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Hard Choices: How Would You React?

Updated Tuesday, 26 October 2004

Try this quiz activity showing some of the choices social workers have to make in their jobs

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Would you like to have a go at making the kinds of decisions that social workers responsible for protecting children are routinely involved in?

The following case study is based on real life experiences of social workers, but for the purpose of this activity all characters have been fictionalised and details have also been greatly simplified.

As you read through each stage of the case study, you will be asked to stop and make a decision. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers - different people have different needs and values, and sometimes what might seem to be the most sensible solution can turn out to be impractical, so you'll be told how effective your choice would have been in this fictional case. Of course, in the real world, social workers would be able to ask further questions before coming to a decision. Obviously, that's not possible online, but we've tried to give you enough information to make an informed choice.

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Kelly is fifteen years old and two months pregnant. Her parents separated when she was three and her father, with whom she lived after the separation, died when she was five. From then onwards, she moved from place to place living with various relatives. She rarely attended school. Her mother suffers from depression and is living 200 miles away with her second husband and Kelly’s brother. Kelly has been to stay with her mother and stepfather on several occasions but the visits have always ended in her being told to leave. Kelly’s mother knows about the pregnancy and has told her daughter that she is promiscuous and stupid.

Kelly was placed in care when there was friction with the relative who gave her a room in her house. At present Kelly is living in an inner city children’s home where she has a good relationship with staff. She has more difficulty building relationships with young people. Kelly has known her boyfriend Danny for a year and he is keen to be a father. Danny is sixteen, an only child, and lives at home with his mother and stepfather. He has recently started work. The home is unable to cater for pregnant young women.

Your Choice
As Kelly’s social worker what would you do?
Suggest Kelly terminates the pregnancy

Find somewhere else for Kelly to live


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