Family Assessment

Treatment Team 1


Student Instructions

You are social workers in a private child welfare agency. Your agency counsels families that come to the attention of the state Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The department investigated the

case of 12-year-old Vanessa: it was alleged that something sexual happened between her and her uncle, who also resides in the home. When the investigator went to talk to Vanessa, she did not disclose exactly what happened to her. However, she did disclose that something had happened between her and her uncle. Vanessa’s family was asked to move out of the home for her safety until the case could be further investigated. The department has decided to keep the case open while the child attends counseling at your agency, in hopes that the child will disclose more information to you. You are a mandated reporter, and are required to report anything the child discloses to you to DCFS. The family has also asked to be seen by your agency. You are just seeing the child; another therapist in your office is seeing the rest of the family. Your team must come up with a treatment plan for this family.

Family Composition

The Hallmark family consists of the parents, Daniel, age 32, and Joanne, age 31. They have two children, a daughter, Vanessa, age 12, and a son, Bernie, age 6. They reside in the home with Mr. Hallmark’s brother, Eddie, age 35, and his wife, Mimi, age 33.

Current Situation

In your third session with Vanessa she disclosed that her uncle Eddie had sex with her. Specifically, she stated that he had oral sex with her on several occasions. She has also told you that other things have happened, but she is afraid to tell you anything else for fear it might hurt her uncle more. Eddie

was arrested two days ago after Vanessa disclosed the oral sex in counseling. He has no bond, and everyone in the family is upset. Daniel is angry and confused about the whole situation. Joanne and Mimi do not know what to do and are comforting each other. Mimi thinks that maybe Eddie had a breakdown

and is now / crazy. The family is in disarray and no one knows exactly what to do.

Family Background

Daniel and Joanne have been married for thirteen years. They reside in a nice

small home in a working-class neighborhood in a metropolitan have a yearly income of $50,000. Daniel and Joanne met in high school and fell in love. They decided that they would get married after they graduated. One week after graduation they were married, and they worked all summer in order to get their own place and have money for college. When August came they had just enough money to pay their college tuition but not enough to get their own apartment. They moved in with Daniel’s brother Eddie, and his wife, Mimi. After their first year in college, Joanne got pregnant but was determined not to drop out of college. After Vanessa was born, Mimi agreed to babysit Vanessa. Mimi is very close to Vanessa and at times has had to detach when Joanne comes home because Vanessa calls both of them “Mom.” Daniel and Joanne have lived with Eddie and Mimi since their first year in college. They decided to stay even after Daniel finished college, because Vanessa was so attached to Mimi. Mimi and Eddie are like Vanessa’s second parents. The family relies totally on Daniel and Joanne’s income.

In the last three months, Vanessa has been clingy toward Joanne and distant from Mimi and Eddie. Mimi has asked Vanessa what is wrong, but she has “shut down” and will not talk to her. At times she goes to Mimi and hugs her, but she will not say anything. She wants to go everywhere with Joanne and Joanne has also asked Vanessa, “What is the matter?” Vanessa jokes and says “I just want to be with you, Mama.” Vanessa is extremely distant from Eddie. Eddie always took her to after-school activities and now she does not

want him anywhere around her. He does not push her but is acting like he has no clue what the problems are.

Daniel Hallmark

Daniel is a Caucasian male. He has a college degree in accounting and is employed by a small accounting firm. He is the middle child of three children. His father is deceased and his mother has Alzheimer’s disease.

She lives in a nursing home in the same town. His younger sister resides in a women’s home in Colorado. She was born a quadriplegic. She was placed in a home after their father died ten years ago. Daniel is very close to Eddie always looked out for Daniel.

Joanne Hallmark

Joanne is Caucasian and Asian. Her father was German and her mother was Vietnamese. Her parents met when her father was in the military and stationed in Vietnam. She attended college with Daniel, but because of financial reasons never finished her degree. She has vowed to go back and finish. She is employed at the local elementary school as a paraprofessional. She has no siblings. Her parents live in Alaska, so she rarely sees them. Six years after Vanessa was born, Joanne had a baby boy named Bernie. After Bernie was born, Joanne stayed home from work for six months to bond with him because she remembers how difficult her relationship was with Vanessa. She and Bernie are very close. Joanne has always felt sort of guilty about her relationship with Vanessa and not being there in her early development years. However, she is close to Mimi and has appreciated her being there to care for Vanessa in the home. Joanne was born in the United States and Mimi was born in Vietnam. Mimi shares so much culture with Joanne that Joanne likewise has been a support to her. They consider each other almost sisters.


Vanessa is 12 years old with brown eyes and long dark hair. She is very friendly and gregarious. Vanessa has always been a fairly confident little girl, and people often compliment her on her attitude and zest for life. She is very outgoing and loves to be the center of attention. She loves school and is an average student. She is in the yearbook club and on the drama team.

Approximately four months ago, Vanessa became withdrawn. She started wanting to spend the night with friends and did not want to come home. Mimi and Joanne spoke to her, but Vanessa just said that she wanted

to live with her friends. Joanne thought it was a phase and overlooked it. However, Mimi was very concerned and started to spend more time with Vanessa. Vanessa asked Mimi, “What if someone we know did something

to me, what would you do?” Mimi assured her that she would always protect her. One Friday after school, Eddie picked Vanessa up and took her to the movies and shopping. When Vanessa came home, she was very sad and Mimi asked her if she had a good time. Vanessa nodded and said “yes,” but went to her room. Mimi asked Eddie what happened, and he stated that when he picked her up from school she appeared upset. Later that night Joanne talked to Vanessa and found her in her room crying. Vanessa said only that she did not want to see Eddie again. Joanne asked why, but Vanessa said nothing. The family talked about it without Vanessa present, and they all agreed to try and find out what was wrong. Later, Vanessa confided in Mimi that Eddie had hurt her, but she would not say what he had done. Mimi was upset and confronted Eddie, and he denied that he and Vanessa had a problem. He says he told her she could not have something that she wanted

in the mall. Mimi took his word but felt something was wrong, because they have told Vanessa “no” before and she did not get upset.

The next day, Vanessa went to spend the night with her best friend, Brenda. She told Brenda that she was angry at Eddie and then started to cry. Brenda did not know what was wrong with Vanessa other than she told her

that she hated Eddie. Brenda told her mother and father and they talked to Vanessa. Vanessa revealed to them only that Eddie had hurt her but did not tell them how he hurt her. When they offered to call Vanessa’s family, Vanessa pleaded with them not to tell that she had confided in them. So they did not tell her family, but the next day Brenda’s mother called the Child Protective Services hotline and asked some questions. She was convinced to make a report.


Bernie is 6 years old and basically very happy. He is in the first grade at the local elementary school where Joanne works. He goes to work with her every day. Bernie has a close relationship with his parents. He loves Vanessa

and always seeks her approval. Bernie has been in day care since he was about a year old. Mimi kept him for about six months after Joanne went back to work. However, he is not close to Mimi, and Joanne made sure that he

bonded with her. Bernie is not aware of what is going on but now feels a little neglected by Joanne.

Eddie Hallmark

Eddie is a 35-year-old blue-collar worker. He never went to college, but he supported Daniel financially while he was in college. Eddie was in the military for eight years and was stationed in Vietnam for five years. He met

Mimi in Vietnam and married her there. After leaving the military, he got a job working with a major airline. He lost his job about five months ago, after working for that company for ten years, partly because of his clinical depression. He has battled depression since he left the military. His employer asked him to get counseling but he refuses. He was given warnings about his temper. Recently he got into a fight with a co-worker and was suspended from his job. When he went back to work after his suspension, he threatened to kill his co-worker, so he was fired. Although he says he was angry, he says that he would never hurt anyone. Eddie has always been a responsible man but as a child felt neglected by his parents and never felt loved by his father. He remembers not being very close to his father and always being protective of Daniel.

Mimi Hallmark

Mimi is a 33-year-old Vietnamese woman. She is fairly quiet but a very loving woman. She met Eddie while he was in the military in Vietnam, married him there, and returned to the United States with him. He has

three older brothers and no sisters. Her family still lives in Vietnam. Recently she lost her father to cancer. Her mother is still living in the family home. She has returned to Vietnam only once since she left and that was

for her father’s funeral. She would love to return home more often, but financially they cannot afford it. She does not work but has wanted to work. However, Eddie never wanted her to work, and when Vanessa was born, Joanne and Daniel asked her to care for Vanessa. This was a joy for her, because three years after she was married she learned that she could not have children. For about six years she went to many doctors and tried everything to have a child, but she was unsuccessful. According to Mimi, caring for Vanessa saved her life. She is very close to Vanessa and thinks of her as her own daughter. She has taught Vanessa to speak her language and although she is not fluent, Vanessa recognizes worms and phrases. Mimi states that her marriage is “good” but that Eddie has had problems and is often depressed. She is not sure why, but says she tries to make him happy. She is very happy that Joanne and Daniel moved in with them and considers Joanne her sister.

She felt Eddie had done something to Vanessa but did not know what. She was devastated to learn that Eddie would touch Vanessa in a sexual way. She stated to Eddie, “She is like your daughter.” Although Mimi does

not think Vanessa is lying, she does not know why Eddie “‘would do such a thing. Mimi has been in the United States for more than ten years, but she has little exposure to the world outside of her family. Mimi says that Eddie is not abusive to her and she has never seen him be abusive to anyone in the home. Mimi is afraid that they will all be split up and does not know what will happen to her. She has no money or resources to help Eddie. Mimi does not drive and feels afraid to ask Joanne and Daniel to take her to visit Eddie. She is feeling very alone now.



1. What form of sexual abuse is present in this family?

2. What are the specific injuries and type of abuse to the child or children?

3. What other forms of abuse or neglect are present in this family?

4. How does each of the forms of abuse identified manifest in the family relationships?

5. How do the injuries determine intervention?

6. How does the abuse impact protection of the child or other children in the home?

7. Does the abuse impact family preservation? Explain.

8. What cultural factors must be considered in the determination of what constitutes sexual abuse in this family?

9. How do these factors impact your perception or ability to work with this family?

10. What identifiable situations or patterns contribute to the sexual abuse of the child or children (boundaries, gifts, etc.)?


1. What is the presenting problem? How are the family members involved in the situation defining the problem?

2. In exploring the situation, how does the information that you learn from other family members inform your perceptions?

3. How would you define the working problem based on the current information?

4. What strategies do you think would be useful in engaging with the individuals involved?


1. How would your definition the working problem direct your assessment?

2. Are there other problems or issues you think might emerge as you delve deeper into this case? What are they, and how might they affect the situation?

3. What information are you lacking about the situation and its context that you feel you need to know to gain an in-depth understanding?

4. Identify the strengths, limitations, and barriers present in this family. Based on the strengths, where would you start to work with this family?

5. What issues of motivation and/or resistance do you think you are likely to encounter? How do you think you might handle them?

6. Give a clear and concise summary of your assessment, and state how it affects the defining of general goals.

7. Identify and briefly state a theoretical framework or approach that would guide your intervention in working with this family.


1. State your general goals in working with this family

2. State specific objectives related to each goal and identify specific changes in the situation that might lead to accomplishing the above goals

3. How are you going to set up your evaluation to tract accomplishments or progress in goals and objectives


Design a treatment plan for this family. This is an example of a treatment/contract plan.

1. Brief description of the problem (this is generally a summary of the reason the client came to you or your agency)

2. Primary Goals and Objectives (you may add additional goals and objectives)

Design a treatment plan for this family. This is an example of a treatment/contract plan.

1. Brief description of the problem (this is generally a summary of the reason the client came to you or your agency)

2. Primary Goals and Objectives (you must add additional goals and objectives)

Goal 1:

Objectives Task:

Steps to Achieve Goal Person/s Responsible

(include social worker (s) and client (s) Time

frame Expected

Outcome Evaluation

(Strategies for



1. 1. 2.

Client Signature ___________________________________________________________ Date_____________________________

Client Signature ___________________________________________________________ Date ____________________________

Client Signature ___________________________________________________________ Date ____________________________

Social Work Signature______________________________________________________ Date_____________________________

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