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SOWK 613 Social Work Practice with Children and Families in Early and Middle Childhood

SOWK 613

Social Work Practice with Children and Families in Early and Middle Childhood

The Case of Anna

Background Information

Annais an eight-year-old Caucasian female of low socioeconomic status. She lives in Pasadena, California with her paternal aunt and her aunt’s husband, who are Anna’s legal guardians. Also living with them is Anna’s five-year-old brother, their seven-year-old female cousin, and Anna’s paternal grandparents.

Anna was brought to counseling by her aunt, who was recommended to bring Anna to therapy by her pediatrician. Anna and her brother were removed from their biological parents’ home in 2014 due to severe neglect. Anna’s aunt also suspects that Anna was a victim of physical abuse by her biological parents. Since being removed from her biological parents’ home, Anna has expressed confusion about her living situation. Her main presenting issue, however, is her low self-esteem, anxiety and some irritability. This is Anna’s first time in therapy, with no prior psychiatric history or substance abuse concerns.

Anna has a family history significant for depression, anxiety, ADHD, alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide. Anna’s biological mother has an 11-year-old son from a previous marriage who lived with Anna until she was removed from the home. Anna’s biological parents also have another daughter living with them who is one year old.

When Anna lived with her biological parents, she was exposed to domestic violence and drug use. She also witnessed her mother attempt suicide by slitting her wrists. On at least one occasion Anna’s parents were homeless with the children. Anna has been living with her aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandparents since her aunt and uncle gained legal custody of her and her brother in 2014. Anna’s aunt and uncle are caring and supportive.

Anna was the product of a full term vaginal delivery. Her mother denied using substances during the pregnancy. Anna reached all developmental milestones on time. Anna is below average in social, language, and emotional development and average in physical and intellectual development.

Anna is in second grade, has never been held back, and has an IEP. She enjoys school and is a good student.

Anna gets along well with other children and has at least one close friend. She is somewhat shy and reserved in large groups and with people she doesn’t know well.

Anna is relatively healthy but does suffer from a hearing impairment that requires the use of hearing aids. Past medical procedures include having tubes in her ears and her tonsils and adenoids removed. Anna also suffers from asthma and seasonal allergies.

Anna is a casually dressed and cooperative eight-year-old who appears her stated age.

She is alert and oriented to person, place, and time and makes minimal eye contact. Anna’s memory is intact and her attention and concentration are good. Her speech is normal in rate, rhythm, volume, and tone and her stream of thought is linear and logical. Anna reports her mood as “okay, sometimes.” Affect is congruent. She denies any current suicidal ideation or homicidal ideation and displays no evidence of delusions, hallucinations, obsessions, compulsions, or phobias. Anna’s insight and judgment are fair for her age and she seems to have control over her impulses. Anna has some trouble sleeping and tends to overeat. Her motor activity and energy level are normal.

In-Session Observations

Anna appears shy and guarded. She speaks in a soft voice and looks at you in a cautious and somewhat guarded manner. You decide to have her draw and offer her some markers and paper. You introduce her to a game of colors in which you have her identify a few colors and then link the colors to a specific feelings and emotions. She selects blue and says that it reminds her of feeling sad and the sky. She also selects red and says that red stands for nervous and scared.

Since she appears to have a good grasp of emotions, you decide to switch to storytelling and engage her in a conversation about a small cat who got lost and could not find his way home.  You ask her to continue the story and she says the following: “He turned red and then turned yellow and then nobody wanted him.”

The following assessment measures were administered:

Child Trauma Screening Questionnaire

Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale

Anna’s scores are below.

Assessment Measure




Child Trauma Screening Questionnaire




Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale




There are two basic fundamental principles behind the assignment. The first is to be 
able to conduct research in Public Policy. The task of finding information will familiarize you with the various sources of information that are available. The key to a successful research project is to be able to formulate a "Research Question". The Research Question is what you are attempting to prove or disprove. Modern research should be falsifiable. This means that you should be able to disprove certain theories or statements. It is often difficult to be able to actually prove a hypothesis. Generallyyou state that you can not prove that it is wrong. (Review hypothesis testing from intro econometrics ). 
The second principle is your ability to understand the relevant theory that pertains to 
your research. The text book should be your first starting point. From there you should 
move to supplemental sources such as academic journals, government publications, newspapers etc. The greater your understanding of the relevant issues the more effective your research will be. 
You will have a choice of two types of essay
1. A research topic as outlined in the above paragraph. 
2. The other type of essay you could produce is a “narrative” essay where you outline the relevant research others have done.
If you have any questions about the assignment or the goals of the assignment please 
talk to your instructor as soon as possible. 
The finished paper should include the following: 
The purpose of the paper (research question) 
The relevant theories 
Your research methodology 
Your research conclusions and analysis 
Appendix with data and any statistical work

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