Seasons of Service

Social Services Scenarios

Overview: This unit introduces students to the field of social service. What is it? Who does it? How are social services delivered? What are the qualifications for entry-level positions?

Objectives: Introduce and define the field and role of human/social services. Suggest alternatives for problem solving. Improve analytical skills. Improve communication skills. Gain experience in group work.

Developing the lesson: Write on the blackboard the words Social Services. Read scenarios* or watch video vignettes that portray troubling situations - flooding, fires, car accidents, court battles, war etc. Ask students how to address these situations. Stress the uniqueness of each introduced person and each portrayed situation and the importance of offering individualized response. Have students analyze each scenario or vignettes and determine what is happening. List varying perceptions on the board. Organize students into small groups to identify the problems and devise ways to solve them.

Extending lesson: Interview social service professionals about their goals, qualifications and job satisfactions. Research services available in community. Invite representatives to Public Service Learning Fair.

* If you cannot access appropriate scenarios or vignettes, use these or create your own:

How Can Social Services Help? ~ Read & Solve the Scenarios

  • A fourteen year old girl runs away, is picked up by the police, and placed in a detention home. The father is a businessperson. The mother is a schoolteacher. Concerned about their daughter they ask for help from the court.
  • Neighbors call the Bay State Psychiatric Hospital to report a neighbor (recently released from a mental hospital) who is playing loud music all day and night and throwing garbage on the lawn. They believe he has stopped taking his medication and are fearful for his children.
  • A woman calls a community center to report that since her landlord is not providing heat, her pipes are frozen and there is no water. The landlord refuses to respond, and the city has not sent an investigator to assess the situation. Others are living in the apartment house, including three elderly persons with special needs.
  • A young mother of an eight-month-old infant brings the baby into the emergency room of the hospital with a concussion and two broken limbs. The mother indicates that a boyfriend had been baby-sitting but when she came home from shopping she found the baby unattended

Adapted from

Back to Sandy Simpson