Social Work


Case study : Harm through Neglect
Hannah is 35 and has three children: Gemma aged 13, John aged 10 and Luke aged 12 monhts, and they each have different fathers. Hannah spent her adolescence in care after being sexually abused by her stepfather who still lives with her mother. Despite this, Hannah did fairly well and completed high school with good marks. She has had a number of office jobs that she enjoys.
The two older children were made the subjects of care orders. After five years in care due to their mother’s fluctuating mental health, they were permanently placed back with their mother two years previously but remained subject to care orders. Hannah then met her new partner Liam, and moved to another suburb to live with him. She quickly became pregnant and separated from Liam almost immediately. Hannah fled from domestic violence perpetrated by all three of the children’s fathers and so she has had a number of changes of address.
When Luke was born, Hannah became severely depressed again and found it hard to care for him, often staying in bed all day. Gemma and John undertook most of the care and missed a lot of school, but Luke’s health deteriorated quickly and the child health nurse raised concerns over the his failure to thrive as Luke’s weight was falling. All three children were brought into foster care while Hannah accepted intensive support from mental health services. The child protection social worker felt that a return home may not be in the child’s best interests, and an application was made to the Youth Court for Luke. Gemma and John were found a permanent foster placement where they quickly settled and soon began performing well at school. Luke was placed in a separate short-term placement, where his weight recovered and he began to attach to his carer.
Six months later, Hannah began a part-time job in an office and felt well enough to ask for the children to be returned to her. Parenting assessments were conducted. Hannah felt that she had been severely post-natally depressed, but believed that her therapeutic support would sustain her in parenting all three children in the future. Her therapist was convinced that she had the capacity to parent and that the loss of her role as a mother was detrimental to her own mental health.
Luke had supervised contact with his mother at home three times a week. Hannah always welcomed Luke with a big hug and showed lots of affection. However after twenty minutes or so, she would leave him to play on his own and enjoyed talking to the social worker about her office job. The home was usually cluttered and Hannah wouldn’t accept advice about safety. The social worker had to step in on many occasions to stop Luke picking up sharp objects, standing electrical extension cords or putting unsuitable things in his mouth.
The social worker undertook some work with the older children who were loyal to their mother but also said that they were happy in their placement, had lots of friends in their new school and didn’t want to move again. They were also worried that they would end up having to care for Luke and still felt responsible for his poor health as they hadn’t known how to look after him properly.

1. Your paper should answer the following questions using an ecological assessment and analysis by linking theories/knowledge to practice. Please ensure that you use other theories and knowledge to inform your case study analysis.
1. Demonstrate your understanding of an ecological assessment and its importance in social work with children and families.
2. What is your understanding of the children and their experiences. Ensure that you refer to developmental theories, rights of children (united nations convention), ecological systems theory, attachment theory, etc
3. What is your assessment of the parent? What factors impact on her parenting ability?
4. What is your understanding of the parent-child relationship? What impacts on the parent-child relationship?
5. What is your analysis of the context within which the family live and how does this impact on the children and their development?
6. If you are the social worker working with this family what processes are required to build solutions?
2. The application of theory and knowledge to practice informs ethical social work practice. In your concluding paragraph, what did you learn most through the analysis of this case study?
3. All children should be included in assignment no assumptions made. Only use information provided in case study
4. The focus of this paper is linking theory and knowledge to practice. It is an academic piece of work ad therefore it is important to access and use social work literature that has been presented in this topic and beyond. Your work must be referenced as this changes your assignment from your personal opinion to a discussion that is professional and supported by evidence. The transition from a personal opinion to professional opinion occurs through the use of referencing.

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