Read the new scenario and respond to the questions.
Scenario: Now that you successfully helped Teresa and her six children to move into public housing (months after the first visit), to find assisted daycare, to find her a job, and to provide mental health services for two of her children, you realize that the family is still not fully stabilized.
Teresa visits your office late one afternoon as you are getting ready to leave. She only has one of her children, Javier, who is five years old. In past visits, you have noticed that he is the only of her six children who is quiet and in fact, seems withdrawn. “Tell her!” Teresa demands.
Crying quietly, Javier curls up in the chair and refuses to pull his head up. Teresa smacks the back of his head and yells, “I SAID tell her!” This time, Javier jumps up out of his seat and looks right at you. “NO!” he shouts and cries harder. Trying to make sense of all of this, you firmly ask Teresa to sit in your chair at your desk to separate mother and child and to keep him from being hit further. You move to the chair beside him and quietly ask if he wants to talk to you in private. He nods. Teresa agrees to leave and when she does, Javier tells you that his uncle hurt him. After more questions, you understand that Javier is reporting sexual abuse. You leave the office and tell Teresa that you would have to make a call to the abuse hotline. She understands but insists that nothing really happened. She adds, “Good, you can get an officer in here to tell him to stop lying.” You make the report.
When the police leave, you are more baffled than before. The uncle is really the boy’s great uncle and should not be living with them because he is not on the public housing list of approved occupants for the house. Further, he is sharing a room with two of Teresa’s youngest sons. Teresa absolutely refused to tell him to leave. The police officer will investigate further with the child protective officer, but not that night. Teresa and the son return to the home, and the police escort them to ensure that the great uncle leaves the premises. As you leave, you remember that you studied about cultural differences in some of your college courses. Perhaps you can convince Teresa of the danger in this situation if you understand her culture better. You check her file. Teresa was born in Mexico and identifies herself as Mexican.
Utilizing the assigned readings and the web resources answer the following questions:
1. Given the situation, why might Teresa insist that her uncle continue to live with them despite the abuse allegations?
2. Provide some strategies that can be used to help Teresa understand that while you understand her culture, in this case, it would be better for the great uncle to live elsewhere. Remember to be sensitive to her perspective of the strength of the family unit.
3. What additional referrals might Teresa and her children need after this incident?