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Week 10 Group Wiki Project
Caressa Prine, Maria Wardlow, and Racquel Walsh
Master of Social Work, Walden University
SOCW 6121: Advanced Clinical Practice II
Dr. Mary E. Larscheid
February 06, 2022
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Week 10 Group Wiki Project
When a parent becomes incarcerated, it can affect the entire family system in many ways,
including a decline in financial stability, family cohesion and increased psychological distress on
both caregivers and children involved (Muentner et al., 2019). The disruption in the family
structure can also lead to poor external behavior exhibited by the children. In the case of the
Haynes family, they have developed some of these problems due to the father being incarcerated.
This paper will discuss how the father’s incarceration has changed the family system and caused
issues for both the mother and children. We will include a discussion of the scope of the issue in
addition to clarity as to the specific causes of child behavior problems in families with
incarcerated parents followed by a review of two treatment options. Finally, we will make a
recommendation for treatment the meets the needs of the family.
The Haynes Family
Kelly Haynes is a 35-year-old, African American woman, with two children: ten-year-old
Bobby and 14-year-old Kevin. Kelly’s husband went to jail a year ago on drug related charges.
Kelly also takes care of her 75-year-old mother, who has been experiencing early signs and
symptoms of dementia. She has started working two jobs to take care of her family; she works at
IHOP during the day as a waitress and at Walmart on night shift as a stocker. Maintaining two
jobs is necessary for the family to retain their two-bedroom apartment in Southeast Washington,
DC. Since working two jobs, Kelly has less time to attend to her children and often must leave
them in her mother’s care. Recently, Kevin was suspended for skipping school and is failing the
9th grade. Kelly finds it hard to help Kevin with his schoolwork because she only has a 10th
grade education. He has also been caught driving his grandmother’s car without a driver’s
permit or permission from an adult.
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Lately, when at home Kevin has been defiant, talking back, and aggressive towards his
younger brother. At school he is not turning in class assignments, unfocused during lessons, and
skipping class. The grandmother says Kevin’s current behavior is unusual and that he took it
hard when his father was sent to jail. Communication with the children’s father is limited due to
financial constraints, like low income and the family not accepting phone calls from prison due
to high rates. Kelly and the father’s relationship have become strained due to his incarceration.
Still, the family anticipates the father will reconnect with the children once he has served his
three-year sentence. Kelly says that Kevin used to be a well-behaved, all-A student who
participated in extracurricular activities. He was fun-loving, but responsible as he helped with
chores and taking care of his grandmother and brother. Kelly is seeking help from a local
therapist because she does not know how to help Kevin change his behavior and grades.
Scope of the Issue
The Haynes family's issue centers on a lack of supervision and increased psychosocial
stressors exacerbated by the father’s incarceration a year ago. The mother is working two jobs to
provide for her family. The grandmother is no longer equipped to take care of the boys after
school due to her failing mental capacity. The oldest son, Kevin is exhibiting a shift in behavior
from previous positive history, where he was well-behaved, had good grades, and was
responsible. Now, Kevin has issues with school attendance, grades, and poor behavior at school
and home. The mother and grandmother are not able to provide adequate supervision for the
children. Finally, their environment is characterized by a lack of community support in the
impoverished neighborhood in which they reside, and the father being incarcerated. The stressors
mentioned above have caused the Haynes’s to have a disconnect in family cohesion, negative
economic consequences, and experience negative emotions (mainly Kevin).
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Living in an Impoverished Community
There are many disadvantages to living in an impoverished community, such as housing
instability, food insecurity, higher crime rates, and fewer community resources for residents
(Muentner et al., 2019). Children who have one parent incarcerated and live in an impoverished
area have a higher risk of having negative experiences related to development. The Haynes
family is disadvantaged since they live in a poor neighborhood, and the primary provider has
now gone to jail. This leaves the mother to make up for the lack of income. Further, not having a
high school education makes it more likely for her to work more jobs for adequate pay (Duncan
et al., 2017). The sons now have a lack of supervision, resulting in the oldest, Kevin, developing
delinquent behavior such as poor grades in school, truancy, and taking property without
permission. Duncan et al. (2017) found that younger children who have older delinquent siblings
are at higher risk of developing at-risk behaviors as well.
One thing that could help the Haynes family while the father is in jail is creating a more
extensive support system. However, impoverished communities often lack the resources needed
by residents, such as after-school programs to help at-risk youth have more supervision and
accountability. Since the mother must work more, and her small support system is no longer
reliable due to dementia, this family is at greater risk of housing and job instability, which is
known to intensify family problems (Muentner et al., 2019). In an impoverished neighborhood,
the percentage of children raised in a two-parent household has significantly decreased in the last
fifty years. In the 1960s, 85% of children lived with both parents, and by 2012 that number had
dropped to 64 % (Duncan et al., 2017). Duncan et al. (2017) stated that children who do not grow
up in a two-parent household often have poorer economic and academic outcomes, especially if
they live in an impoverished area, such as the Haynes family.
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Incarceration and Effects on Family System
When a parent leaves home for reasons such as divorce or incarceration, the disruption of
the family system affects not only the other parent but also children and other involved family
members. According to Muentner et al. (2019), seven percent of U.S. children have experienced
a parent leaving due to incarceration. This also means that the U.S. has the highest rate of
incarcerated parents, leaving the remaining caregiver and children’s lives to be disrupted
(Nichols et al., 2016). When a parent is incarcerated, this usually causes the family to have
additional financial, social, and psychological issues that cause stress on the remaining parent
and emotional problems in the children (Muentner et al., 2019). When families experience this
type of disruption in family cohesion and financial stability, it affects children negatively, which
may include them feeling confused, angry, sad, or becoming aggressive towards others
(Muentner et al., 2019). In the case of the Haynes’, the father has decreased communication with
his sons and family, which is another cause of the negative emotions the children can feel.
Children are resilient and often can overcome hardships faced in their youth if they have a
positive environment that encourages them.
Single-Parent Households after Incarceration
Another result of parent incarceration is the remaining caregiver having to provide
financially, which causes less time with children and a lack of supervision. Going from a two-
parent household to a single parent can be difficult for the entire family system, especially the
children. In the U.S., about 23% of children are being raised in a single-parent household,
compared to only seven percent globally (Kramer, 2019). Women are more likely than men to
become single parents in the U.S. (nine percent vs. two percent) (Kramer, 2019).
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Children whose parents are incarcerated, especially boys, have a higher chance of
developing negative externalizing behaviors such as aggression and poor academic achievement
(Nichols et al., 2016). In the case of Kevin, he has increasingly become defiant, truant, and
aggressive at home and school. When kids do not have adequate time with a loving and
supportive parent, their development can be hindered and cause emotional and behavioral issues.
This is the case with Kelly and Kevin Haynes, the mother can no longer spend time with her son,
and due to working more, there is a lack of supervision which causes Kevin to act out in various
ways like those mentioned above. Kelly usually depends on her mother to supervise the boys
when she works, but the grandmother can no longer provide adequate supervision. Not having a
support system to rely on has caused extra stress on Kelley, and having her oldest son become
aggressive and defiant has put a strain on their mother-son relationship (Tadros, 2021). When
incarcerated, if the parent tries to co-parent with the caregiver actively, this can ease the
remaining parents’ burden. The two parents can share the responsibility of decisions regarding
the children even if they are physically apart. In Haynes’s case, the father is not able to
communicate regularly, which will add to Kelly’s stress and potentially cause more problems
later with the mother-child relationship with Bobby and Kevin (Tadros, 2021)
Engagement & Assessment
The very first step in the planned changed process which places great emphasis on
establishing positive relationships within a family is engagement (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2014).
When compared to other races a majority of individuals of the African-American seek mental
health treatment at lower rates than people of other races (Villatoro et al., 2014). With this in
mind it is essential that during the engagement phase the clinician providing services to this
family builds great rapport. The clinician building a great rapport with this family will require
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them to be culturally competent as well as respectful to cultural differences. Having cultural
competence is very important as a social worker when providing services. The National
Association of Social Work (2017) states that social workers must be competent in all services
that they provide and that they must be culturally aware as well as culturally sensitive to the
individuals that they provide services to, possessing a “heightened consciousness of how
culturally diverse populations experience their uniqueness and deal with their differences”
(National Association of Social Workers (US), 2017, p 10). When the social worker is working
with this family the engagement process will begin once initial contact has been made.
Welcoming the family in a positive, respectful, and open manner can assist with making the
family comfortable and open to engage with the social worker. The social worker may start off
by discussing things of interest to the family such as hobbies to ease feelings of reluctance, fear,
and nervousness. The social worker being able to display and exhibit positive effective skills can
convey to the family that he/she genuinely cares and really wants to help the family (Kirst-
Ashman & Hull, 2014).
The second phase of the planned change process is conducting an assessment. The social
worker begins the assessment during the first contact that he/she has with the family. While
conducting the assessment the social worker will do several things which are, note what the
issue/problem is, contributing/influencing factors, as well as discuss with the family certain
things that can be done collaboratively to alleviate the issue/problem as well as what they
think/believe the issue/problem is (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2014). It is very important that the
social worker never makes any assumptions as to what they think the issue is that the family is
having. Instead of the social worker making assumptions in regards to what the issue,/problem is,
the social worker should ask the family what they believe and feel the issue/conflict is within
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their family. After the family has been able to identify to the social worker what their
issue/conflict is the social worker should then utilize the strengths-based perspective. The
strength-based perspective can assist the family with being able to identify strengths, skills, as
well as certain abilities that the family has as individuals and as a family unit that can assist with
being able to address the family’s issue. It is important that the social worker has a solid
understanding of the client system and/or family dynamics when assessing the family.
Understanding the role that each family member has as well as the intersecting of other systems
that could possibly be contributing and influencing factor to the family’s issue remains central to
working with families. Completing a biopsychosocial assessment with this family could be very
beneficial to the social worker. The biopsychosocial can provide the social worker with very
detailed and in-depth history of the family which in turn can assist with providing a better
understanding of the family’s issues.
Literature Review
A literature review of interventions to address externalized behaviors of adolescents
affected by incarceration, it becomes apparent that parental loss is less impactful for family
functioning than the environmental and social implications caused by the detachment of the
incarcerated member. While initially, many might assume parental loss to cause problematic
behavior in youth, the results are less direct. To further clarify the treatment options, this
literature review will contain information to explain the treatment targets as well as discuss two
intervention options.
Kremer et al., 2020 found that external family factors associated with parent incarceration
were more predictive of if and how problematic behaviors manifest within the family.IThe study
also adds depth to understanding how family dynamics and composition contribute to the child's
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symptoms after parental incarceration. Specifically, expressions of internalized and externalized
behaviors and their severity vary greatly across families, as only 7% of 1000 children
demonstrated delinquent and aggressive behaviors (Kremer et al., 2020). However, this does not
lessen the concern for the risk of externalizing behaviors among this population of children, as
evidence suggests that only a tiny portion of the population is responsible for most crimes
(Kremer et al., 2020). The evidence suggests that aggressive behavior from even this small
portion of the sample is extensive.IITherefore, while the number of children experiencing
behavior problems seems small the potential harm to themselves and others is significant.
I I I I I IAnother study examining the effects of parental incarceration on the development of
externalizing behaviors came to similar results. Kjelstrand et al. (2018) found no causal link
indicating external behaviors such as aggression, stealing, or bullying directly result from parent
incarceration. Instead, disruptions to the parenting environment as the remaining parent attempts
to compensate for several socioeconomic factors had a more significant influence on child
behavior (Kjelstrand et al., 2018). However, it is worth noting that these results differ slightly for
adolescents, indicating that parent incarceration contributes to the growth of externalizing
behavior over time but not immediately (Kjelstrand et al.,2018).IThis means that the changes in
the parenting environment played a significant role in the parent’s ability to care out caregiving
responsibilities ultimately causing behavior symptoms to develop in the children. Additionally,
while not the immediate cause, the parent incarceration did impact the extent to which external
behaviors continue over time for adolescents.
In a longitudinal cohort study, Bradshaw et al. (2021) found parent incarceration
negatively associated with increased behavior problems. However, there was no direct
observable effect of parent incarceration on challenging behavior among children (Bradshaw et
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al., 2021). Despite this, children who experienced parental incarceration had increased emotional
and behavior problems when exposed by middle childhood (Bradshaw et al., 2021). The study
also showed that remaining parents were more likely to suffer from depression, behavioral
concerns, and report lower quality parent-child relationships mediating the increased problems
among the child sample (Bradshaw et al., 202). These results again point to the importance of
adjustment for the remaining parent for family outcomes.IThe parenting environment takes on
abrupt changes with the loss of a parenting partner and prioritization of immediate needs like
housing or food can mean other responsibilities go on neglected.
Socio-economic Stress
I I I I I IWhen one parent in a two-adult household becomes incarcerated, the impact is felt across
several domains. While losing a parenting partner increases socioeconomic stress, families most
affected by incarceration are already likely to live in poverty with housing instability,
criminality, and mental and behavioral problems (Muentner et al., 2019; Tadros 2021). In one
study, income dropped by 22% in the aftermath of a parent's entry into a corrections facility
(Tadros, 2021). This decrease is significant but does not adequately identify the remaining
parent's contributions to increase income when one parent is absent. Tadros (2021) also notes the
burden of extra cost to maintain contact with the incarcerated parent, including phone calls,
travel expenses, and days off. In another study, remaining parents described inability to meet
family needs as a source of incredible parental stress (Johnson et al., 2018). A qualitative study
by Johnson et al. (2018), provides descriptions the experiences of remaining parents with stories
of multiple jobs, lack of childcare, and the detrimental effects of crisis, such as broken-down
vehicles. With only one parent to bare the burden of these issues the family loses accessibility to
both parents including the remaining parent.
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Effects on Parenting
) ) ) ) ) )Sogar (2017) studied the theories of contributing factors to delinquent behavior, finding
that the family unit should be the primary target for assessment and treatment. The combination
of stressors resulting from an incarcerated parent contributes to the overall ability of the
remaining parent to supervise children effectively. Positive parenting behaviors such as parental
involvement, monitoring, and consistent discipline, appear in several studies as a mediator for
delinquency or aggressive behavior, especially among males (Sogar, 2017). Further, inadequate
discipline, supervision, and attachment were the most significant risk factors for delinquent
behaviors (Sohar, 2017). So, while many people consider parental incarceration to influence
maladaptive behaviors in adolescence directly, the greater risk occurs when parenting practices
are affected, and insecure attachments are present with the remaining parent and child.I
I I I I I IBendezú et al. (2018) found similar results in a longitudinal study of parental monitoring
practices on the delinquency outcomes for at-risk youth. The study defined parental monitoring
as "efforts to attain knowledge about the child's whereabouts, activities, and peer affiliations
(Bendezú et al., 2, p. S21)". The results concluded that active parental monitoring such as daily
discussions, curfews, and parental knowledge of daily activities are linked as protective factors
for delinquency (Bendezú et al., 2018). The parent's attempts to actively monitor the child
resulted in increased knowledge about daily activities and opportunities for parent
involvement.ITherefore, conceptualization of problem behaviors as an intrapersonal problem
misses the impact of the interacting systems contributing to the concerns.
Addressing Externalized Symptoms and Parenting)
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I I I I I IThe literature clearly emphasizes family structures and processes impacted by the loss of a
parent due to incarceration. For that reason, one intervention to address the issues experienced by
families with incarcerated parents, is Structural Family Therapy (SFT). Structural Family
Therapy, rooted in work with low-income at-risk families, conceptualizes symptoms within
family interactions and the broader issue (Tadros and Finney, 2018). The therapist aims to reduce
dysfunction or symptoms by rebalancing family boundaries and promoting flexibility to adapt to
change (Tadros & Finney, 2018). Given the complexity and the discontinuation of family
members' roles when affected by incarcerations, there is a pointed need to regain equilibrium.
Tadros and Finney (2018) offer one case conceptualization focused on restructuring the parent
child-dyad. The case study provides a basis for understanding how restructuring the role of the
parent in an incarcerated family may reduce family symptoms (Tadros & Finney, 2018).I
I I I I I ITadros and Ogden (2020) also conclude that the family structure is deeply impacted by
incarceration, suggesting that SFT meets the unique needs of domestic issues faced by the
population. A review of the application of SFT to the population, focused on restructuring family
boundaries and rules to adapt to changes following incarceration and again upon parent reentry
to the home (Tadros & Ogden, 2020). The study centered on adapting the parenting function
related to the parent-child subsystem creating a preventive barrier against maladaptive behaviors
(Tadros & Ogden, 2020). Treatment emphasized the definition of new rules and roles of parents
in the immediate situation (Tadros & Ogden, 2020). While the study did not specifically evaluate
outcomes of child symptoms, the research indicates that SFT is beneficial for the parent and
child subsystems (Tadros & Ogden, 2020). SFT theory addresses many of the contextual issues
that occur for families of incarcerated parents. When considering the disruption of family
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structure and the need for newly understood and defined functions of members, the theoretical
underpinnings of SFT are uniquely adept to meet the needs of such fragile families.I
Advantages and Disadvantages of SFT
SFT is a strengths-based perspective which assumes that families already have the tools
necessary to operate adaptively (Eddy et al., 2020). The SFT focus is to enhance existing
capabilities to a functional level for the given situation (Chappelle & Tadros, 2021). This
emphasis on working within the present is especially important for families with incarcerated
parents whose previous functioning has been disrupted. Further in the wake of a situation that
comes with such high stigma, incorporating a strengths-based approach reinforces the potential
for families to adapt which is a stark difference from societal concepts which conclude the
family is on a path of failure.
Another advantage of SFT is that there is not a set limit of sessions. This therapy works
in the moment and therapist operate considering that there is potential for the problem to be
addressed quickly (Chappelle & Tadros, 2021). Such an approach allows the family flexibility to
meet other demands such as jobs or extracurricular activities. As noted throughout this paper,
the family is likely operating with increased family stressor and limited internal flexibility to
navigate them. Thus adapting treatment to meet their needs is very important for them to
continue treatment. Further, SFT can be continued with the family up on reentry of the
incarcerated parent into the household.
Despite a potentially good match between SFT theory and the family situation, we will
acknowledge a lack of information on the use of Structural Family Therapy with families
impacted by incarcerations. While several articles exist providing case studies or
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conceptualization models, SFT does not have a recent evidence base that will stand up to the
scrutiny of many practices. However, McAdams et al. (2016), showed that SFT remains a
relevant family therapy option but needs a revitalization of empirical evidence to emerge as an
evidence-based practice. The gap in knowledge about SFT is equally sparce for evidence
referencing the reduction of symptoms of children. This is in part due to the emergence of new
therapies and the development of longtime government funded strategies.
Functional Family Therapy
) ) ) ) ) )Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is another well-established approach to treating
adolescent problem behavior (Hartnett et al., 2017). This three-phase family therapy is a
cognitive behavioral approach to treating the presenting problem (Hartnett et al., 2017). A
systematic review of the data reveals that FFT is more effective at reducing problematic behavior
than no treatment and moderately more effective than alternatives such as parenting education
groups, probation, and client-centered therapies (Hartnett et al., 2017). The therapy focuses on
reframing problematic behaviors, developing family behavioral competencies that maintain the
behavior, then planning for future problems (Hartnett et al., 2017). The emphasis of FFT is
changing family behaviors that contribute to the creation and continuation of the presenting
problem rather than focusing on only the adolescent. Specifically, the presenting problem is
externalized adolescent behaviors, but addressing the negative behaviors that contribute to the
problem, like low parental monitoring, reduces symptomology.I
I I I I I IAnother study examined the efficacy of FFT between gender and age, finding that males
benefit most from this treatment in early adolescents (Scavenius et al., 2020). The intervention
was applied to adolescents ages 11 – 18 expressing disruptive behavior, including aggression,
theft, destruction, unexcused school absences, and running away (Scavenius et al., 2020). FFT
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showed moderate improvement in family strengths, communication, and difficulties (Scavenius
et al., 2020). This improved functionality is essential as FFT posits that family dysfunction is the
cause of disruptive behavior in adolescents. The sample of boys showed improvements in mental
health, a reduction in conduct problems, and hyperactivity (Scavenius et al., 2020). The study
contributes to the efficacy of family-based treatment for disruptive adolescent behavior by
adjusting family functioning through behavior changes of all members and increasing protective
factors.)
Advantages and Disadvantages of FFT
FFT is a uniquely developed family approach to treatment of adolescents ages 10 to 18
years old (Celinska, 2021). This therapy was developed targeting at-risk youth behavior
problems and has an extensive evidence base. The substantial evidence base for the reduction of
external behavior problems and the impacts on family functioning make this approach easy to
justify for treatment and to families (Hartnett et al., 2017). Also, FFT requires therapist to have
additional training prior to offering treatment. This implies that there is an increase in the
competence of workers facilitating treatment.
Additionally, FFT has a built-in engagement and motivation stage targeting buy- in from
the adolescent and at least one parent (Hartnett et al., 2017). Given the knowledge of engagement
for adolescents, this is an important targeted approach to address the needs of this client. This
component of FFT also addresses issues with family perceptions of the problem. Reframing is
used to adjust the family concepts of a problem and reduce blaming that often occurs when
adolescents exhibit behavior problems (Hartnett et al, 2017). FFT’s focus on a target audience
and problem means that is has incorporated concepts and techniques that address common
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barriers for treatment seekers such as motivation and blaming. However, this does not mean the
therapy is without its disadvantages.
FFT is disadvantaged by a lack of flexibility of the program dissemination. FFT follows a
strict treatment plan requiring family’s presence weekly for several weeks. Attrition may be a
problem for families who are unable to steer this treatment with other needs (Limoncelli et al.,
2019). However, it is worth noting that FFT is most often applied when a family is already
justice involved, so it is unlikely they can miss sessions without consequences. This also implies
that adolescents are involuntary clients leading to additional concerns for motivation for change.
Recommendations for Treatment
The family has been having difficulty with connecting with one another. The father is
incarcerated, the mother has been working long hours to make ends meet, the oldest son has been
acting out, and the youngest son is withdrawn. The recommended treatment for this family is
functional family therapy (FFT). The main goal and primary goal of FFT is to assess family
behaviors that may maintain delinquent behaviors, make modifications to dysfunctional family
communication, provide training to the family in order to negotiate effectively, and set clear
roles in regard to privileges and rewards. This form of treatment would work great in regard to
assisting the family with navigating through their current issues and assist with the behavioral
problems of the oldest child. FFT places focus on problems in order to be able to find a solution
that would be effective and acceptable. If the root of the problem at hand is not acknowledged
and addressed than it is likely to cause issues/problems in other aspects as well. If nothing is
done in regard to the behavior(s) of the oldest child it is likely that his behavior will only get
worse and harder to correct. FFT can assist the family with being able to reconnect with one
another as well as provide a more stable environment for the family. With the father being
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incarcerated and the mother always being at work, working long hours the two children are left
in the care of their grandmother who is in the early stages of dementia. The two children feel
neglected and alone, ultimately causing them to act out, leaving the mother unsure of a solution
as to how to correct the problem. FFT also been proven to be “effective in reducing youth
behavioral problems” (Sexton and Turner, 2018). Intervening now to correct the behavioral
problems of the oldest child would be best in order to prevent those behavioral problems from
worsening. With the behavioral problems being displayed by the oldest child, FFT would work
great in trying to correct those issues given it’s proven effectiveness and success.
Evaluation
One way to evaluate if FFT is working for a family is to follow their progress regularly in
sessions and note how the family reacts to one another from the beginning to the time of
evaluation. According to Robbins et al. (2016), one way to observe is to monitor not only the
family’s behavior but how they problem-solve together. If a family can problem-solve without
the issues affecting their judgment, that is more reliable than simply asking the family if they are
doing better. In Haynes’s case, if the family can discuss a problem and figure out a solution
without conflict, this indicates that their family cohesion is getting better and that FFT is working
for them. Another way to evaluate FFT effectiveness is to observe how each member interacts,
especially if the relationship is strained. Robbins et al. (2016) state that if the family members
were hostile or did not listen to one another at the beginning of a session and now listen
empathetically or are more nurturing towards one another, this is also an indication that FFT is
helpful. If the mother-son relationship between Kelly and Kevin improves and they communicate
more and his behavior at home changes within an allotted timeframe, that would indicate the
validity of using FFT. The last way to tell if FFT is efficient with a family who is disrupted due
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to incarceration is to observe the change in behavior for the delinquent child at home and at
school (Robbins et al., 2016). After several sessions, if Kelly can say that Kevin has become less
defiant and aggressive at home and that Kevin’s teachers are stating his grades and attendance
are improving at school, this type of progress would show that FFT is working to change Kevin’s
external behaviors. Observing the actual changes or lack thereof is a better way to evaluate FFT
usage for a family who has become dysfunctional due to parental incarceration.
Conclusion
In the end, a family-based treatment approach is the best option for addressing many of
the client’s needs. While Kevin came to the table with the presenting problem, the mother’s
challenges cannot be ignored. Therefore, a family-focused systemic approach like FFT addresses
disruptions to the parenting environment. While a clinical practice to working with families
navigating incarceration is helpful to alleviate immediate problems, high rates of incarceration in
the United States means this problem will continue to impact communities. The focus of this
paper remains the application of a clinical approach to treatment. Still, Social Workers should
consider macro interventions and preventive measures to address high incarceration rates, which
ultimately impact numerous American children.
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