, which is concerned with assisting individuals. Within the case management model it is the component of practice which offers a direct service to individuals. In the case management model this is called counselling. However unlike therapeutic counselling, the service of casework includes everything from practical assistance, resolving a resource issue, through to interpersonal interventions to assist with an emotional or personal problem.
While casework is an old form of practice and while the fundamentals remain the same, it continues to emerge and develop. In 1937, Gordon Hamilton wrote:
"When we think of fundamental concepts we are inclined to imagine a static practice. The truth is that casework concepts are dynamic. They change, grow and develop as they are shaped by new experience and knowledge" (Roberts and Nee 1970: 35)
This statement while written some seventy years ago remains true today.
How is Casework different from Case Management?
This is not a simple question to answer. The lines between case management and casework are very blurred. Perhaps a better analogy is that of overlapping circles. However for our purposes here, we have defined them in the following way: • Both Case Management and Casework are similar in that they are both viewed as approaches from the human services/community services areas to working with complex individual or family cases. • Where they differ is that Case Management provides a managed approach to linking services with the needs of the client; operating like a coordinating system in order to achieve outcomes for the…...

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