SOCW 6060 Reflection Questions: The Hernandez Family
SOCW 6060 Reflection Questions: The Hernandez Family
- What specific intervention strategies (skills, knowledge, etc.) did you use to address this client situation?
I used role-playing to help the family members view how each of them perceived their behaviors. For example, Juan Jr. acted like Juan Sr. when he came home from work each day. Juan Jr. portrayed his father as grumpy and irritated at the sight of the boys. His tone was angry and he yelled instead of using a calm tone. Juan Sr. was shocked at how Juan Jr. depicted him and his interactions with his family members. Drawing on family systems theory and the strengths perspective, I highlighted the family’s assets and made sure to recognize that they were the experts of their own life and experiences. I also wanted to treat the family as a unit rather than concentrate on one “identified client.” Therefore, rather than focusing on Juan Jr. and why he called, I had the family express their thoughts and feelings about interactions in the home on a daily basis. We did review how each felt about the call to the ACS worker, but the intent was to release any underlying resentment or anger felt by any of the family members. Using a genogram helped to identify patterns in the family history. This clearly unlocked some firmly held beliefs around expectations of how children should behave and shared financial burdens that no longer worked for this family. SOCW 6060 Reflection Questions: The Hernandez Family.
- Which theory or theories did you use to guide your practice?
I used the strengths perspective and family systems theory. I focused on what the family had and how they could access the available resources that had yet been untapped. I looked at how the family interacted as a unit rather than four separate individuals. We worked together to identify how each member of the family affected the others in various ways—sometimes in a positive manner and sometimes in ways that were challenging and provoking.
- What were the identified strengths of the client(s)?
It was clear from the beginning that Elena and Juan Sr. loved each other and their sons. There was clearly a bond among the family members that appeared to get stronger over the course of the sessions. Elena and Juan Sr. were able to see that while they had not elected to seek counseling, family and parenting sessions could be helpful to them and their children. They allowed me to learn about their family and took great pride in describing their heritage and culture.
- What were the identified challenges faced by the client(s)?
The biggest challenge to this family was the financial concern they faced each day. It was clear that their economic situation weighed heavily on all members of the family. The need for Juan Sr. to put in many hours of overtime negatively affected his behavior toward his children. The children were perhaps acting out due to the fear and anxiety they felt about money issues, which were constantly being discussed in the home. Through our discussion about money management, it was clear that neither Elena nor Juan Sr. had sat down and completed a budget. Many expenses were unaccounted for in their bank register and neither balanced the checkbook regularly. SOCW 6060 Reflection Questions: The Hernandez Family.
- What were the agreed-upon goals to be met to address the concern?
Because the clients were mandated to services, the goals were essentially set by the ACS worker. That being said, I tried to work with the family to identify potential topics that they wanted to discuss during our family sessions. Elena and Juan Sr. said they wanted to learn more about managing their money.
- Did you have to address any issues around cultural competence? Did you have to learn about this population/group prior to beginning your work with this client system? If so, what type of research did you do to prepare?
Because I felt that the ACS worker had neglected to take into consideration the Hernandez’s culture when she made the referral, I was very aware that I needed to learn about them and their beliefs around parenting. As a Caucasian woman, I was not familiar with the form of discipline they had used nor did I understand their perspective as Latino (Puerto Rican) individuals. I asked them many questions about their culture and how children are treated and viewed. They shared many stories of their own childhood with me and helped me to understand their perspective based on their cultural lens.
- What local, state, or federal policies could (or did) affect this case?
It would positively affect cases like this if ACS, a state agency, decided that each potential abuse case needed to be reviewed for cultural competence in order to eliminate or reduce bias.
- How would you advocate for social change to positively affect this case?
I would encourage such a policy as described above to be implemented across all child protective service agencies. Further, I would encourage that a strengths perspective be adopted by child protective workers when addressing these cases.
- Were there any legal or ethical issues present in the case? If so, what were they and how were they addressed?
The legal issues surrounded the fact that I was mandated to contact the ACS worker about the clients’ progress or lack thereof. Ethically, I felt torn about calling the ACS worker but knew that in the end it was what I had to do.
- How can evidence-based practice be integrated into this situation?
It was integrated through the use of an evidenced-based program to teach parenting skills.
- Is there any additional information that is important to the case? No, there is no additional information.
- Describe any additional personal reflections about this case.
I believe that including a positive report when I notified the ACS that the clients had missed too many classes was helpful in advocating for them. As their social worker, I believed that they had tried to attend the classes. I felt it was my responsibility to advocate for them and share all of the positive strides they made while working with me. I highlighted their strengths when talking with the ACS worker rather than focusing on the negatives. The clients recognized this and did not get angry with me when I told them I had to contact the ACS worker. They continued to contact me to share their sons’ milestones and elected to participate in some holiday events at the agency and eventually the financial literacy program we offered. I wish I had reported the inappropriate comments made by the ACS worker to her supervisor. I feel now that I should have said something and regret not reporting these statements. SOCW 6060 Reflection Questions: The Hernandez Family.