|Case Study Reflection
ACTIVITY ID: 23831
This is a fictionalized account of events that occurred on a U.S. military installation. The names, dates, locations, child-care setting, and service-specific terminology have been changed. To create the activities in this and subsequent lessons, we started with the facts of a real criminal investigation and lawsuit. What you will read here goes beyond the facts recorded in the criminal case by imagining details of individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Read the following scenario. Then answer the reflection questions. When you are finished, share your answers with a trainer or coach.
Kate's Story: Part 1
Kate’s life had never been easy: In her first four years of life, she had experienced developmental delays and failure to thrive. When she was 4 years old, a court awarded her biological father, Alan (age 25), custody of Kate. She was removed from her biological mother’s home and went to live with her father and pregnant stepmother, Gigi (age 21), on a U.S. military installation half a world away from the home she had known. Both Alan and Gigi were active duty members of the U.S. military. Unfortunately, no one knew Kate was moving into a home plagued by violence. Only a month after Kate arrived, her father moved out of installation housing after a fight with Gigi. The next day, her stepmother went to Alan’s new apartment located off the installation and physically assaulted him. Kate witnessed the whole thing. Her stepmother was charged with assault and child endangerment. A social worker from the local child protection agency wrote in a report about “the presence of family violence” and the family members’ inability to manage anger.
At the time of Gigi’s arrest for assault and child endangerment, the local law enforcement agency notified military law enforcement, who notified Gigi’s command and the installation Family Advocacy Program. The command issued a no-contact order until a FAP assessment could be completed. FAP completed the assessment and presented it to the incident determination committee. The committee determined that the incidents met criteria for spouse abuse and child neglect. Treatment recommendations included parenting classes for both parents and clinical counseling for Gigi. The New Parent Support Program was offered to Gigi but she declined to participate.
The local child protection agency recommended that Kate remain in the home. Her father, who had moved back in with the family, administered what he called “discipline” with a belt and closed fist. During the Family Advocacy Program assessment, he admitted to “disciplining” Kate this way every day. Although both parents appeared to be making progress in the parenting classes and Kate seemed to be doing well, things began to change for Kate after her half-sister was born. Gigi dropped out of the parenting classes and clinical counseling after giving birth. When contacted by FAP, Gigi said she was too fatigued with the new baby but would return when her maternity leave was complete. During this time, Kate began having more accidents and soiling her pants more often. Her stepmother swore at her, called her stupid, and refused to let her wear clothes in the house. All furniture and clothing were removed from Kate’s room, so she wouldn’t make a mess. She was forced to sleep on the floor. One night during a weekly court-mandated phone call with her biological mother, Kate said she was going to get a beating because she had wet her clothes. Alan and Gigi snatched the phone away. Kate’s father and stepmother stopped making and receiving calls from Kate’s biological mother soon after. Kate’s biological mother had to file paperwork in court to regain her rights.
The front office staff at Kate’s child development center often witnessed Gigi yelling at Kate and roughly pulling her in and out of the car during drop off and pick up. Kate also frequently came to the center dirty and often seemed hungry. The child care staff noticed marks on her that they believed might be signs of child abuse and were concerned for her safety. A staff member from the child development center reported their suspicions of child abuse and neglect to the Family Advocacy program and the local Child Protection agency. In addition, the command and military law enforcement were notified. Upon receipt of the report, an appointment was scheduled with the family for an assessment the following day. The day after the suspicions were reported, Kate’s family withdrew her from the program.
The night before the appointment, neighbors heard shouting and crying from the house. The neighbor called the military police. Kate had been screaming for over an hour, and the neighbor was concerned for her safety. The military police found Kate naked in her bedroom with feces on the carpet. There were scratches and bruises of various shades on her face and body. The local child protection agency took Kate into emergency foster care. Gigi and Alan face legal and criminal charges. The actions of the child development center staff (direct care and support staff), neighbors, and the Family Advocacy Program may have saved a life.