State University of New York Working with Clients and Families Discussion

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Singapore social work practice – Working with client and families.

Case Study

Mr. Mohammad Ali had approached your social service agency for short-term financial assistance. He had come to know about your social service agency from a colleague who also received handouts from your agency. His colleague, Mr. Arasu had suggested that Mr. Ali requested for assistance with his outstanding arrears with the Singapore Electric Power and some food rations.

Mr. Ali appeared rather nervous when he entered your agency. He seemed unsure about what to say or who to see. You have been assigned as the social worker to take on the case. During the interview with Mr. Ali, you found out the following details about him and his family.

The family comprises Mr. Ali, 36, his wife Mdm Nur Aminah, 30 and their 4 boys aged 11,10, 9, and 7. Mdm Aminah is a stay home mother. Mr. Ali works as a postman, earning a net monthly salary of $1200. The couple had a low level of education. Mdm Aminah’s widowed mother, Mdm Sharifah aged 50, stays with Mr. Ali’s family in a small apartment in an old housing estate in Singapore. She has diabetes and is on regular medication. She had of late not been following up on her medical appointments at the Singapore General Hospital. Mdm Sharifah did not want to be a burden to her daughter’s family as they are already struggling to manage with a very tight budget. Though Mdm Sharifah fall has 3 other sons, none of them visit or financially provide for her. According to her, she has no hard feelings towards her 3 sons as they have their own set of issues and have very young children to fend for. In fact, it is Mdm Sharifah, who would occasionally visit her

grandchildren. Her savings from her last job as a road sweeper (a low-income job) had all been depleted. She is no longer able to work due to prolonged knee pain.

After further probing, you learnt that Mr. Ali’s four children do not attend school regularly. Mr. Ali brushed off the matter saying, “sometimes difficult you know, no money then they don’t go school. Also, they find school boring.” Mr. Ali shared that the school had been sharing their concern over the children, especially the oldest boy, Muhammed Shaiful, as he is in Primary 6 and is taking the primary school leaving examination end of the year to be promoted into secondary school after the exam. However, he has been failing all his subjects so far. The school had also requested for Mr. Ali to bring the third boy, Alif for a developmental assessment at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital to rule out dyslexia.

According to Mr. Ali, he is pressed for time and his wife is also overwhelmed with all the chores at home. Mr. Ali mentioned on several occasions that “I was like my son when young, very slow and naughty. Now I am perfectly fine”. Thus, he has not brought Alif for his medical appointment as yet.

Mdm Aminah is often stressed over her husband’s traditional views in his culture. She had recently broached the topic of going out to work to support the family since her youngest son is already in primary school. She had suggested sending all 4 children to the school-based student care center at their school located just across their small apartment. They could leave home for school at 7am in the morning and be back home from the student care around 7pm. The children’s school was willing to subsidize the fees and each child would only need to pay $10 monthly. This would allow Mdm Aminah to be gainfully employed. Mdm Sharifah too felt this is a good plan. She could help to cook and clean the house when her daughter is out at work.

Mr. Ali, however was very angry and upset over this. He shared “these women all want to shame me. Am I not man enough to manage this family? It is my responsibility not theirs. How many times do I have to tell them? Why can’t they just follow what I tell them to do. Just be a good wife to me, your husband. If God has put this plan for us, we just have to accept it and move on.”

After about 45 minutes, you summarized the key discussion points and informed Mr. Ali that you would need all the relevant documents and a meeting with other family members and the children’s school teachers before suggesting the best plan of action for the family. Mr. Ali suddenly stood up and accused you of wasting his time. “I have already told you everything. Still, you want to see my bills. Why you don’t trust me, is it? I don’t want my wife to worry about it. My mother in-law is also not well. If things are like this, I better not come here. I only came here because my friend tell me to come.” He stormed out of the office angrily.

A) Identify and analyze three (3) key needs/risks of Mr. Ali’s family using any three (3) of the five (5) domains, namely biological, psychological, behavioral, emotional and environmental. (9 marks)

B) “The second most significant factor, therapeutic relationship, accounts for 30 percent of client’s improvement (Boyle, 2014). Appraise five (5) skills of engagement which will help you connect with this case. (20 marks)

C)Explain three (3) intervention strategies for Mr. Ali’s family using any three (3) of the five (5) principles of Saleeby’s (1997) Strengths Perspective. ( 15 marks)

D)Illustrate how you would apply the technique of reframing when explaining to Mr. Ali about his wife wanting to go out to work. (6 marks)

Textbook: Direct Practice in Social Work, by Scott W. Boyle

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