You have recently moved to Riverton, social work degree in hand. You are renting a house with two roommates in an area known as Alvadora, populated largely by working-class families. You were drawn to the neighborhood by the relatively affordable rent, proximity to restaurants, walkable sidewalks, and available street parking. You met a few of your neighbors—a family with two young children, two recently-married couples, and a single woman a decade older than you—shortly after you moved in. After only two weeks in the community, however, you are frustrated by a significant problem: empty liquor & beer bottles strewn all over your yard and your neighbor's yard, almost every morning when you wake up. You’re already tired of starting every work day with the chore of gathering bottles for the glass recycling, and you don’t know how much longer you can put up with this.

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For Instructors

The Case of Riverton

While there are of course individuals, groups, and organizations that comprise the Riverton community, the focal unit of this case is the community. The case file describes the features of the community (population size and composition), the presenting problem (community conflict about alcohol use and associated issues with trash and perceived safety), and the social worker’s role.

An additional element of the community practice challenges of the Riverton case is the social worker’s dual roles as a resident of the community and a social worker who has been tasked with finding a workable solution to this problem. This invites a discussion of ethics and asks students to grapple with the collision of personal interests and professional responsibilities. Other dimensions of the Riverton case include a sociogram, to help students visualize community relationships, and an examination of alcohol use through the lens of an ecological model.

My Goals For This Case



Become acquainted with the individual organizations and people in this case and learn about the town's dynamics.



Learn how the larger social environment–culture, social policy, and social forces–affect the town.



Develop your problem-solving skills through a four-phase interventive process: Engage, Assess, Intervene, and Evaluate.