Jerry L. Johnson, PhD, MSW
George Grand, Jr., PhD, MSW

Course Outline

This casebook provides students with personal and intimate glimpses into the thinking and actions of experienced practitioners working with clients dealing with adoption.

The contributors of this casebook combined many decades of social work experience and teaching to create an opportunity for students to study and analyze how practitioners think about practice. The authors move beyond the belief that practice involves finding “correct” interventions to solve client problems, and instead invite students to review and challenge the work of others to help them understand what informs important practice decisions with real clients in real practice settings.


  • Chapter 1 provides an overview of the Advanced-Multi System (AMS) practice approach as an organizing tool for students.
  • Sets of discussion questions within each case allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the case and to evaluate the process, ideas, and methods behind how and why the authors approached their case in the manner presented.
  • Casebook invites students openly to assess and explore how they would have resolved similar situations themselves using new knowledge.

About Authors

Jerry L. Johnson, PhD, MSW MSW is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his MSW from Grand Valley State University and his PhD in sociology from Western Michigan University. Johnson has been in social work for more than 20 years as a practitioner, supervisor, administrator, consultant, teacher, and trainer. He was the recipient of two Fulbright Scholarship awards to Albania in1998-99 and 2000-01. In addition to teaching and writing, Johnson serves in various consulting capacities in countries such as Albania, and Armenia. He is the author of two previous books, Crossing borders- Confronting History: Intercultural Adjustment in a Post-Cold War World (2000 Rowan and Littlefield) and Fundamentals of Substance Abuse Practice (2004, Wadsworth Brooks/Cole).

George Grand, Jr., PhD, MSW is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand, Jr., also serves as the Director of Grand Valley State University’s MSW Program. He received his MSW from Grand Valley State University and PhD in sociology from Western Michigan University. Grant, Jr., has a long and distinguished career as practitioner, administrator, consultant, teacher, and trainer in social work primarily in fields dedicated to Child Welfare.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this course you’ll be able to:

Chapter 1

  1.  Define the Advanced Multi-Systemic (AMS) approach to social work practice and understand its theoretical components.
  2.  Identify and utilize the six different dimensions of client information that comprise AMS.

Chapter 2

  1. Develop awareness of the issues involved when splitting up siblings between two adoptive settings.
  2. Increase understanding of the history of adoption laws.
  3. Address some of the factors leading to success vs. disruption in special needs adoptions.

Chapter 3

  1.  Describe strategies to address conflicts between adopted and biological children living in the same home.
  2.  Identify elements of intensified and exaggerated identity crises experienced by adolescents coping with their adoptive history.

Chapter 4

  1. Understand various issues of resistance and responsibility associated with involuntary clients.
  2.  Address some of the challenges involved when working with multiple agencies during an international adoption.

Chapter 5

  1.  Obtain a better understanding of object relations theory and the concept of separation-individuation.
  2.  Give examples of the unique needs of African-American adolescents in the clinical setting.

Course Contents

  1. A Multi-Systemic Approach to Practice
  2. Sarah and Robert
  3. The Morgan Family
  4. The Boyds
  5. Travis