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Case Scenarios

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Scenario 1

Sophia has been removed from her family and placed into foster care for the second time in the last 2 years due to her mother’s ongoing substance abuse. Sophia has missed many days of school and often comes to school dirty and wearing clothes from the day before. Sophia’s mother does not think she has a problem and blames the system for once again taking her daughter.

What can a human service professional do to help this family?

Sophia’s mother’s substance abuse is one of the main concerns for this family, as it interferes with the basic needs of both Sophia and her mother. Basic needs such as being sanitary and being given an education.Sophia once again needs to enter the foster care system, if there is no reliable relatives to care for her. The mother will have to enter and complete a mandatory drug abuse program. She will also have to complete parenting classes. Only supervised visits would be allowed during this time. Also if Sophia is eventually returned for there to be regular home visits, and support given to this family that will need much listening, and guidance during any time period. Get Sophia support such as counseling, one on one/or groups for kids with parents with substance abuse problems. This may help in understanding she is not alone.

How might the family’s previous involvement with the child protection system affect their willingness to engage in services the second time around?

The mother blames the system for her problems because she may be in denial about how her drug abuse is affecting their lives. Hopefully with a
completion of substance abuse program and parenting classes, she will be able to understand the impact of her substance abuse has had on her and her family. Since she may not trust the system, is why mandatory classes and continued monitoring must be implemented. However since this family has been thru the system already they do know what to expect. This does give both parties an advantage; a new reset point. This point helps inch forward in life long progress.

Scenario 2

John has been homeless for most of his adult life. He is often seen on the medians of busy intersections asking for food and money or wandering through the park talking to himself. John used to seek housing in a homeless shelter but often chooses to sleep in the local park. During the winter, the local homeless coalition attempts to talk to John about staying in the shelter but he refuses. Staying out in the cold has led John to being hospitalized on several occasions, but he maintains that he is better off without anyone’s help.

If you were a case manager for the homeless coalition what would you do to try and help John seek appropriate housing during the winter months?

If I were the case manager for the homeless coalition, I would attempt to ask John why he refuses to stay in the shelter during the winter. Although his mental state is questionable, John has the ability to survive. I would attempt to show John the positives of staying in the shelter during cold conditions. I would make the time and put forward the effort to build and maintain a relationship with him. In efforts to build trust with this man I want to help I will be able to at some point be able to offer my help. After a person learns they can count on a person, a small fabric of trust is extended. This will depend on the passion and availability of the helper (myself).

How does John’s outlook about receiving help affect his ability to get his needs met? John’s outlook about receiving help could be due to his mental
health. Some times life becomes so dark and mistrusting that the clients such as John believe the dark world they have painted themselves in. He believes no one truly can help him and he is better off on his own. Considering John has been hospitalized twice, there is probably an underlying issue. Depressive behavior can be confusing to a non depressed person, so even being hospitalized this may not be alarming to him. It could be that medications are too expensive or he feels institutionalized, clients as they age contemplate their place in the world and the need for spending most of their income on institutionalized medicine. This will affect his ability to get his needs met and continue to live on the streets. To him that is more acceptable rather than accepting “help”.

Scenario 3

Juan often runs away from home because his parents constantly fight and often blame him for their issues. Juan runs away for 2 to 3 days at a time and will do this at least once a week. When he is at home, he typically does not follow the rules and will yell at his parents and siblings. Juan has a history of defiant behavior, but his home environment has often been chaotic. Juan’s parents have been through family counseling, but they feel it was not helpful and are reluctant to do it again. Juan sometimes will run to a local group home that takes in runaway youth.

If you were a counselor at the group home, how might you work with Juan to get him to stop running away from home so that he is not sleeping on the streets?

How might you try to work with the family even though they have participated in family therapy previously and did not find it effective?

If I was a counselor at the group home I would utilize the procedures in place at the group home that deals with runaway youths. These procedures may include an intake in which I will conduct a screening and assessment to identify the potential problems that might cause Juan to be homeless or run away from home. After establishing a problem list I may encourage Juan to commit to some goals to resolve problems that result in him being homeless or running away from home. I think some meditating suggestions and perhaps come up with plans of action for things to be doing for most of the day. Activitites such as hiking, jogging/running, going to the gym, doing artwork, music any new hobbies to keep his mind and self occupied so that he may fill his days with things he is doing for himself rather than being in the middle of chaos. Help him organize his days so that he doesn’t have to run when chaos breaks out at home.

To reengage the family in therapy, with Juan’s consent I may invite his parents to the group home to discuss the problems Juan is experiencing and the goals he has agreed to accomplish. With the entire families consent I may make a referral to a Marriage Family therapist or community program that’s designed to help families.

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