This week, your Discussion focuses on a case study featuring issues related to child welfare. You choose a perspective from which to view and discuss the case. This allows you to bring in contemporary and current viewpoints, as well as engage with the many considerations, pressures, or issues related to any policy.
Identify one policy or program that would be relevant to the circumstances in the case study.
Policy Resources Starter:
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Child welfare information gateway. https://www.childwelfare.gov
This website contains comprehensive information about child welfare policies and programs
Children’s Bureau. (2015, April). Immigration and child welfare. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/immigration.pdf
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2015). Immigration and child welfare. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Children’s Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/immigration.pdf
National Association of Social Workers. (2021) Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English
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Perspectives on Child Welfare Case Study The Case of Miguel
Miguel is a 10-year-old male of Colombian descent who emigrated to the United States with his mother, Luisa, when he was 3 years old. Luisa is a 36-year-old, married, Latino female born in Colombia. His birth father Jorge also emigrated with them, but he was deported when Miguel was 5. Miguel was referred to his elementary school social worker after he was involved in a playground fight with three other boys. The fight was caused by the boys using racial slurs and bullying Miguel about his unkempt clothing and appearance. His teacher also reports that during the last 2 weeks, Miguel has been falling asleep in class, exhibits possible weight loss, and his clothing is more visibly worn than usual, including shoes that are held together with tape. At his first session with the school social worker, Miguel reports that his family has been experiencing money troubles. He says that his mother promised things would soon get better and that no one should worry about him. There were no visible signs of physical abuse beyond what appeared to be scrapes resulting from the playground fight. The school social worker planned to call Miguel’s mother to schedule an appointment to help make referrals for their situation. Miguel then reveals that he, his mother, and his sister have secretly been living for 2 weeks in an unused storage shed owned by a family for whom Luisa had once worked as a maid. As this point, the school social worker arranged to accompany Miguel and his younger sister, Alma, a 5-year-old female who is in kindergarten at the same school, to the storage shed so that the family could be referred to a shelter. In the initial contact with Luisa, it is revealed that she has removed her children from the home due to domestic violence. As a result, the social worker referred the family to a domestic violence shelter. Upon further investigation, the social worker finds that Luisa and her husband Jorge came to the United States on a work visa, with the goal of sending money home to help support a struggling family business owned by Jorge’s mother. They had left their younger son Andres, 2 years old at the time, with his grandmother. Their goal had been for this arrangement to be short-term. However, Jorge, Luisa, and Miguel remained beyond the allotted time on the visa. Then, Jorge had been discovered working illegally when his place of employment was raided by immigration agents. He was deported and
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died in Colombia 3 months later, leaving Andres with his grandmother and separated from his mother and brother. Luisa has been working to attain sponsorship to bring Andres to the United States and reunite with him. Luisa worked at the local church after this and stayed with Miguel in a small basement apartment space owned by another Colombian family that helped illegal immigrants. A few years later, Luisa met and married Henry, a Caucasian man she met at the church, and became pregnant with Alma. Luisa reported that Henry became violent after they were married, which was exacerbated when he drank alcohol, often threatening Luisa when sober and sometimes striking her when drunk. Luisa reported that this was a sudden surprise, as Henry seemed kind when they dated and was well liked in the church community. Then, Henry lost his job 3 months ago and began drinking more frequently. The episodes of violence had increased in severity during the last month. In the most severe episode, Luisa suffered extensive facial bruising and blood pooled in one eye. Luisa is now extremely fearful of Henry, but she remains financially dependent on him. Henry has not looked for a new job, and the family is behind on its bills. Miguel reported that his stepfather would not allow Luisa to work. He reported that he overheard his father say, “People like you know how it’s supposed to be, taking care of the husband.” However, Miguel learned that his mother had secretly worked part-time as a maid when his father was away at work and the kids were at school. He reported that Henry’s discovery of this led to the severe abuse described above, and he prevented her from returning to that job. When asked if Henry abused the children, Miguel replied that he had not been struck, but that both children were subject to extensive verbal abuse. He reported that both children witnessed Luisa being physically abused multiple times, and that he and Alma would lock themselves in the bathroom in fear. This made Miguel feel that he was failing his mother because he was unable to protect her; however, he also felt that the young Alma needed more protection. Luisa was next referred to the local welfare agency after she and her children entered the domestic violence shelter. The domestic violence program requires all residents to apply for any available benefits in order to remain enrolled in their services. However, Luisa also has been advised that in order for sponsorship of Andres to be achieved, she cannot receive welfare benefits because she needs to prove that she can support herself and her child.
© 2022 Walden University, LLC
Luisa began to discuss returning to Henry because she felt that this was her only viable option. Luisa was advised that she might be allowed to apply for benefits and still sponsor her son because she was experiencing domestic violence. The social worker explained that they would need to seek out advice from an immigration lawyer, which may be available through a program at a local church (not the same one she attends with Henry), which could possibly provide her with an alternative to returning to Henry.
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