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You are asocial worker who is a member of a pastoral care team which is attached to a newly designated independent primary school. The pastoral care team also includes a chaplain, child health nurse, speech pathologist, and a school psychologist. The team rotates through this school and two others in the district as part of a new initiative aimed at increasing the protection of children in the community by linking schools and families together. You visit the school 1.5 days per week.

On one of your visiting days to the school, you are contacted by the Deputy Principal in relation to a student called Sharee.  Sharee has been sent to the office because she has soiled her clothes again and is presently menstruating. She is in year seven (7). Sharee has a history of head lice and often comes to school dirty, hungry, and in need of feminine products.  The Deputy tells you that Sharee has been observed by the school administration team to be more withdrawn than normal. She frequently sits by herself at lunch and during school activities. Other children do not spend time with Sharee as she often smells bad. The Deputy indicates that she sent Sharee to the school nurse to deal with some of the immediate personal hygiene issues and that she has been provided with the following information:

When Sharee attends the school nurse, she tells her: “I’m okay. Can I stay at school today? I don’t want to go home … my sister is gonna be mad”.Shareesays that she told her sister -she needed a pad, but her sister said they didn’t have any. “I didn’t tell Mum ’cause she came home happy from the party”.

  • Sharee says that sometimes she stays at home alone with her five nieces and nephews.
  • Sharee’s mother often does not answer the phone or show up to meetings at the school.
  • Sharee’s sisters often show up in her place saying their mother is working or sick.
  • Sharee’s sisters both still live at home with their children however her brother no longer lives with them.
  • Sharee is the youngest of the family.

The Deputy goes on to say that the family is well known to the school community. Members of the school community frequently provide food and other items to the family and the workers in the front office have over the years kept clothes as spares for the children so that they can wash and dry their clothes before they go home. Her other siblings (two sisters and one brother) have all attended your school in the past.  Both sisters were pregnant (by adult males) by the time they turned14 and 15 years old. The Deputy informs you that Sharee’s family have been reported in the past to the Department for Child Protection.  However the extent to which the family have been assisted or investigated is not known.[1]

Learning outcomes

Completing this assessment item will help you achieve the following learning outcome/s:

  • Identify the influence of the various theoretical and ideological position on the policy development process and specific social policies
  • Apply a critical policy analysis framework to contemporary Australian social policies
  • Articulate an understanding of the key social policy debates and appraise current policies in Australia and internationally, particularly as they relate to rural and remote communities
  • Identify and apply skills in policy analysis and communication
  • Articulate and reflect on values and ideological positions, which inform approaches to social problems and social policies.

Graduate Attributes

Completing this assessment item will help you achieve the following ECU Graduate Attributes:

Ability to communicate

Critical appraisal skills

Ability to generate ideas


Completion of Assessment 1.

Assessment instructions

This assessment is a continuation of assessment one and as such, is designed to provide students with experience in dealing with ‘real world’ policy problems in social work practice. The assessment aims to develop skills in critical appraisal, problem analysis, policy analysis and written communication, together with an understanding of the impact of social policy on an individual’s life and circumstances.

In assessment 1 students were required to consider the following questions in relation to the case study provided.

What policies are relevant to the case study?

  • How have these policies had an impact (positive or negative) on the scenario?
  • Could the policy/s be amended or new ones developed so as to have a better impact? If so, how?

This is the one that needs completing

Assessment 2

For this second assessment, students are required to write a report detailing the above. The report is to be written from the perspective of a social worker advocating for their client and indicating the impacts of any relevant policy/s and detailing any possible change to policy. If your case study indicates more than one prospective client, you may wish to focus on an individual solely or the collective (couple, family etc.). Ensure this is clearly stated when providing background and context.

Word Count

2500 words in report format.

Marking criteria

Critical appraisal and problem analysis                                                                 10

Precision of argument (for/against current/proposed policy/s)                             10

Research                                                                                                                10

Marks will be deducted for poor academic presentation (writing skills, referencing, etc.)

Total                                                                                                                            /30

[1]Adapted from a case sourced at the following website:, (Abuse index.html)


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