You live and work in Hudson City, an eastern coastal city of about 800,000 people. Hurricane Diane, a category four hurricane with wind speeds of 140 miles per hour, has just released 14 inches of rain, overflowing several rivers, disrupting public transportation, and disrupting the power infrastructure. It has so far killed 190 people and caused $1.8 billion in damage. You live in the Westside neighborhood that has been largely spared damage; however, as a resident of the larger Hudson City metropolitan area and a practicing social worker in the region, you have work to do in the aftermath of the disaster.Start this case
The New Directions in Social Work series authors and editor appreciate the contributions of Dr. Michael Cronin, PhD, LCSW, a faculty member at Monmouth University with extensive experience in disaster recovery and its implications for human rights and social work. While the case has been revised considerably, particularly in recognition of the effects of climate change on the incidence of and response to disasters, Dr. Cronin’s work laid an important foundation for this case’s development. Dr. Cronin’s initial construction of the case was informed by his work in volunteer disaster response and his personal experience with Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He dedicated his work on the case to those affected by disasters and those who help people recover and rebuild their lives.
This community case gives students opportunities to apply their growing knowledge and skills to work with multi-level client systems grappling with an increasingly common occurrence—a destructive storm. As they put themselves in the position of a social worker living and working in Hudson City, students will grapple with ethical dilemmas related to multiple roles to work through the helping process.
To assist students in this work, the case includes detailed case files, a sociogram and community map, and models for assessment (Phases of Disaster Response) and intervention (Psychological First Aid). Instructors are encouraged to incorporate other resource materials, including examples of disasters in community contexts familiar to students, scientific analysis of the effects of climate change on the frequency and severity of devastating storms, and/or policies developed to equip communities for prevention of and response to natural disasters.
Become acquainted with the organizations and individuals in this case, learn about the city’s dynamics, and consider the factors that influence how a community is affected by a natural disaster.
Learn how the larger social environment–culture, social policy, and social forces–affect the city and its experiences in the event of a disaster.
Build the knowledge and skills for successful social work throughout the phases of the helping process, within the context of a community: engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate.