Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Laura Boisen

Second Advisor

Michael Schock

Third Advisor

Diane McGowan


This mixed method qualitative / quantitative direct practice evaluation was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of working from a strength-based versus a problem-based approach with children living in foster care. A strength-based approach focuses on a client's positive qualities and identifies the skills they possess that will help them to overcome their situation. The purpose for this approach is to build on and encourage, through a strength-based practice, the certain individual attributes of the child and family and community supports that can enhance resiliency in children.

Three boys living in foster care ages 8-11 were evaluated three times over a six month period. The boys evaluated themselves using the Piers-Harris Self Concept Scale (PHSCS) and their foster mothers evaluated them as well using the Behavioral Emotional Rating Scale (BERS).

The results indicate that no significant changes were found. In order to find any potential significant changes, evaluation would need to continue for a longer period of time. However through the strength-based case management intervention, some of the protective factors within the three boys individual, familial, and community systems were increased. Suggestions are made for continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of a strength-based approach in order to advance the scientific basis of strength-based interventions.


SC 11.MSW.2000.Vincent.EE

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