Naomi James' Story Case Study
Order Code: Tv346
Question Task Id: 0
Naomi James' Story
Naomi James is a 20 year old, physically attractive, energetic, bright friendly Aboriginal female. Naomi is articulate and very confident, she is a very good basket-baller and at end of her first year in her new team - Panthers - she was named as the 'Fairest and Best' player for that year. Her mother and stepfather were very happy for her, as were her younger siblings.
Naomi is the second eldest daughter from a family of five siblings; her older sister, Robin, 22 has a new baby (6 months) and still resides at home with her defacto partner, Robert (22); Rubin, 11, who is still at school and hopes to get an apprenticeship with his uncle who owns a garage; Stacey, 10, has had some recent involvement with juvenile justice due to minor shoplifting; she has also recently started to use volatile substances (glue and paint). Stacey has been going around with some kids at school who appear to be having trouble at home with their parents. Sometimes the group miss school; and Clayton who is 9 years old and is a quiet student but a very mischievous little boy at home. Naomi looks out for Clayton and Stacey.
Stacey and Rubin attend the same high school which is on the same campus area as their young brother Clayton. They all walk to and from school together on most days and have a “very close relationship". The family are originally from Port Hedland.
The James Family moved down to Perth due to Naomi's mother, Tara, having to receive medical treatment for a partial stroke. Tara has improved with the treatment but still requires treatment every now and again, so consequently, the family decided to stay in Perth.
Naomi and Robin are children from Tara's very early relationship with Gary L. The relationship was characterised by extreme domestic violence and alcohol misuse on Gary's part. The relationship with Gary ended some eleven years previously and Gary has had no contact with his two children since Tara moved to Perth.
Tara's current defacto partner, Joe James, is father to Rubin, Stacey, and Clayton and there is no violence in this relationship. Joe is a gentle Aboriginal man, who was taken from his family and sent to Sister Kate's' home for Aboriginal children in Perth. Joe is originally from Broome and was reunited with his family when a relative who recently commenced work at Sister Kate's recognized him.
Tara was also removed as a child and spent her first twelve years moving between approximately fourteen foster placements and homes in Perth and Port Hedland (Tara is unable to recall the exact number). She reports that she was sexually abused within a number of these placements and physical abuse was also commonplace. Tara is a mother who tries very hard; however, she has tendency to become depressed and is currently receiving antidepressant medication from her G.P.
Joe is a non-drinker who loves all the children and tends to "look after" the younger ones when Tara feels unwell. Naomi helps when she can and so does Robin, but Robin does have her own child to care for. Joe works as a specialised mechanic on the huge trucks that travel between the Aplna mine outside Port Hedland and Fremantle wharf. So sometimes he is required to travel to the mine site. When he is up North, he visits relations and sometimes gets caught up with their arguments- he is a spiritual man, and is often called the peacemaker by many of the people who know him. Joe's family look up to him, to help out at times when arguments get out of hand.
Naomi usually has to help her Mother and Robin prepares meals during the times Joe is absent. However, if Tara is unwell, the main responsibility rests with Naomi. Naomi is very protective towards Clayton and Stacey, often helping them to get ready for school in the mornings, helps them
1 prepare their school lunch and ensures they go to bed at an appropriate time. Robin does help sometimes especially when Naomi plays basketball. Currently Naomi works for the Aplna mining company, which has its headquarters in Perth. She has been thinking seriously of finding her Father (Gary L) for many reasons but importantly just recently, because Naomi was diagnosed with a genetic condition called Protein S Deficiency that appears to have come down through the father's side of the family. It was picked up in a normal medical check- up through a blood test after Naomi became very tired.
Naomi is in a relationship with Jim who also plays basketball. They have been together for 6 months and is a great support to her. Eventually Naomi would like to get married however it appears that she might pass on the Protein S Deficiency to her children. Naomi has not mentioned this health issue to Jim or Robin yet, as she wanted to contact her father and discuss the situation with him, although she is a little apprehensive because she still remembers the violence and the really bad argument he had with Tara, the last time he came around to the house. The police were called and Gary was taken away by the police. That was the last time Naomi has seen her father.
Naomi made an appointment to discuss all this with a social worker at the Ryanary Social Work counselling agency. Her best friend Betty had been to this agency and was pleased with the results of her sessions.
A week before Naomi was able to attend the appointment she heard that her Father died. Because of the difficulties related to where Gary's extended family lived (all around Australia), the funeral was delayed so the extended family could make arrangements to attend. The funeral is next Wednesday and will be held in Port Hedland.
Naomi was very upset about her father's death. However she still kept her appointment with the social worker. It also appears that Naomi was contacted by her Father about a year ago. Gary said he has changed and is remarried and has two children. Gary wanted to see her and Robin. He also mentioned that he was sick. Naomi now wishes she did go to see him as he was in a Perth hospital so it would have been easy for her to visit without telling anyone in her family. Naomi had in fact wanted to contact her father for awhile now. Naomi at this time is not only feeling sad, but also guilty that she did not see her father before he died.
Naomi has persuaded her sister Robin to attend the funeral with her. Tara, Naomi's mother is not going, even though she should (cultural reasons) but she is depressed again and is on anti- depressants. Tara does not want Naomi and Robin to go.
Naomi also needs to talk to her Father's people as she wants to get to know them better. They have tried in the past but surprisingly, Tara has been very strong in her reluctance in allowing them close. Joe has tried to talk to Tara many times but to no avail.
Naomi would like to know if the family are aware of the health condition she has and if any other children of Gary's are aware of it. She realises this might be difficult as not many doctors have good notes of Aboriginal people etc. She might be a little cynical here but it is what she has heard.
Naomi knows she cannot discuss the health issue at the funeral but when should she do it. At the moment Naomi is very unsettled and is feeling a little lost. Naomi has always thought she was a strong person and in control of her life, but now she has started to think she could be like her Mother - who can be very depressed, anxious and who sometimes becomes very angry. Naomi has not been able to go to work for the last week and considers this a sign of weakness.
2 Currently, things are not going too well in the James household and Joe - the peacemaker in this family, as well as up North, is over in New Zealand attending an International Indigenous seminar for young people. He is a mentor for young people in the Noongar area. He has a lot to do with Youth Link in Northbridge. Joe is also one of the Key speakers at this Indigenous seminar.
Joe is trying to fulfil his duty at the conference and return home, so Naomi and Robin can attend their Dad's funeral without worrying about the home situation. However this might not happen, so Naomi is going to ask a friend of Joe's to come and stay while, Naomi, Robin and Joe are away. Robin's partner will be there but he does have the baby to look after although he will be of some support.
NOTE: This is a social work practice exercise and acknowledgement is given that we all work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and their families by not doing to them - but by working and walking together. This assignment is to raise awareness of ways of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and families.
3 Case Study
You are the Social Worker at Ryanary Social Work Counselling Agency consulted by Naomi. This agency is not an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counselling agency and its workers, including you, are not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander from Perth or Western Australia. You need to report back to your Team Leader as to how you would like to continue to work with Naomi. Your Team Leader has asked you to present a preliminary plan of how you propose to proceed.
Using ONE of the approaches mentioned either in class or in the Text Our Voices. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work, (Bennett, Green, Gilbert, & Bessarab, 2013) provide a description to your team leader of how you propose to start to work with this family and why.
Remember that you have a number of choices you can make. For example, you could choose to work with the whole family, with Naomi, or Naomi and Tara, or Naomi, Tara and Joe, or from a community perspective involving Naomi and Gary's family, etc.
In considering the starting point, you are not being asked to map out a planned intervention, but a preliminary description and analysis of what you think is important and why.
You might consider including:
- What initial tools and information would you seek to use to describe to your Team Leader what you are thinking might be useful as a starting point?
- What resources are you going to ask from your TL to assist in this work?
- What issues may present for you when working with Naomi and her family and you would overcome them