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         PAPER ASSIGNMENT #1: AGENCY SUPERVISION PROCESS ANALYSIS

Based on lectures, discussion, assigned readings for the Supervision course, and your current fieldwork experiences, analyze your current fieldwork agency as a case study and discuss the following. This assignment requires you to critically analyze and evaluate the processes and outcomes of supervision provided within your fieldwork agency. Discussion of each of the following should be preceded by a heading referring to the section of the paper.

(1) description of the policies and procedures related to supervision at your fieldwork agency

(2) analysis of the process and effectiveness of supervision for students and staff at your fieldwork agency

(3) discussion of the relationship of ideas in assigned readings to the specifics of your placement setting

(4) areas for potential improvement in the supervisory process in this agency

(5) the rationale for your suggestions for improvement

(6) strategies for implementation of your recommendations

(7) anticipated impact that your proposed changes might have on the organization’s agency personnel and resources

(8) an organizational chart (included as an Appendix)

(9) a reference page in APA 6th ed. style 

This assignment is worth 25% of your grade for this course. The final version of your paper should be double-spaced, typed in Times New Roman 12 point font, and written in APA style, including the citations within the paper and the reference page. Avoid use of direct quotations from assigned readings and agency manuals and instead paraphrase content relevant to this paper. The paper should be 4 pages plus the appendix and reference page.

Grading will be based on how well you have fulfilled the directives of the assignment:

(1) description of the policies and procedures related to supervision at your fieldwork agency (10 points)

(2) analysis of the process and effectiveness of supervision for students and staff at your fieldwork agency (10 points)

(3) discussion of the relationship of content relevant to this paper that is in assigned readings to the specifics of your placement setting (15 points)

(4) areas for potential improvement in the supervisory process in this agency (10 points)

(5) the rationale for your suggestions for improvement (10 points)

(6) strategies for implementation of your recommendations (5 points)

(7) anticipated impact that your proposed changes might have on the organization’s agency personnel and resources (5 points)

(8) citations within the paper and a reference page in APA style (5 points)

(9) organizational chart (included as an Appendix) (5 points)

          (10) writing clarity, including spelling and punctuation (5 points)

          (11) organization of content (5 points)

          (12) on time submission of the assignment (15 points)

Answer

Supervision Process Analysis

Contents

Overview.. 2

Discussion of Policies and Procedures. 2

Supervision Process and Effectiveness Analysis. 3

Discussion of Placement Experiences Relative to the Assigned Readings. 4

Areas for Potential Improvement in Supervision. 5

Rationale for the Proposed Areas for Potential Improvement. 5

Strategies for Implementing the above Proposals. 6

Anticipated Impact on the Department’s Resources and Personnel 6

References. 7

Overview  

Field placement is a crucial requirement for a student undertaking a social work course as it forms the foundation for reflective practice by critically analyzing his values, understanding, skills, and knowledge of the assignment he is performing. At the agency of placement, the student works under the supervision of experienced staff. Through this paper, I critically analyze the encounters I experienced during my internship period at The Social Work Department of P.S. 46 Edgar Allen Poe School, Bronx NY.

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Discussion of Policies and Procedures

One thing I noticed is that, though the Department has a culture of conducting an induction exercise for all new employees, this program is not documented. However, during the material day of the exercise, a well-outlined program with the issues to be covered is used; where the human resource personnel and the program officer lead the procedure. This process shows that the Department appreciates the roles of an induction process, especially in helping the new people understand how things are done.

Being in a school setting, I was not involved in any outside activity, implying that the supervision took place inside the Department. As an effort to ensure that supervision was conducted in an organized way, and being interns, the supervisor required that we maintain records of our duties, which we filled out using the process recording approach. However, there were no specified intervals in which the supervisor would come to review our progress. He would, therefore, randomly visit our work stations randomly and whenever he was around. The supervisor was, however, committed to know and review our progress.

In the case of the staff, a more structured approach to their supervision was in place. Each employee had to issue a progress report on a monthly basis. On every Friday following the last week of the month, a Departmental meeting would be convened and the matters in the reports discussed. The sessions were open for everyone to contribute solutions to the raised challenges.

Supervision Process and Effectiveness Analysis

The supervision was implemented as per the set standards where every intern had his/her tasks well assigned while the staff had their job descriptions clear. To me and being an intern, this allocation of duties implied that it was easy for the supervisor to discover any problem, especially where I would encounter a challenge. Notably, through the requirement, by the supervisor, that all interns adopt a process recording approach to their duties, I was able to evaluate the needs and concerns of every client, and report and analyze the interactions with them. Therefore, whenever the supervisor came around he could identify areas that I needed more practice and help while commending me for positive achievements made.

Based on how tied the supervisor was, he could either explain to me how the underlying issue is addressed or ask a staff to teach me. Generally, working with other employees was good and it helped me feel being part of the team. However, there were instances when the employees were moody and not very willing to help, especially where they were working to beat a deadline or due to burnouts and other related stress.

Discussion of Placement Experiences Relative to the Assigned Readings

In their work, Kadushin and Harkness (2002) noted that some of the supervision functions that supported social work and social welfare included managerial, supportive and educative tasks. The educative function was seen where the supervisor was committed to ensuring that interns developed the right skills and knowledge for professional competence. The supervisor exercised administrative duties by monitoring work performance, implementing Department’s policies and promoting good work standards. Supportively, the supervisor ensured that harmonious working relationships and job satisfaction existed. Reeser and Wertkin (2001) noted that the social work schools and agencies should be concerned with the safety of the social service employees, and these were seen at the Social Work Department where I was placed. Though the Department had its roles too to play to secure every person in the organization, it was made clear that health, safety and welfare practices were everyone’s responsibility. I indeed witnessed that everyone took reasonable care in the course of his/her duties to protect his/her own safety and welfare as well as that of others.

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Additionally, the commitment by the Department in general and the supervisor in particular to staff’s individual development in terms of positive influence and coaching, will eventually lead to the cultivation of a development culture as noted by Bllom, Yanosy, and Harrison (2013). I strongly support this commitment to the employees as it will help them remain motivated resulting in reduced cases of burnouts and stress. Also, the positive remarks made by the supervisor link to the appreciative and acknowledgement statements proposed by de Groot (2016).

Areas for Potential Improvement in Supervision

First, the Department should develop a standard format to be followed by every intern in recording his/her work, and daily experiences with clients. Second, there should be an expanded exposure to various tasks of the Department including the administrative duties as opposed to the field-work type assignments of dealing with students and their families only. Third, the Department should develop a formal induction manual capturing all pertinent issues that should be covered every time a new intern or staff is recruited. Finally, the other area I would like the Department to consider improving is introducing activities that would see the interns move outside the office environment. For instance, there can be instances where the students go to the school’s neighborhood and interact with the community, which give them an opportunity to tell it the importance of accepting and integrating children who seem to be ill-mannered into the society.

Rationale for the Proposed Areas for Potential Improvement

It is my feelings that through such standardization of activity recording materials, there will be uniformity in information recording necessary in helping the supervisor understand where the intern needs an improvement. In addition, the information is useful in enhancing effective service delivery to the clients. The provision of the incidental learning opportunities for interns during their field placement assignments will expose them to a number of activities undertaken by a professional social worker such as the managerial and supportive functions. I believe this exposure will give such students a hands-on experience on what they expect as they chart their career path. Introduction of a well-documented induction manual will help in ensuring that the exercise is done in a thorough way. Having an opportunity to engage in fieldwork exercises will give the intern an opportunity to discuss with the community on the need to integrate back the badly-behaving children, which will in turn help shape their behavior

Strategies for Implementing the above Proposals

First, the Department may design logbooks in which it clearly creates spreadsheets and items that interns should record each day and time they perform a given activity. Second, the provision of incidental learning opportunities may be achieved by developing a learning rotational program requiring that the intern serves in every section over the placement period. Third, the Department’s HR personnel needs to consider all the issues that a new person needs to know about the agency for proper functioning and compile them into one document. Finally, the supervisor should make it mandatory that a given number of days over the placement period will be spent outside the office by engaging the community.

Anticipated Impact on the Department’s Resources and Personnel

The production of the standardized logbooks and the induction program manual means that the Department will expend some of its financial resources. On the part of the personnel, the Supervisor will be able to closely monitor the information for enhanced service delivery. By offering incidental learning opportunities, agency’s personnel will be required to develop the requisite interpersonal skills to properly guide the interns. As a result, a culture of teamwork will also be motivated. Additionally, the work outside the office will give the intern an opportunity to interact with a larger population and learn about their concerns.

References

Bllom, S. L., Yanosy, S., & Harrison, L. C. (2014). A reciprocal supervisory network: The sanctuary model. In S. L. Bllom, S. Yanosy, & L. C. Harrison, Trauma and the therapeutic relationship: Approaches to process and practice (pp. 126-146). Palgrave Macmillan.

de Groot, S. (2016). Chapter 5: A strengths focus and quality leadership. In S. de Groot, Responsive leadership in social services: A practical approach for optimizing engagement and performance (pp. 125-156). Thousand oaks, CA: Sage.

Kadushin, A., & Harkness, D. (2002). Supervision in social work, 4th Ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

Reeser, L. C., & Wertkin, R. A. (2001). Safety training in social work education: A national survey. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, Vol. 21(1/2), 95-114.

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