World Child is a non-profit adoption agency based in London. The organization is Hague accredited and helps with international adoptions. The Duncan family is a family of 10, eight siblings and two parents Bruce and Marilyn Duncan. All the eight children under Duncan’s care were adopted and seven out of the eight are special needs children. The family lives in Nebraska and they are looking to adopt another special needs child from Thailand.
The Duncan family already has seven special needs children under their care and although Bruce has a job it is not stable. the financial and emotional needs of the children is the primary concern and there is concern that the Duncan’s are already spread thin and are not in a position to take in a ninth child especially one with special needs.
Bruce and Duncan are Christians and believe that they have a duty to take care of orphans and especially children with special needs. They believe that they have been called by God to give a home to the special needs children and raise them appropriately. They have so far adopted eight children, seven are special needs children. Although, many agents who have worked with the family believe that the family cannot take care of another child leave alone a special needs child, Christina the home study agent sent by World child believes that the organization should approve the home study. The home study reveals that the children are happy in the home and their needs are being taken care of. Lauren the only adopted child with no special needs indicates that they are happy in the home and they are a family. However, if World Child was to approve the home study, it would only encourage the Duncan’s to pursue another adoption in the future. If the agency does not approve the home study, they will deny the child with Down syndrome an opportunity to be raised in a family where she will be loved and cared for.
CSWE EPAS Competencies
Social workers are driven by beliefs and values to help them make the best decision. One of the core competencies that social workers embrace is showcasing ethical and professional behavior (Zastrow, 2009). Social workers have personal opinions and beliefs just like any other human being but they have to separate their personal biases from their work. Social workers should aim at doing what is best for the child and should not be corrupted by their clients. In this case, the decision of whether to approve the home study or not should be based on the wellbeing of the child. The workers should evaluate whether the child would have a better life when in Duncan’s family or in the orphanage.
Another core competency is engaging in practice-informed research and research-informed practice. The competency calls for an understanding of the situation through research and evaluation. The decision arrived at should also be guided by the findings of the research (Dominelli, 1996). In this case, the team should analyze the information they have gathered about the family which was presented to them by Christina, and make an informed decision. Moreover, they should put into consideration other factors such as financial stability and the emotional wellness of the children already in the home.
A social worker should also engage with families, individuals, organizations, groups, and communities. The interaction helps them not only gather information about the individuals they work with but also gives them an opportunity to share their values and beliefs with the community (Zastrow, 2009). In this case, the agency should organize and visit Duncan’s community especially the church members to have an understanding of how the children are faring in Duncan’s family. Also, they will be able to learn if the Duncan’s are in a position to take care of another special needs child.
One of the strategies that the group can use to solve the problem is interviewing neighbors and the community about the care the children receive under Duncan’s family. The group can look for individuals who know the Duncan’s and have interacted with them. the individuals will not only give their opinions about the family but also point out incidents that either show they are ready to take on another special needs child or not (Mallon & Hess, 2014).
Another alternative strategy is to consider the well-being of the ninth special needs child that the family wants to adopt. In adoption, social workers put the interests of the child first before the parent’s interests. Do the parents meet all the State requirements of adopting the child (Mallon & Hess, 2014). The child needs to be in a safe and loving environment. The decision can be arrived at by deciding whether the child would have a better life in the agency or in the family.
The third strategy would be to rely on existing findings of research about parents who opt to adopt many children. Social workers have to conduct research on their cases to come up with the best solutions (Mallon & Hess, 2014). Although the cases might be different, there are always some similarities. If the findings indicate that a large number of families who have adopted many special needs children have eventually felt overwhelmed the agency can decide not to approve the home study.
The home study conducted by Christina should be approved. The Duncan’s have shown that they are capable of taking care of special needs children. Although the family is not financially stable, they have developed ways to ensure that the children they have are well provided and taken care of. The young child in Thailand suffers from Down syndrome and her needs might not be completely met in an orphanage. At Duncan’s home, the child will get the care they need since the family already takes care of another child with Down syndrome. However, the family should be discouraged from taking on another child in future
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Zastrow, C. (2009). Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare: Empowering People. Brooks/Cole Pub Co.
Dominelli, L. (1996). Deprofessionalizing social work: Anti-oppressive practice, competencies and postmodernism. The British Journal of Social Work, 26(2), 153-175.
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Mallon, G. P., & Hess, P. M. C. (2014). Child welfare for the twenty-first century: A handbook of practices, policies, and programs.
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