Kasey (aged 5 years), Krystal (aged 2 years) and Kylie (aged 1 year) Cheung are sisters currently living in Foster Care in Regional NSW. They were placed in care ten months ago following a report concerning their safety, as a result of their mother’s substance use, and the children’s exposure to violence. Following a series of anonymous reports to child protection, the initial investigation confirmed that there was substantial immediate risk to the children.
A Family Group Conference meeting was attended only by the children’s mother, Stacey, who is estranged from her own family. No agreement was reached as a result of this conference: Stacey maintained a view that she did not have a drug/alcohol problem and that she was not in a violent relationship. She did not agree to any community service involvement to support her in her parenting role, or to assess her current substance use. Following the meeting a decision was reached to remove the children from her care. They were subsequently placed in foster care with an experienced (Chinese) carer. A court order which allowed for regular contact between Stacey and her children, initially supervised, and for the girls to remain in out of home care, expires in just 8 weeks.
The children’s father Troy died suddenly of a heroin overdose 10 months ago, shortly after news that his children had been removed from the care of their mother.
Stacey Cheung is a twenty one year old young woman who spent four years living in ‘out of home care’ in Victoria, in a series of residential units. At age 16, Stacey became pregnant with her first child, Kasey. Stacey and Troy lived together following the birth of Kasey, initially with Child Protection involvement to ‘monitor and support’. Child Protection withdrew their involvement with a plan in place for community agencies to provide support to the family. Since then Troy and Stacey struggled to maintain stability in their accommodation. Troy’s drug and alcohol use led to a loss of employment and ultimately rendered him unemployable. The family had moved frequently, living in share houses with friends and occasionally accessing emergency accommodation via the Chinese Community Church. Kasey, aged 5 began school this year. She did not attend kindergarten.
For the past 10 months the children have lived in foster care. The girls have thrived physically and emotionally in the care of their foster family. Kasey has remained in the same school and is doing well: making progress in her learning and beginning to form friendships. Kasey has confided in her carer that she does not like mummy’s boyfriend and it has emerged that Stacey has a new partner who she has introduced to the girls whilst on (unsupervised) access.
Krystal is now achieving her developmental milestones, is speaking in two word sentences and walking, running and climbing. Kylie also is a thriving, confident one year old who is walking and has a few words. Both Kylie and Krystal have sleep difficulties; in particular Krystal who has night terrors and wakes every couple of hours each night.
Your task now in Assignment 3
You are the social worker assigned to undertake a current assessment with a view to making recommendations about the children’s future.
This assignment involves a critical evaluation of a practice scenario and the outlining of different stages of a social work response to the scenario. You should:
• 1. Examine how different sources of knowledge (e.g. empirical knowledge, theoretical knowledge etc) can be used to both understand the situation and inform a social work response.
• 2. Outline the stages of an appropriate social work response to the scenario.
• 3. Consider the personal and professional challenges of responding to this situation (e.g. in relation to your personal values and social work ethics).
• This scenario will be made available to you at the residential workshop
• 1. Ability to examine the different sources of knowledge that can be applied
• 2. Ability to outline stages of an appropriate social work response
• 3. Capacity to reflect on personal and professional challenges
• 4. Presentation, including argumentation, written expression, referencing