Using theories and models: A Case Study
John and Grace live in a 3 bedroom privately owned home within a city with their 3 children Violet (3), Charles (6) and Patience (15). John is of White British origin and Grace has a Black African heritage. John is in his mid-forties and Grace her mid-thirties. John usually works as a builder and Grace is a nurse. Violet attends a nursery; the older children attend local schools.
The area they live in is predominantly White British. They live in a traditional suburban street that borders on a new inner city housing estate. John’s mother and father, George and Anne, live nearby on this estate. They are both in their 70’s. Most of Grace’s close family are in Zimbabwe. George and Anne are involved in family life and have regular contact with the children. George has recently been having some difficulties with his memory and is undergoing various assessments. George and Ann still provide some childcare support but this is becoming increasingly difficult as George has been diagnosed with a form of dementia. He consequently needs more and more support from Ann who then relies on Grace too.
John runs his own building company but he has been finding it increasingly difficult recently to find stable contracts. Consequently Grace often works extra shifts to maintain the family income.
Violet has settled in well at the nursery and both Charles and Patience are doing well at school although Patience’s last school report wasn’t as positive as previous ones. There had been some issues around behaviour and attitude. The teachers discussed this with John and Grace who put it down to adolescence. Patience also has a boyfriend who is older than her and she spends a lot of time with him. Since meeting him her behaviour and the way she dresses has changed.
John has a history of mental health difficulties and has had two admissions to a psychiatric hospital in the past five years. The most recent was about two years ago. Around that time he was suffering from profound mood swings, depression, was aggressive and made violent threats during an argument with a neighbour and the police were called. They were concerned about his mental state and the fact that he was caring for his 3 children alone, when Grace was working. Social services were informed at this time.
Grace is becoming concerned about John’s mental health again; she feels the problems with his business are starting to affect his health. She is therefore finding it increasingly difficult to cope with caring for the children, supporting John, helping with the care of her father in law and working long hours. John has an appointment with a psychiatrist every six months. The psychiatrist is part of the local community mental health team and John has had previous involvement with a social worker from this team. Grace and John discuss the situation and John agrees to Grace contacting this social worker to ask for some support.
The mental health social worker makes a home visit. They all agree to him contacting social services to discuss the family support needs.
A social worker from the children’s team visits the family. Grace advises the social worker that she is at the end of her tether, and cannot cope with working such long hours, taking care of John and all of the children. She said that she was concerned for the well-being of John and the children; she mentioned a recent outburst between John and a friend of the family. She said that she was sure John wouldn’t harm the children but she was having to rely on him more to look after the children due to her working hours, which worries her. Grace said that she had been ‘taking her frustrations out on’ Patience, because she was the oldest and was expected to help but also they both tended to lose their temper with Patience because they were frustrated by her behaviour and attitude. Grace tearfully asked the social worker if one or more of her children could live elsewhere temporarily, so that she could focus on helping John to get better. The social worker said that although she could see the benefits of John and Grace having some respite from the children, that there were not currently sufficient grounds for them to take any of the children into care.
Who you will work with?
Which two theories or models you will use?
How will you use them?