Building a Case Conceptualization – Gathering Data


Human Services Case Intervention Project

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Case 1: Joseph

Joseph is an 8-year-old first grader recently placed in foster care after an emergency removal from his home.

Setting: Sunshine Mountain Elementary School and the foster home of Susan and Ed Smith.


Joseph, an 8-year-old first grader, has recently been placed in foster care after an emergency removal from this home, following a period of significant neglect and possible physical abuse. He has resided with Ed and Susan Smith for the past two months. Although many things have changed for Joseph, he was able to stay in the same school.

Joseph is repeating the first grade, and there are concerns from the school staff about his educational progress. At the midyear point, Joseph is making slow progress, but there are concerns about his academic abilities. Prior to his removal from the home, school staff described Joseph as a quiet boy who mostly kept to himself. He was not disruptive in class and he did not have any significant behavioral difficulties to report. Mrs. Chetworth, Joseph’s teacher, described Joseph as a "sweet boy, very quiet who spends most of the day by himself." The Smith family also reports that Joseph is a sweet boy who loves to help out around the house and does not cause any problems. They report that the transition has been smooth thus far, but that Joseph remains quiet and has said little about the event that led to his being placed in the foster home. Mrs. Smith did report that she has heard Joseph crying sometimes at night.

Just recently, the school reports that Joseph has appeared more agitated and upset at school. He is often seen pacing at recess and Mrs. Chetworth reported that he seems more frustrated in the classroom when doing his work. He has been observed talking under his breath, slamming his locker door and snapping at his peers. The school principal has reported that several of Joseph’s classmates have told him that they heard Joseph talking about bringing a gun to school so that he would get in trouble and could visit his mother. This report was taken seriously by administration and Joseph has been removed from school until the team can develop a plan of action.

Human Services Professionals Involved

· School counselor.

· Children's services case manager.

· Guardian ad litem.

· School administrator.

· School psychologist.

· Children’s services social worker.