HUMAN SERVICES ANALYSIS 9
Theimportance of human services profession cannot be understated as faras the progress of any society is concerned in both the long-term andthe short-term. Human service workers have the role of assessing theneeds of individuals, creating as well as implementing the responseand treatment plans with the aim of assisting clients to meet theirneeds and enhance the quality of life. As much as the profession isquite noble, its performance is guided by particular rules andregulations, as well as codes of ethics that determine the course ofaction that would be appropriate at any given time. These come inhandy given that they are often faced by some tasks and issues thatthreaten the very fabric or foundation on which they are built. Suchcases are often laden with ethical dilemmas, where there areconflicting solutions, each of which has a downside, and theadherence to which would result in the compromise of the other. Thisis the case for Children and Youth Protective Services, a humanservices agency that is handling the case of a female Italianimmigrant teenager.
Ethicaland Legal Obligations of the Agency to the Girl and the Father
Asstated, human services organizations are often required to adhere tothe stated guidelines, standards and codes of ethics. This isparticularly with regard to the protection of the client, not tomention the burden of the agencies to the society at large. The codesof ethics are aimed at promoting negotiations, confidentiality,respect, as well as the recognition of the rights of the client toinformed consent and self-determination. In the case provided, theChildren and Youth Protective Services has the ethical obligation tooffer its services without preference and discrimination with regardto culture, age, race, gender, capability, religion, languagepreference, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomicstatus and ethnicity among others. This becomes even more crucialparticularly given that the client is a teenage Italian immigrant, inwhich case her age and the fact that she is an immigrant could be thebasis for the denial of protection by the agency and the subsequentreturn to the same environment where she was sexually abused or whereher safety and quality of life was immensely jeopardized. Inaddition, human services professionals are required to have a clearawareness of the federal state and local laws, in which case theywould advocate for a modification of statutes and regulations ininstances where such legislations are in conflict with the rights ofthe clients and/or the ethical guidelines. In instances where lawsare harmful to the community, groups and individuals, it isimperative that they consider the conflict between the values thatcome with obeying or adherence to the laws and the values pertainingto serving people, thereby making decisions that would initiatesocial actions. In the case provided, it was evident that the girlhad undergone immense sexual abuse in the environment within whichshe was living. It is appalling that her case was dismissed in spiteof strong indications pertaining to sexual abuse, on the basis of theassessment of an agency professional and the activity of the girl inthe residential placement. These were simply not sufficiently strongreasons for the agency to have to take the girl back to the sameplace from which she had been rescued as this would have beendetrimental to her human value. The code of ethics pertaining tohuman services professionals necessitate that the individuals professa belief that professionals must demonstrate certain tendencies thatare a reflection of the predisposing values that are deemed desirablein the profession.
Inthe case of the father, the agency has the ethical obligation toensure that he is not denied the opportunity to build a relationshipwith his daughter irrespective of the fact that the girl is housed ina different environment. Further, it is imperative that the girl andfather are accorded the appropriate confidentiality so as to avertthe possibility of victimization.
MultipleLevels of System Failure
Needlessto say, the miscarriage of justice in this case occurred as a resultof institutional and system failure with regard to the laws of humanservices provision. Indeed, numerous episodes of failure may beidentified. First, it is appalling that the organization Children andYouth Protective Services allowed the father to be visiting the girl“under supervision”, in spite of the fact that he was the culpritin this case. Indeed, it would have been imperative that they pushfor the prosecution and incarceration of the father, as well asdenial of the visitation rights given that his presence wasdetrimental to the child’s health and wellbeing. In addition, thegirl was merely encouraged to trust the staff members, with noindication that the encouragement was supported by some element ofcounseling. As much as such encouragement would be appropriate, it isalso imperative that counseling is provided so as to ensure that thegirl recovers on her own and that she develops this trust at her ownpace. Further, the court failed in its duty to safeguard thewellbeing and safety of the girl solely on the basis of the agencyprofessional’s assessment and the activity of the client in theresidential placement. Indeed, there is a high likelihood that thegirl acted in a particular way as a result of the control that thefather still held on her. Indeed, it should have been apparent to thecourt that, one, the child’s safety was at stake given the factthat there were strong indications of sexual abuse meted on the girl.In cases where a child is involved, the primary consideration is hisor her health, in which case dismissing the case is immensely wrong.
LegalJustification and Ethical Problems
Needlessto say, the legal justification for the dismissal of the case iswarped and an affront on the ethical obligations of the human serviceworkers at Children and Youth Protective Services. Indeed, the legaljustification is based on the assessment of the agency professional,as well as the activities of the client during her stay at theresidential placement, including the visits that her father made toher in the course of that period. This assessment may have createdthe notion or impression that the girl was not and had never been indanger particularly from her father, given that she could have beenacting favorably to him or him to her. As much as she could in facthave been acting in such a way and the father demonstrated someaffection to her, the fact that she had rights should be considered.The court’s decision was merely based on these facts and is in linewith the legal provisions.
However,there are ethical considerations regarding the health of the younggirl particularly in the environment within which she was brought up.Indeed, it should be noted that the client had already been show tohave undergone sexual abuse in the hands of the father, in which caseit was immensely unethical to allow her to return to the sameenvironment knowing too well that she would be likely to be subjectedto the same form of treatment as she had been subjected to prior tobeing taken to the Children and Youth Protective Services facilities.This brings to the fore the ethical dilemma that an individual humanservices provider would be facing as he or she would not be havingany legal backing to keep the girl in the facility or even thefinancial capability to facilitate the stay. Ethical dilemmas arecomplex situations where an individual would be having a mentalconflict between varied moral imperatives, where obedience to onewould result in the transgression of the other (Harrison,2010).This is the situation in which the professional is as he or she wouldhave the duty to protect the girl but have no legal backing forpursuing the same course of action. In this regard, seeking otherways of achieving this would be imperative and could include seekingthe quashing of the court’s decision through appeal and bringing tothe fore concerns regarding the well-being of the child in theshort-term and the long-term.
CulturalConsiderations when Working With the Family
Propersolution of the problem necessitates that some cultural elements aretaken into consideration. This is in line with the need for culturalcompetence, which is the comprehension of the specific language,cultural, economic and social nuances pertaining the certain familiesand people. This becomes important particularly given the fact thatthe family is immigrant in the country, which means that there is apossibility that its tendencies are in the minority especially giventhat they are Italians.
Keyamong the cultural considerations are the provisions of Italiansregarding the relationship between the father or parent and thechildren. This would determine the limits and restrictions that existwith regard to their relationship, as well as the manner in which theindividuals are supposed to relate to one another. On the same note,there should be consideration regarding whether there are provisionsfor punishment and recourse for the girl in the Italian culture, aswell as the strength of such provisions. This would give an idearegarding the possibility for safety and acceptance of the girl backto the society (Zastrow,2010).Further, there should be considerations regarding the position ofwomen or rather the gender relations in the Italian culture. Moreoften than not, there exists some element of victim stigmatization,where individuals who have undergone sexual abuse especially in thehands of people they know, are blamed and ridiculed (Harrison,2010).Indeed, there have been cases where women are even married off to theindividuals who molested them, with the enforcers of such lawsopining that the victims are to blame for the occurrence of theshameful acts. Moreover, considering the language and expressionswould be important (Zastrow,2010).Different forms of expressions have varying meanings in differentcultures. For instance, what the agency professional interpreted as aproper relationship between the girl and the father while undersupervision could, in fact, be a call for help and an expression ofdesperation (Harrison,2010).These considerations would, essentially, determine how safe themolested girl would be in the environment to which she has beenreturned.
HumanServices Original Intent
Perhapsthe most appropriate guideline for the organization in deciding whatthe most appropriate course of action would be, is the determinationof the basis for its formation or rather the mission that it wasaimed at accomplishing. Human services organizations arecharacterized by the recognition and appreciation of all people inall their diversity and the provision of assistance to clients in thecontext of their environments and communities. They encourage andpromote distinctive values and characteristics pertaining to humanservices, thereby upholding and promoting the wellbeing of the peopleand the community at large (Zastrow,2010).The organization’s mission would essentially be the protection ofchildren and assurance of their emotional and physical wellbeing inline with the law, as well as the preservation, empowerment andstrengthening of families (Zastrow,2010).Of course, there are some issues that the agency handled pretty well.First, it ensured that the child or teenage girl has been taken outof the environment in which she was getting abused. This eliminatedthe threat to the child as any visitation was closely monitored so asto ensure the safety of the child (Hill&Oxford University Press,2004).In addition, the entity did well to seek legal redress for the girl,which would, ideally, have safeguarded the assertion of the right ofthe child to healthy development and growth. Ideally, it should alsohave allowed for the apprehension of the father or the culprit giventhat the child had already been determined to be sexually abused.
However,there were a number of missteps that the entity made. First, itallowed for the visitation of the child by the father, somethingwhich was not in line with the need for the protection of the welfareand rights of the child or victim. Of course, it is acknowledged thatplacement outside the home would be warranted in some case and theparticipation of parents facilitated so as to enable the safe returnof the child (Hill&Oxford University Press,2004).However, the same should only apply in instances where there isproper redress of the child and the determination of the eliminationof the risk. In essence, seeking the termination of parental rightsgiven the fact that the father was the culprit would have been abetter alternative. The fact that the agency professional interpretedsome interactions between the parent and the child to mean that thechild was safe was simply a gross misstep (Hill&Oxford University Press,2004).
Culturallyand Legally Appropriate Strategies
Giventhe girl’s situation and the environment within which she lives, itis evident that a safe return would be unlikely to take place for thechild. In this case, seeking the termination of the parental rightswould be imperative so as to ensure that the father has no access tothe child at any time. In addition, the organization could seek tohave the child adopted to a more stable family, possibly within theextended family and/ or the community so as to safeguard her safetyin the long-term.
Harrison,L. P. (2010). Socialpolicy: Challenges, developments and implications.New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Hill,T. E., & Oxford University Press. (2004). Humanwelfare and moral worth: Kantian perspectives.Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zastrow,C. (2010). Introductionto social work and social welfare: Empowering people.Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.