A Report with Sample Case Study on the

FUNCTIONAL APPROACH OF SOCIAL WORK
By Johynne Amilyn G. Nasa
3-BSSW
Ateneo de Davao University, SY 2010-2011

“Human growth expresses purpose and constitutes a process”
- Ruth Smalley, 1970

To be functional is to accomplish or do a particular purpose for which a person or a thing
is specially fitted.
In social work profession, function is the purpose or end product of an agency,
organization, etc. e.g the function of a government agency may be to ameliorate the
living conditions of distressed Filipinos (de Guzman, 1993)
It was first develop in the 1930s by the faculty members of the University of
Pennsylvania School of Social work, principally by Jessie Taft, Virginia Robinson and Ruth
Smalley, and is based from the philosophy of Otto Rank, a German psychoanalyst and
student of Sigmund Freud.
In casework, Functional Approach refers to the delivery of the service as the focus of
intervention. According to Smalley, it is a method for engaging the client through the
relationship that is essentially one-to-one, in the use of social service toward his own and
the general social welfare.
The concept of the “use of agency function” as basic in social work helping was
introduced by Taft which resulted into the Pennsylvania School being known today as the
“functional school”.
The Functional Approach has particularly applicability to the Philippines due to the
existence of countless social agencies providing services to very varied client needs
(Mendoza, 2008
This helping process has a psychological base and a therapeutic approach derived from
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory (Diagnostic Approach).
However, there are three (3) characteristics of Functional Approach that makes it
different from that of the Diagnostic Social Work:
1. It works from a “psychology of growth”
 The social worker engages the client in a helping process which releases the
latter’s own power of choice and growth.
 It sees the human being as capable of modifying both himself and his
environment in accordance with his own purposes and within the limits of
his own capacity and his own environment.
2. The purpose of the agency guides the social worker’s over- all purpose
 It gives focus, direction and content to the worker’s practice.
 The worker’s goal is to realize the purpose of her agency in the interest of
the client, the agency and the society.
3. Social work is viewed as a helping process through which an agency’s service is
made available.
 The social work method is directed in “having to do with the initiating,
sustaining and terminating of a process in human relationships”.
 The client and the worker will agree on what the former can do with the
service that is being made available
Five (5) Principles that guides the Functional Approach:
1. Understanding of the phenomenon served (diagnosis)
2. Worker’s conscious use of the time phases in the process (beginning, middles and
endings)
3. Use of agency function
4. Conscious use of structure (time, place, agency policy, and procedure)
5. Use of relationship
Important Notes:

A silent type of person. He is neat at all times and carries himself well.  This approach can be applied both with individuals and with group. the siblings ran away taking different route while the other boy was brought to the hospital by the onlooker and was later declared dead on arrival. he was . Larry and his brother hid for a while but after ten days. Presenting Problem The client was recently turned over to DSWD-RRCY for temporary custodial care and rehabilitation by the personnel of Ma-a City Jail. Identifying Data Name: a.a “Larry” Age: 17 years old Birthday: January 10. They were about to ride a jeepney somewhere along Matina when a certain boy came closer and without any provocation from Larry.. Cesar Jr. his silence did not make him less participative in the activities being held at the agency. IV. his case is still in trial. were on their way to visit their mother. attempted to stab him.  Republic of the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development REGIONAL REHABILITATION CENTER FOR YOUTH Bago Oshiro. This group came to be called as the “Rankians” or”functionalists”. Larry and his brother. he does not talk much but nevertheless. only the client can determine what the future can and should be. Piapi Boulevard. Davao City Religion: Roman Catholic Educational Attainment: 1H II. Tugbok District. they were found and arrested by the authorities. He is now 17 going 18. A murder was filed against them and the trial is still ongoing at RTC Branch 12.  (Functional) Caseworkers help people learn to live in the present and make the best of themselves with the resources that are currently available. and Susan. a small group adapted the approach of Otto Rank led by Jessie Taft and the faculty of the School of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. 21-C. Father Male 48 3H Furnature maker Susan Mother Female 38 4H Housekeeper Nerissa Sister Female 22 4H Housekeeper Cesar Jr brother male 19 1H Furniture maker III. They were detained at Talomo precint for more than a week and were eventually transferred to Ma-s City Jail. Davao City SOCIAL CASE STUDY REPORT I.k.  By recognizing the limitation inherent in the situation. Upon noticing the commotion. He stands 5’5”.  (Functional) Caseworkers never speculate on the type of change anticipated or desired of setting goals is considered a prerogative of the client. After which. History of the Case On the 24th of January 2008. came to the rescue and stabbed his brother’s attacker using the knife which he was able to away from the aggressor himself. 1993 Civil Status: Single City Address: Brgy. Cesar Jr.of medium built and with fair complexion. He is also a keen observer and has well-thought ideas to share.  The technique of settings the time limits is a hallmark of the Functional Approach. yet after two years. Davao City Client’s Background Larry is the youngest among the three children of Cesar Sr.  While majority of social workers espoused the Freudian Theory. During his BJMP-Ma-a City Jail. Family Composition Name of Relationshi sex age Educational occupation members p to client attainment Cesar Sr.

the children were brought by their father in Piapi Boulevard. the family resides in Digos City. This would ultimately lead him/her to be dysfunctional and unable to effectively perform his/her roles in the society. Davao del Sur but when Larry’s parents parted ways. giving him some privileges during his stay there. Assessment Based on the client’s statement. that was what made up Larry’s life for a while. There people that eventually become Larry’s peers has primarily influenced him to loiter in the street. His sister now become the one in charge of the place their mother once hold and long vacated. Essentially. Esteem Needs and Self-Actualization needs. His father and brother ate the breadwinner in the family. Given Larry’s situation. is next to their father of power inside the home. This analysis is supported by Abraham Maslow’s theory on the Hierarchy of Needs in which he give emphasis on the five levels of needs that every human being should meet To be able to function well. he neither stabbed nor provoked the victim in any way and argued that this brother only defended him. While there. at first. He also said that they are happy and contented even without their mother. Furthermore. Davao City where they rented a house. Their place is not conducive for the growth and development of a teenager like him. the others would be greatly affected and so is the individual himself. when one level is not satisfied. he and his brother would not be involved in such crime.considered as one of the most reliable and trusted inmates. They provide for the family’s daily needs with their work as furniture makers. Family Background Larry is a product of a broken family and. was left under the welfare of their father upon their parents’ separation when he was barely four years old. Initially. clothing and shelter are provided for by his father and brother. Love and Belongingness. his mother eloped with other man. he decided to go back home and start new. larry shared that he was able to meet and make friends with other boys his age. engage in vices and become a member of a gang called CIA. his need for love and belongingness is still not fully compensated and that may be the reason why he could not feel any security. But when realization of his activities negative effects came. hence. sniffing rugby as well as taking on gang riots. . though his physiological needs like food. Larry. Larry describe his father as a good person. particularly inside their home. He claimed that it was because of them why he learned to engage in vices such as drinking. it was already a little too late. also known as City Innocent Angels. Security and Safety needs. leaving him and his two other siblings with their father. They are patriarchal when it comes to decision-making and their sister. When he did. they always talk about things and resolve every issue in a calm way. being the oldest. Prior to this. He was already doing fine when the stabbing incident happened. On the contrary. With that. this happening is rather anticipated and expected due to the family set-up that the client had. he was not able to have the proper guidance while growing up since his father and brother was always out working and his sister had been focused on her duties at home. The absence of his mother at the early stage of his life and the reality of having a broken family made him seek for belongingness and security outside the home and he got it from his peers who mostly have the same situation with him. Given the companionship and momentary “fun” they brought him. Indeed. V. The attempt to stab Larry could probably be motivated by a vengeance from other gang member whom the client and his fellow gang members have encountered and fought with in a riot before. He enrolled himself as a freshmen in a nearby public school with the help of his father. which made him earn some enemies along the way. did not mind the negative influence they have on him. It now serves as their permanent residence for years now. which every person yearns to possess. There are many bystanders hanging around in the neighborhood. the client experienced loitering in the street for almost a year. According to him. smoking. At the time. grow fully as a person and realize his/her innate potentials- the Physiological Needs. there is no one to check on him and monitor his activities. Larry’s association with the CIA or City Innocent Angels has been the main root of his problem. If it were not for the gang’s past “adventures”. he has resorted to the “comfort” and company of his friends and made matters worse. together with his brother and sister.

Specific objectives activities Person responsible Expected outcome 1. But being a minor. To develop Encourage the Social worker The client become the client’s client to open up Spiritual adviser spiritually-inclined spiritual and participate in Inmate/wards side the religious client activity of the agency 4. Agency volunteers to continue with interest on formal classes (educators) his studies upon his studies provided by the Inmates/wards discharge from the and agency thru client agency encourage Alternative him to Learning School continue (ALS) with it upon his discharge 6. Evaluation A murder case was filed against Larry and his brother in 2008. with new livelihood and House parents values and skills learnings. VI. turning him into a more productive individual. Treatment Plan General Objectives: To help the client restore his social functioning and regain his self –esteem as well as discover and realize his innate potentials. To restore Let the client Social worker The client decided the client’s attend the non. To assist Coordinate with Social worker The client become and give the PAO for the PAO lawyer hopeful and support to speedy trial on the Client’s parent optimistic the client case. only fifteen during the commission of the crime and having been . To provide Let the client Social worker The client acquired the client participate in the Homelife staff new learnings. To let the Provide an Social worker The client restored client individual client his normal ventilate-let counseling functioning and him regained his self- overcome esteem his fears and insecurities as well as regain his self-esteem 3. skills training client values and program and skills home life activities of the agency 5. continue on client regarding the of regarding monitoring the the outcome of his his pending client’s progress trial case in the inside the agency court and regularly submit reports to the court VII. To Conduct a Family Social worker The family strengthen Counseling Client’s family relationship the client’s client become stronger relationship and the family with his member parents and developed an open siblings communication with one another 2.

detained for two years in Ma-a City Jail. to restore his normal functioning and to strengthen some aspect of his well-being that has been cited in the above mentioned plan . Larry has been transferred to RRCY to undergo intensive rehabilitation while waiting for the outcome of his trial. Recommendation It is recommended that the client undergo intensive rehabilitation so as to free him from the trauma he may have acquired in the past. VIII.