Working with Non-Voluntary and Mandated Clients

Jacqueline Corcoran

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:
Working with Non-Voluntary and Mandated Clients


Social work’s traditional commitment to impoverished, socially diverse, and otherwise vulnerable and oppressed populations means that, as a by-product, social workers often work with people who have been ordered by the courts to retain their services. Authors in the field have noted that the majority of clients seen by social workers in public agencies are mandated, or at least to some degree involuntary in that they are pressured to attend services by partners, spouses, supervisors, or under some threat of future punishment. Unfortunately, many models of helping are built on the notion of a person voluntarily seeking services and one who is motivated to change behavior. Certain values of social work are also more difficult to enact with mandated clients, such as self-determination (they would prefer not to engage in services) and confidentiality (the courts might require assessment of progress). Court-ordered populations are involved with the criminal justice system in which debate, confrontation, and punishment are primary approaches. However, social work values, such as the dignity and worth of the individual and the importance of relationships, dictate that we take a more humanistic approach.

Article.  3605 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »