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Advanced Professional Practice.  Challenging Behaviour Case Study,

October 2020.

This assignment is worth 50% of you end of semester grade.  This mark is divided 30% for the case study response and 20% for a related written reflection.


You are a social care practitioner on the staff team in residential centre in the greater Dublin area.  The client group is mixed gender ranging in age from 13-18.  These children are in your care are in care as a result of abuse, neglect or seriously problematic family situations.   The children in your care have a range of needs right across the spectrum and most experience some difficulty in at least one of the following areas; emotional management, use of physically aggressive behaviour, absconding from the residential centre, self-harm, educational participation, offending behaviour, high risk/inappropriate behaviour in the area of drug/alcohol misuse and/or sexual behaviour. A case study of one client is provided below.

Ricky is 13-year-old boy who has recently been placed in your residential service after unconfirmed allegations that he sexually abused his nine-year-old foster sister. Ricky has good social skills and appears very mature in many ways.  Ricky was originally placed in foster care when he was 6 years old as his parents proved unable to care for him after his twin sisters – one of whom is disabled – were born. Ricky currently has occasional phone contact with his foster parents, however the relationship is very strained as the allegations are being investigated.  Ricky speaks very positively about his foster parents in general, however his behaviour often escalates after this contact has taken place.  Ricky’s contact with his family of origin is very sporadic, Ricky never speaks of his siblings and only occasionally makes reference to his biological parents.


At school Ricky presents behavioural problems that are frequently violent. Ricky is bright and often engaged when in class, however he has been in trouble at school for using inappropriate sexual talk to female classmates. He also regularly skips school and it is unclear where he is spending his time when absent from school. Since coming into the residential service Ricky has taken to hanging around with older boys at the school and on his new estate. His foster carers previously had a suspicion that he has been sniffing glue and experimenting with drugs. They had also found pornography in his room.   Ricky is open to speaking to staff and enjoys one-to-one time with a variety of different staff members, Ricky often comes into the staff office and spends time chatting openly with staff about his feelings in relation to his current situation.  However, Ricky often stays out late, refusing to say where he has been and with whom. In recent weeks there has been some conflict with the next-door neighbours as they have complained about Ricky harassing their two older children – using sexually inappropriate language and gestures.  There is little prospect of Ricky returning to his foster family in the short term and it is very possible that this placement is irretrievably damaged.


Develop a plan for Ricky which aims to address his challenging behaviour and support his current placement.  Your plan should draw on the strengths evident in Ricky’s engagement with those around him whilst addressing the very significant risks presented by his behaviour.  Your plan should present an overall template for Rickys care with a specific emphasis on an immediate response to those issues you deem to be most significant.

Your template should be structured under the following headings;

  • Immediate interventions (1-4 week focus)
  • Mid-term interventions/plans (1-3 month focus)
  • Longer-term focus (3-6 month focus)


Your plan will outline a variety of interventions and draw on the support of other professionals and services which you think might be relevant to meeting Ricky’s needs.  In each case your intervention should be supported by a brief rationale as to why this is the correct course of action in Rickys case.  Appropriate theoretical support should accompany your rationale.  Marks will be awarded for creativity and innovation in your responses to Ricky’s needs.  A guideline wordcount for your intervention plan is 1500 words.


Your plan should be followed by a written reflection which addresses the following points;

  • Key strengths you have which you have which you feel could support you in working with Ricky.
  • Identify two aspects of Ricky’s behaviour which you feel would be most challenging for you and provide an insight as to why these behaviours would particularly trigger you.
  • Identify something specific you learned about yourself whilst on placement last year which you feel could impact on your work with Ricky in either a positive or negative way.
  • Briefly outline two feelings which Ricky’s case triggers for you and explain why you think this is.


The written reflection can be written in the first person.  The wordcount for your written reflection is 750 words.




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