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Sohail Family Case Study: Analyzing the Family's Situation with Systems Theories

Background of the Sohail Family

The Background

The Sohail family have been known to Farringdon Vale Children Services for over six years. Concerns were first raised by nursery staff when the first child Jessica was two. She was often brought to nursery dirty and hungry. She would be listless and would cling to staff.

The Current Situation

Jessica Sohail is now nine years old. She lives at home with her mother Shula, and three other siblings: Neelum age two, Aisha who is three and Jason is five. All four children are subject to Care Orders. Their mother Shula is white, unemployed and 29. She had been in an abusive relationship with Jessica and Jason’s father, Melvin, for seven years. Melvin’s background is Anglo Indian. Both parents have problems with alcohol and drugs. The children were often left alone at night. The Care Orders were issued as a result of the neglect and the risk of abuse and significant harm. The Local Authority, Farringdon Vale Children’s Services, has joint parental responsibility with Shula. There are a number of conditions that Shula is expected to carry out in relation to the children’s development and wellbeing before the Care Orders can be removed. If Shula fails to comply and the children continued to be exposed to abuse and harm, the local authority can apply for full parental responsibility. This has been made clear to Shula and she was advised to seek legal advice in a letter by the team manager.

Jessica and Jason have not had contact with their father, Melvin since 2015 when Shula and the children were placed in a woman’s refuge due to domestic violence. Melvin’s whereabouts is unknown. Neelum and Aisha share the same father, Ravi who visits from time to time. The family was rehoused and Shula  began to have treatment for her depression. Shula’s social worker continued to work with Shula to improve her parenting skills, while the children’s social worker makes regular visits as stipulated by the Care Orders to monitor the children’s development and wellbeing.

In 2016 Shula met Andy on a dating website and he soon moved in with Shula and the children when they were rehoused. Shula immersed herself in her relationship with Andy. As her relationship with Andy progressed her parenting skills further deteriorated. She failed to tell her social worker that she had started  a new relationship and she concealed that he had moved in, until Jason told his teacher that he had a “new white daddy”. Andy is in and out of work as a labourer on building sites.

Current Situation and Challenges

Neighbours have reported that the children were often left outside in the garden and that they appear to be hungry. They were often sent to bed at 5pm with sweets, biscuits and crisps. Also a neighbour informed social services that she had heard the “children crying and had seen Andy slap Jessica”. This allegation prompted a visit by the children’s social worker to raise her concerns with Shula of the children’s continued decline, her failure to comply with the Care Orders and the allegation. When the children’s social worker visited the family she noted that Andy had proudly showed his tattoo of the names of the children on his arm. She observed that Jessica’s name was missing from the tattoo. She also observed that the children seemed withdrawn and Jessica was particularly quiet. The children’s development remained a cause for concern as Shula repeatedly failed to meet the requirements of the Care Orders. Shula’s response was that the neighbours are busy bodies who “won’t mind their business”. As far as she was concerned the children were doing alright. She was happy and that Andy was the ‘best father’ the children ever had.

At school both Jessica and Jason are failing to meet their academic milestones and the younger children were not thriving as expected. The school requested an urgent review meeting because the children repeatedly came to school hungry, in smelly school uniforms and on one of the coldest day in January they did not have coats. 

Using the Sohail family case study, you are group of five social workers that will examine the case study and give a 20 minute presentation to the Quality Assurance Management Board (QAMB). QAMB is an internal board to the Local Authority Farringdon Vale that reviews cases for the purpose of ensuring that good decisions are made and that lessons are learnt. The Board consists of the following:

1. Portfolio Holder for Looked After Children,

2. Early Years Manager, 

3. Practice Manager, 

4. Senior Education Officer,

5. Social work Development Manager

6. Chief Social Worker.

There are five tasks and they are weighted equally. It is expected that all tasks will be covered within the team presentation, with each social worker taking responsibility for presenting one of the tasks.

There are several models of the systems approaches to managing case studies such as the Sohail family. Choose two appropriate theories or models; evaluate them and apply a model to the individual members (listed) of the Sohail family: 



Introduce and explain one of the chosen systems theories/models that will be applied to the Sohail case study focusing on Shula and then explain the purpose of using the systems theory

Describe and evaluate the second chosen systems theory/ model in relation to Jessica

Describe and evaluate the benefits and limitations of the chosen systems theory /model in relation to Shula

Evaluate the benefits and limitations of the second chosen systems theory/ model in relation to Jessica 

Evaluate the systems theory and the wider ecological systems approach, providing recommendations for the Board members. 

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