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Community Practice: Theories and Skills for Social Workers

By David A. Hardcastle; Patricia R. Powers et al. | Go to book overview

15
Community Social Casework

Mrs. J., a 30-year-old white female, was referred to a family services agency (FSA) for help. Her husband chronically physically and emotionally abuses her. Mrs. J. quit high school in her sophomore year because of pregnancy with her first child. She didn't return to school or obtain a high school equivalency certificate. The child, John, is now 14 years old. Mrs. J. 's current husband is not John's father. This is a source of conflict in the family. John and Mr. J. do not get along. Mr. J. is repeatedly physically and emotionally abusive to the boy. John is habitually absent from school, insolent, and a member of a loose-knit gang of antisocial white youth who call themselves skinheads. He often is out of Mrs. J. 's control.

Mrs. J. 's second child, Susan, is 10, She is Mr. J. 's daughter, and he adores her. Susan worships John, and Mrs. J. is worried that Susan is picking up John's wild ways.

The family moved to the community about 6 months ago from another state. They moved so that Mr. J. could find employment. He obtained work as an auto mechanic (his occupation) and has been working consistently since their move. He financially supports the family. John's biological father provides neither financial nor emotional support. He doesn't have any contact with John.

Mrs. J. has not worked outside the home for the decade of her marriage. Prior to her marriage, she worked for about 3 years as a waitress. Her mother babysat John. Mrs. J. met Mr. J. at her waitress job. She has no other paid employment experience. She now wants to find a job so that she and John will be less financially dependent on Mr. J. Her desire for a job is a source of friction between her and her husband. He believes that supporting the family is his responsibility, and that Mrs. J. is responsible for the children's upbringing. He tells her she is not doing a good job raising the children. They are “going bad. How does she expect to both work outside the home and properly bring up the children when she can't bring up the children now? She should, her husband believes, devote her energy to being a homemaker and supervising the children. He does want John to get a job, because John is not passing or attending school regularly. Their discussions on these matters generally result in violent arguments.

Mrs. J. has neither close friends nor relatives in the new community and rarely gets out of the home except for household duties. She does not have a primary social support system. She feels socially isolated and marginalized, in addition to her marital and family problems.

-426-

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