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THE PART OP THE CHILD IN THE CASE WORK PROCESS DURING THE RECEPTION CARE PERIOD

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Social Work The University of Southern California

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Social Work

by Richard Allen Stull June 1950

UMI Number: EP66366

All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.

Dissertation Publishing

UMI EP66366 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code

ProQuest' ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48 10 6 - 1346

-r o

S

T h i s thesisj w r i t t e n u n d e r th e d i r e c t i o n o f th e c a n d id a te ’s F a c u l t y

C o m m itte e a n d a p p ro v e d

hy a l l its m e m b e r s , has been p re s e n te d to a n d a c c e p te d by th e F a c u l t y o f th e G r a d u a t e S c h o o l o f S o c i a l W o r k in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f th e r e ­ q u ir e m e n t s f o r th e d e g re e o f

MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK

D ean

Thesis

F acu lty Com m ittee

C h airm an

!2£3>V'-1

TABLE OP CONTENTS CHAPTER I*

PAGE THE PROBLEM IN RELATION TO RECEPTION CARE • . . The problem

. . . . . .

1

Importance of the s t u d y ...................

1

Statement of the p r o b l e m .............

. •

2

Related roles in the placement process

• •

2

Organization of the thesis... ................

3

Review of theory and definitions

4

Part of the c h i l d ..........................

II*

1

4

Principle of self-determination . . . . .

5

Responsibility defined

................

5

Importance of feelings • * ..............

6

Concepts of growth and c h a n g e ...........

7

Case work p r o c e s s ..........................

9

Reception Care p e r i o d .....................

10

Balance of responsibility ...................

12

THE AGENCY AND RECEPTION CARE . The agency in general

..............

15

...................

15

Function and p u r p o s e ............

15

D e p a r t m e n t s ...................

16

Reception Care in p a r t i c u l a r ............... History

17

..................................

17

Function and p u r p o s e .....................

18

ill CHAPTER III.

PAGE SIX CHILDREN IN RECEPTION C A R E ............... Methodology



Method of study

20 20

..........

20

Case selections

21

Method of case presentations Case presentations

...........

............

Case ! « • • • • • »

22

. . .

25

. . .

25

James Hunt Summary statement

• • • • • . • • • •

25

.................

24

...............

24

Case I I I ..................................

25

Case II Mary Richards Summary statement

.

George Cornell Summary statement

• • • •

........

26

Case I V ..................................

27

Pauline Cook Summary statement Case V

.................

27

..................................

28

Nancy Martin Summary statement

• .

Case V I ..................................

.

28 29

Charles Wilson Summary s t a t e m e n t ...................

29

iv CHAPTER

PAGE Analysis anddiscussion • • • • » . ............ What the child brings to placement Common factors in Reception Care How factors operate •

•. • .

30

• •• • •

31

...................

E f f e c t ................................... IV,

SUMMARY AHD CONCLU S I O N S ........................

BIBLIOGRAPHY

30

........................................

APPENDIX A

Process summary of Case III# George Cornell

APPENDIX B

Chart on conclu s i o n s.....................

32 44 55 65 69 81

CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM IN RELATION TO RECEPTION CARE The Reception Care Department at the Children*s Bureau of Los Angeles offers an opportunity for a first hand study of the specialized service of child placement.

As a depart­

ment and experiment, Reception Care is a recent development in practice at this agency.

Used as an initial period of

foster care, the reception home provides a testing ground for agency, parent, and child in trying out the beginning actual­ ities of foster home placement.

This temporary situation

helps to determine whether and how they can use placement* I.

THE PROBLEM

Importance of the study. child rests with his parents.

The decision to place a

The case worker*s job, then,

as a representative of the agency in Reception Care, is to place this particular child.

Case workers have learned, how­

ever, that the child himself plays a major role in determining both the use and success of this placement.

Every child has

.his own individual emotional and mental needs.

Only as case

workers have been able to help the child himself to partici­ pate in placement through a relationship in which he is per­ mitted to react in his own way to separation and change within this process can he be constructively placed.

The case worker

2

has the responsibility, therefore, of helping the child to experience his own part in placement*

Out of this sharing of

responsibility, it is the objective of this study to point up that part which belongs to the child* Statement of the problem*

The problem proposed is to

study representative cases as they are related to practice in the Reception Gare Department of the Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles; as they possess characteristics of the case work process of child placement; and through an exploratory analysis to become aware of some of those factors that have common significance in pointing up the part of the child in the case work process during the Reception Gare period* It is not the purpose of this study to make a brief for Reception Gare or to consider directly whether the use of this temporary situation is valid placement agency procedure* This is, in fact, a moot question in the general field of child welfare; and, as will be pointed out in Chapter II, the Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles is still experimenting with its own agency structure and policy in this regard* Related roles in the placement process*

It is clear

that in the placement process the roles of natural parent, child, foster parent, and case worker constitute a related whole*

The child can not be placed successfully unless he

is given up by parents who are able to make this step and

3

taken by foster parents who can offer a usable home.

This

study, however, will concern itself with only one aspect of the entire process of agency placement; namely, the relation of the child to case worker as the child is helped in his responsibil­ ity to use the reception home for himself and to come to terms with his own problem of separation and his feelings about the need to find placement necessary* IX.

ORGANIZATION OP THE THESIS

The problem has been stated and limited in this first section.

The remainder of Chapter I will relate the problem

to Reception Gare through a review of theory and definitions. Within this section what is meant by the part of the child, the case work process, and Reception Care period for the purposes of this study will be explained.

A last section

will discuss the balance of case worker-child responsibility in placement. Chapter II will describe the Children*s Bureau of Los Angeles, the agency in this this study took place, with particular reference to the Reception Care Department.

In

Chapter III, methodology will be elaborated in more detail and the six cases presented in summary statement form.

This

will be followed by the exploratory analysis and discussion of the part of the child as revealed in the case selections. The final Chapter IV will summarize the observations and

4

conclusions of the study.

An Appendix will Include a process

summary of one of the cases and a chart outlining conclusions on the part of the child in the case work process during the Reception Care period# III.

REVIEW OF THEORY AID DEFINITIONS

The fundamental assumption of this thesis is that in the placement process the child can know that he is an indi­ vidual who participates in what is happening to him.

He can

use the case worker as a person who understands him and helps him with the experience of leaving his own family*

He can be

helped to grow and to develop in another family and yet be shared by his own parents.

Rather than simply making plans

for the child, recent case work emphasis is upon achieving skill in working with the child and in helping him to make his own best use of the placement.

1

The case worker attempts

to engage the child in the process of determining what he is willing and able to do, to accept, and to use for himself in this situation. A.

PART OF THE CHILD

The great threat of placement to the child is the

^ Marian B. Nicholson, flA Study of Case Work Practices At Rosemary Cottage,n (unpublished paper read before the Child Welfare Division of the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Los Angeles, August 10, 1948), p. 7.

5 !,dolng tof* quality of the change imposed upon him by his parent and carried out by the agency.

With this loss of control in

dependency, he is left unsure of himself and of his part in what is happening to him.

The placed child, therefore, often

holds out against change or acquiesces unnaturally and com2 pletely to it. Principle of seIf-det erminat1o n .

Says Robinson

3

in

writing of the organism as a whole and its principle of selfdetermination: Through this stream of change in each individual life, there remains a deep principle of self-determination, an identity convincing to other people and to the person himself. This principle for which every name is mislead­ ing, call it will, ego or self, is fundamentally resistive to change from without and is even slow to recognize as its own and accept responsibility for any process of change from within. Its fear of loss of its own identity and control may inhibit even its normal growth process. It seeks its own likeness in the world outside, selecting elements here and there that can adhere to It without changing the unique organization which sustains it as a separate self unlike every other self in the universe. Responsibility defined.

Parents often desire to give

responsibility to a child, but no one can do that for another human being.

Responsibility is an emergent feeling that

^ Julia Ann Bishop, f,The C h i l d s Part In Adoption Placement,H Adoption Practice (New York: Child Welfare League of America, Inc., 1941), p . 18. Virginia P. Robinson, Supervision in Social Case Work (Chapel Hill: The University of Eforth CaroITna Press, 1936), p. 10.

defines a personfs attitude and use of himself*

The case

worker helps to guide and to set up conditions in which a child can he responsible , but he can never make a child feel responsible.

The task of the case worker, therefore, is not

to inhibit thought, feeling, and behavior on the part of the child, but to help the child to be responsible in his own way.

Responsibility and readiness rest ultimately with the

child, but the case worker must provide the means toward this emerging feeling and its use* Importance of feelings. about placement.

The parent, then, decides

Although the child does not make this deci**

sion, he is the one who will live in placement.

Through his

thought and actions, however, he expresses his feelings about placement.

These feelings are the child's only means of

expression and through their expression he participates in placement*^ Emotions are indices of felt values, both positive and negative.

The child has a right to his emotions.

These help

him to measure the degree of his own self-consciousness in

^ Frederick H* Allen, Psychotherapy With Children (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 19l2T,"^r™§l67 ® Esther S. Brandzel, et* al., An Experimental Use of the Temporary Home (New York: ChTTd WeTfare League of America,

Xnc.7 i U e j / pTTU.

7

what is happening to him*

As a part of himself, the childfs

feelings are a necessary reflection of his own evaluation of living, a means of seeing and using himself in his own situation.

6

In the case work process, the case worker supports

this freedom in the child. The placement agency realizes that it is difficult for parents to share their responsibility with the agency and foster families.

The agency knows, too, that it is painful

for children to be away from their own parents.

Since, how­

ever, growing and developing seem to mean learning to live in a world at first vague and undifferentiated, through the various kinds of differentiating experiences, even the young­ est child has the right to learn from his painful experiences 7 as well as from his other life experiences. Concepts of growth and change.

Although the child

obtains his start through external forces in which he has no part, his life continues only through the gradual taking over of responsibility for the direction and achievement of his S own being. While this potentiality for growth is inherent

6 Jessie Taft, ”Living and Peeling,” Child Study, 10:107, November, 1933. 7

Marian H. Gennarla, Pain: A Factor in Growth and Development (New York: Child" WeTf are League of America, Inc.,

TSISy, p7 T8. 8 Frederick H. Allen, ”The Dilemma of Growth,” Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 37:860, April, 1937*

8

in the living organism, the human being has the power to interfere with it by refusing the new or clinging to the past* For this reason movement ahead and constructive development for the child must be desired, accepted, or to some degree chosen by him*

Otherwise, the natural growth process can be

interfered with and hampered in many ways •

"Even a baby in

arms can refuse to be nourished by a situation which for some reason he does not accept • • •" Furthermore, drawing upon the advancing science of human behavior, as well as upon the critically analyzed out­ comes of its own accumulating experience, social case work affirms that change in a human being can not be brought about by forces that operate purely externally to that person: The word *change* refers to the inner reorganization of an individual around forces that impinge upon him and that are an integral part of his living reality. The individual may have had nothing to do with originating these influences and they may be entirely beyond his control* But his responses to them are his own adapta­ tions to these realities and bring the individual into an active relation to them. The external influence may or may not be modified by these adaptations, but the indi­ vidual will have changed and thus a new configuration emerges*10

o

Jessie Taft, "Foster Home Care for Children," The Annals of the American Association of Political and Social Science, 212:181, November, 1940. Allen, op* cit * , p. 242.

9

B.

CASE WORK PROCESS

A general definition and description of the social case work process as it will be understood and used in this study is a progressive course of interaction and change toward releasing and utilizing the child’s own capacities for parti­ cipation and self-direction.

This should take place from the

beginning to the end of the child-case worker relationship during the Reception Care period, and should be for the pur­ pose of helping the child to come to terms with his own prob­ lem of separation and feelings about the need to find place­ ment necessary* It is, then, a method by which the case worker, as a professionally trained person, consciously attempts to help the child use himself in his own situation.

Objectively the

case worker must search for those creative strengths within the child’s own personality that can sustain growth and change; and must provide, according to agency requirements and procedure for the service of foster home placement, a steadied means by which, within the child-case worker rela­ tionship, the child is helped to achieve some degree of adjustment and reorganization of his own strengths and capacities for use in his new and necessary situation*^

^ Ruth Zurflieh, "The Case Work Process in Treatment,” The Family, 21:329, February, 1941.

10

This process, as understood in this description, in­ cludes, therefore, both personal and functional components; that is, relation as person to person and relation as person to situation or problem in terms of agency procedure and re­ quirements for the service# C.

RECEPTION CARE PERIOD

With this review of theory and definitions concerning the principle of self-determination, responsibility, the importance of feelings, the concepts of growth and change, the case work process, and an understanding, therefore, of the necessity for engaging the child In any plan made for him, the relation of Reception Care to the problem becomes clear; for the Reception Gare period is geared to a utilization of the above principles# The purpose during this period is to help the child to use the reception home for himself and his feelings about placement#

This is an initial, temporary period of place-

ment--llmlted In time, and with foster parents especially prepared for a different, less absorbing, and more accepting form of relationship.

Such an experience helps the child to

live through separation from the parent and to come to grips with the reality of living in a foster home.

The case worker

allows him to express his feelings--negative and positive — his pleasure, his pain, his hostility, and he is not forced

11

to respond to affection at a point where he may not be ready

12

for it*

The Reception Care period will be used in this study to mean the time from that point in the intake process when the child first meets his case worker to prepare him for his move into a reception home, through the stay in this home, and to include the day of actual move into long-time foster care* Several weeks prior to this move, the second or long-time case worker is introduced to the child and initiates a collaborating and transition preparation with the child for his long-time home*

This experience will be discussed, however, only as

it comes up for the child in relation to his reception case worker• This period seemed best suited to this study because in it the problem of placement and the part of the child are highlighted due to the fact that the child has, during this period, his own separate case worker, the situation is time limited, and this case worker’s activity concentrated in relation to the child.

The time limit at Children’s Bureau

is usually three to six months, varying with the apparent readiness of individual children*

12

Taft points out that time

Gertrude Einstein, nThe Temporary Poster Home,” Child Welfare League of America Bulletin, 26:3, October, 1947.

12

represents more vividly than any other category the necessity of accepting limitation as well as the inability to do so, and symbolizes, therefore, the whole problem of living.

15

The

case worker’s contact with the child needs to be a frequent, regular, and close one during this period. are usually in the playroom.

First interviews

The agency takes over certain

responsibilities; it is the case worker who takes the child to his home, to the doctor, and arranges for clothing needs*— not the foster mother or natural parent.

The case worker’s

visits in the reception home are often weekly.

The case

worker represents at this point the stable element in the child’s life, the continuity between past and present for him. IV.

BALANCE OF RESPONSIBILITY

Though Reception Care precedes long-time care, it is not merely a preparation but an experience in its own right. The part of the child can not be separated from the part of the case worker.

In the placement process, there Is a

balance of responsibility between that which the case worker must carry.and that which belongs to the child.

13

Case workers

Jessie Taft, The Dynamics of Therapy in a Controlled Relationship (New York: The Macmillan Company ,“T 9 3 3 ), p. 32.

13

have found that a child— *no less than an adult— •can not be given theoretical preparation for change.

The only prepara­

tion for life is life itself* The case workerfs part is to provide this newness gradually, to help him meet it, to let him experience it in his own way and to find out how he can handle this new situa­ tion.

In doing this the case worker uses every medium which

can carry for the child a feeling of self-direction.

The

responsibility of the case worker is to help the child to experience every step of placement in his own way in order to make it his own.

Responsibility and readiness rest ultimately

with the child, but the case worker must provide the means toward this emerging feeling and its use. In summary, then, as has been stated, the underlying assumption of this study is that the part of the child is of particular importance in successful placement and that the social case work process during the Reception Care period can concentrate and give meaning to this living experience for the child.

He can learn with professional help that he, too,

has a part in what happens to him and has capacities for selfdirection.

Within this relationship, he can discover what

living in a foster home and with an agency really mean.

He

is given special opportunity to come to terms with both and, with his case worker, to share and to have part in his present and something to say about his future.

14

Finally, he can be helped to be ready for long-time foster care within himself and can move on with the support of this situation behind him because he himself has been a part of and helped to make plans for it--at least to the point 14 where he is no longer predominantly organized against it* Otherwise, different plans would have to be made*

14

Einstein, op* cit♦, p* 12

CHAPTER II THE AGENCY AND RECEPTION CARE I.

THE AGENCY IN GENERAL

This stoady was completed at the Children*s Bureau of Los Angeles.

The agency, organized in 1906 and incorporated

in 1909, was formed particularly to promote the welfare of children, protect them from cruelty and mistreatment, and engage in the placing of homeless, dependent and other chil­ dren in foster homes for temporary care and custody, under and pursuant to the regulations of the Department of Social Welfare of the State of California, and of the laws of the 1 State of California. Function and purpose.

Throughout the years, the pro­

gram of the Children*s Bureau has progressed and changed to meet the needs which families of the community have expressed Historically, there has been a gradual trend away from the protective and toward the child placing function.

Today,

child placement In foster homes is the agency’s major service The Children’s Bureau is an integral part of Los Angeles—

Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles, Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles Reports on its F orty-Third Year 1948-1 9 ^ iLbs Angeles, 1949), p.“T .

16

governed by a Board of Directors who are community people— and reflecting the legal will and cultural pattern of the 2 community. As a private agency, it is a member of the Los Angeles Community Chest, through which it receives most of its funds. The Childrenfs Bureau of Los Angeles is, then, a private agency which offers the general service of voluntary foster home placement.

Pour departments within the agency

combine specific purposes to provide this interrelated service. These departments are Intake, Reception Care, Home-finding, and Poster Care. Departments.

The Intake Department screens the many

requests for service that come to the agency.

This is usually

done in the initial telephone call at which time basic eligi­ bility is considered.

Where appointments are made, parents

are interviewed in the office.

In many instances this first

Interview is followed by a series of Interviews with parent in order to help determine if parent and child will benefit from placement.

If the applying parent indicates through

this exploration readiness to use placement as the agency administers it, the Reception Care case worker enters the intake process at this point to prepare the child for his

^ Chi l d r e n ^ Bureau of Los Angeles, Children in Poster Care (Los Angeles, 1948), p. 25*

17

move.

There follows one or more playroom Interviews with him,

a pre-placement medical examination by the agency pediatrician, and finally a staff placement conference in which a suitable home is selected. for agency use.

The Home-finding Department develops homes The Poster Gare Department has the responsi­

bility for long-time foster care. The agency has no legal or custodial powers over the children placed, but assumes responsibility for medical and dental care, clothing and the regulation of visiting plans. Case work is the way in which this service is offered through the various departments by the agency*s professional staff* II. History.

RECEPTION CARE IN PARTICULAR On July 1, 1946, upon the approved recom­

mendation of the Welfare Council of Los Angeles and with funds from the Community Chest, the Children’s Bureau expanded its services.

With additional staff and financial support, the

agency was able to extend its protective services to offer temporary care, help with homeless children because of the acute housing problem, and provide care for children needing foster homes because both parents had to work. In August, 1947, a Case Work Specialist was employed to explore, on a demonstration basis, the possibility of using a group of specially selected foster homes to receive children when they first came to placement.

These homes

18

offered the agency a chance to study and to know a child better so that planning might be improved, and parents as well as child were given a tentative experience of placement before deciding on a long-term basis. The first placement of a child in a temporary home occurred in November, 1947.

By March, 1948, nine such homes

had been used and fifteen children had experienced this kind 3 of placement* In September, 1948, what had been the nucleus of a department became officially a department and by subse­ quent staff decision became known as the Reception Gare D e ­ partment.

In January, 1949, a subsidy plan for these homes

was initiated, and by February 28, 1949, the Childrenfs Bureau had eleven reception homes with a total capacity for 4 eighteen children. Function and purpose.

According to Barbara Hansen,

Supervisor of the Reception Care Department at the Childrenfs Bureau, Reception Care at the agency is still in its explora-* tory stage of development.

There have been staff discussions

and a case record review, but the agency is not ready to make

3

’ Children*s Bureau of Lo's Angeles, Children*s Bureau of Los Angeles Reports on its Forty-Second Year 1947-1948 TTos Angeles, 1948), p. 3. 4 " Children*s Bureau of Los Angeles, Children*s Bureau of* L°s Angeles Reports on its Forty-Third Year 1948-1949 XTTos" Angeles , 1949) , p . T .

19

a definitive statement on this experience. In a recent agency 5 memorandum, however, Hansen writes in part: During the period of reception placement it is hoped that both parent and child can be helped to find out what is in the relationship and in the degree of separation between them, and to discover how and whether they can comfortably live in this degree of separation. So many times we have observed both since the establishment of the Reception Department and before the agency was oper­ ating in this way, that children could not really begin to settle down and relate deeply and meaningfully to foster parents until this initial period of adjustment to the new kind of relationship to own parents involved in separation had been worked through. Our experience seems to bear out the fact that it is more helpful for everyone concerned to have the initial placement definitely understood to be a temporary one so that the children and the foster parents are not caught in the struggle over •whether or not it is going to work. out.* If there is too much at stake in making this first placement a lasting one, the children do not seem to be quite as free to work out their negative feeling about placement and foster parents are not as comfortable about accepting negative behavior on the part of the children. Even though there can- be something hard for children in leaving a reception home and moving on to a long-time home, this is mitigated by the fact that the move can be prepared for and planned over quite a period of time and the child can have a part in getting ready for it. Coming as it does at a time after he has gained confidence in the agency and also has become more sure about what he can expect from his own parents and about the reasons he was placed, the move into long-time care can be a more con­ structive and positive one. The child has a more fwhole self’ to take with him into foster care.

® Barbara Hansen, f,Purposes of Reception Department,1* {Memorandum to Mr. Clyde Pritchard, Executive Secretary, Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles, October, 1949).

CHAPTER III SIX CHILDREN IN RECEPTION CARE I.

METHODOLOGY

The problem again as proposed is to study representa­ tive cases as they are related to practice in the Reception Care Department of the Childrenfs Bureau of Los Angeles; as they possess characteristics of the case work process of child placement; and through an exploratory analysis to become aware of some of those factors that have common significance in pointing up the part of the child in the case work process during the Reception Care period* Method of study*

The nature of the problem chosen is

one of relationships; namely# between child and case worker responsibility in the placement process.

Since a knowledge

of relationship phenomena does not readily or meaningfully lend itself to statistical analysis# the plan is to approach this problem In an exploratory study of six selected cases-*cases chosen expressly to show the child*s part in the case work process during the Reception Care period* is not one of broad generalization*

The purpose

Discussion will depend

largely# therefore# on description and analogy# based on assumptions which have been defined and made clear through bibliographical references; not with an attempt to prove

21

anything but to observe and to indicate relationships and factors of common significance where and as they are found in the selected cases. Within the theoretical framework of the introductory chapters, the presentation of cases and discussion will be an attempt to show how theory becomes practice through an analysis of the six children’s cases which came to the agency relative­ ly unknown except that their parents had decided upon place­ ment for them.

The task of Reception Care at this point was

to place these children to find out if this would be possible, and to help them to use this period in such a way that they could be ready to move into long-time care.

The search will

be for common factors to discover which ones operate, how they operate, and their effect in pointing up the part of the child in the case work process during the Reception Care period* Case selections.

The selection of records entailed a

survey of the agency statistical index for Reception Care cases.

A total of fourteen of these records were read*

After a preliminary study of these records, six cases were finally selected for analysis in this thesis. chosen on the following basis: placement in each case;

(2)

(1)

These were

first social agency

representativeness in that the

part of the child (his feeling, thinking, and behavior)

22

appeared clearly;

(3)

completeness of process recording of

the part of the child in relation to the case worker; (4)

a

child who moved on into long-time foster care from his Recep­ tion Gare period*

These cases were not chosen for the quality

of the case work, nor is this being judged in the study* These cases, then, are not to be considered as models but as instances in which the part of the child appeared clearly within the process* In order to understand the placement process as a whole, three separate recordings for each case were reviewed: the child, family unit, and foster home.

The study and dis­

cussion, however, will be limited to the child-case worker relationship as it appears in the child’s record and these further factors only as they are expressed in this by the child. Method of case presentations *

The six cases will

first be presented in summary statement form.

This will then

be followed by a single interrelated analysis and discussion of the six cases as they reveal common factors showing the part of the child.

Child-case worker interviews will be

quoted directly from the records within the discussion and interpreted, when pertinent, by bibliographical references* Significant process recording of one full case to highlight points of special emphasis and meaning as well as to indicate

23

the timing and movement in context during the Reception Care period will appear in the Appendix* A summary statement of each of the six cases now fol­ lows* II. I.

JAMES HUNT:

CASE PRESENTATIONS CASE OP AN EIGHT-MONTHS* OLD BABY

Summary statement*

The first of these children# James

Hunt# was an eight-months1 old baby when brought to the agency for placement.

His mother had been hospitalized with tuber­

culosis and had had no contact with him.

The father# saying

he did not want the child from the beginning# was unable to work out independent plans for care of the child and was openly rejecting him*

Prior to coming into placement with

the agency# James had had six moves since his birth. In contacts with James in preparation for placement# the case worker found James smiling# cheerful# and able easily to go to anybody.

He was fretful only if hungry# and

this kind of reaction continued through the early portion of his reception placement.

In the last month of Reception

Care# James began to differentiate between people and to show more feeling and reaction to what was happening to him* He had become closely attached to the foster mother and did n ft like her out of his presence for any time at all.

At

24

first he would have very little to do with the foster father, but near the close of the reception period had begun to establish something more of relationship with him, too* James spent exactly three months in Reception Care, after which time he was transferred to the Foster Care Depart­ ment for placement in a long-time home.

The case worker had a

great deal of conviction that this baby had moved, during placement, from being a child who would go easily to anybody to one who was able to differentiate between people who have a place in his life and to establish relationships which have real meaning for him.

In the transfer process, James showed

awareness of change for him* II.

MARY RICHARDS:

Summary statement.

CASE OF A SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL M a r y fs mother was divorced four

years prior to requesting placement.

During this time Mary

had been in several independent foster homes but was with her mother and in day care at the time of agency application. Mary was six years old, a rather out-going child who ex­ pressed some fear and uncertainty on the day of placement as well as after her mother*s first visits in the Reception Care foster home. Mary*s adjustment dur i n g ’the Reception period had its ups and downs.

In the beginning she tried to be a flgoodH

girl and attempted to please the foster parents in every way

25

she knew.

She looked upon the foster family as a ’’boss” kind

of relationship, and it was only gradually that she learned that the foster mother was just taking the place of a mother and doing for her the same sorts of things that would happen in her own home.

Mary*s relationship with the foster father

was much slower in getting started.

She seemed to he a lot

cooler toward him and didnft feel that he had the right to express any kind of authority over her.

Near the ending of

the Reception period which lasted six months, she was able to give and to receive affection from him.

She did not use the

terms "mother” and "daddy" in the foster home, but the case worker felt that she had become very clear about the position of foster parents in relation to her own mother during this period* Although foster home placement was not a new idea to Mary, she did find something different in being connected with a social agency.

In this Mary used her case worker to clarify

her own part in relation to placement, school, and her move to long-time care.

Throughout placement she seemed to assume

an almost adult concern for a great many things and had a general tendency to be over-anxious* III.

GEORGE CORNELL:1

1

CASE OP A SIX-YEAR-OLD NEGRO BOY

A process summary of this case appears in Appendix A., p* 60.

26

Summary statement.

The third of these children In

Reception Care is George Cornell# a six-year-old Negro hoy. George was born out of wedlock and at no time knew his real father.

Prom the time he was seven weeks old to age three#

he lived in a hoarding home as arranged by his mother. he was placed with relatives.

Later

Prom age four until his motherfs

request for agency placement# he had been with his mother and step-father.

This had not worked out because both parents

worked# and this marriage was on shaky ground. During the first few months of placement# George stayed close to his own mother.

Later in Reception Care# however#

he expressed less of a desire to return home.

Throughout the

six months of this placement# George tried to make the role of his case worker personal and at times almost that of a parent.

He made considerable use of the case worker in coming

to terms with problems connected with living away from his mother and the problem of a rejecting step-father whom he nevertheless idealized. Georgefs case worker felt that he continued to carry a burden of guilt and retained a tendency to solicit attention and affection of adults through disapproval and aggressive behavior# particularly in the school situation.

He had dif­

ficulty accepting a move into long-time care, but this pre­ cipitated an expression of more specific fears, and he began to use this experience constructively.

27

IV.

PAULINE COOK:

CASE OP A POUR-YEAR-OLD GIRL

Summary statement.

Pauline Cook, age four years, spent

nearly ten months in her Reception placement before going on Into long-time care.

Although Pauline did not know this, both

she and her brother, John, age ten, were adopted.

The adopt­

ing parents later divorced, after having a great deal of con­ flict over the children.

The father received custody of

Pauline, and the mother cared for the brother.

Er. Cook

requested placement for Pauline because neither he nor the mother could stand her behavior nor were they able to make a number of private placements and nursery schools work.

At

six months, difficulty began between the parents and child and continued.

Pauline reacted with hysterical, screaming

tantrums to any effort of control and was beset by fears and constant anxiety. Pauline reacted violently to placement*

This seemed

to mean to her a reliving of many of the badly handled changes in the past.

At first she appeared to have very little emo­

tional stability.

She reacted with terror when her complete

control was threatened; while at the same time, she remained constantly miserable- because of having no helpful relation­ ship with any adult.

After placement, Pauline was fearful

and even hostile with her case worker as a representative of changes.

Gradually, with the help of her case worker, she

28

was able to act out and talk about her problems in such a way as to indicate that she had become more conscious of what she was doing and had learned to take part instead of needing to be completely controlling. Pauline remained tense on her move from Reception Care, but with a strength of her own, a better acceptance of what was happening to her, and more understanding of her own as well as her parents* part in the necessity for long-time care* NANCY MARTIN:

CASE OP A TWO-YEAR-OLD GIRL

Summary statement.

At the time of agency placement,

Nancy Martin was two years old.

Her mother had been divorced

and placed Nancy because a satisfactory private arrangement could not be worked out and because the mother desired a placement plan for several years in order to return to school to complete a teaching certificate.

Nancy knew her father

only the first six months of her life. She stayed in her reception home three months before being moved to her long-time home.

Early in placement she

tried very hard to deny the negative aspects of her placement by making everything in her foster home seem all right.

She

was a conforming child and sought approval- and protection by always being the f,good little girl.”

The last month of

Reception Care, however, she was able to discover for herself how she felt about placement and to use her worker in a move

29 that made clearer her own part in the experience* VI.

CHARLES WILSON: Summary statement.

CASE OF A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD BOY The last of these children, Charles

Wilson, was seven years old when brought to the agency for placement.

A year previously, the boy*s father had separated

from the mother.

She had been diagnosed a schizophrenic,

paranoid type, and was under care out of state*

The father's

employment and own parents* inability to care for Charles were the precipitating influences in the request for place­ ment.

Charles had apparently been exposed to a number of u p ­

setting experiences— he had traveled about the nation with his mother while Mr. Wilson was In the Army and was present during most of the commitment proceedings against the mother. Charles spent five months in his reception home*

The

thought of permanent separation from his mother was very dif­ ficult for Charles.

He knew that she was ill, in another

state, unable to care for him and to continue the marriage with his father.

The boy*s real feelings about this came out

in the reception placement as relationship with his foster mother developed.

Charles, faced with the move to long-time

care and separation from this foster mother, brought these feelings out in a very definite way in relation to his case worker.

30

III.

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

What the child brings to placement.

All of these

children came to the agency relatively unknown except that their parents had decided upon placement for them.

The Recep­

tion period is seen in all of these cases as a structure* timed relatively to the individual case* which the child can use in moving from own parent to foster parent and finally long-time care.

This structure Is composed of agency-repre-

sented by the case worker and the practical activity of pro­ cedures and facilities he provides— as well as the reception home. Simply a reading of these cases in summary statement form indicates that these children differed not only as to inherent personality structure and social situation* but In their need and ability to accept and to use help at a given time.

Each child brought a different self* a different exper­

ience* and a different meaning of this experience to place­ ment.

Furthermore* each child brought his own way of reacting

to the placement situation. All of these children had been in placement of some sort prior to agency application.

James Hunt* only an eight-

months' old baby, had had six moves since his birth. Richards had been in several Independent foster homes.

Mary George

Cornell* the Negro boy* had been shuttled from boarding home,

31

to relatives, to parent since he was seven weeks old.

Pauline

Cook had experienced badly handled changes in a number of private placements and nursery schools until she reacted with constant fear and tantrums to any kind of control.

Nancy

Martin, the two-year-old girl, had been in private placement; Charles Wilson had lived with grandparents and in an inde­ pendent home.

Regardless of how the child felt about it, the

decision to place rested with the parent; and the child had to begin to take on a new set of relationships while still leaving more or less established ones.

The natural growth

and development of the child is clearly interfered with not only through the experience of a new placement but in exper­ iencing all that has led up to this placement. Common factors in Reception Care.

What has been added

in each of these cases, however, is the social agency with a case worker as a helping person for the child and a depart­ ment, the structure of which, is geared to giving him a part in preparation for long-time care and a chance with his case worker to give up something old for something new.

Stated

generally the child*s part is to use himself in relation to his case worker and in relation to the agency to achieve the purpose of this new kind of placement.

Specifically, an

analysis and study of these six cases revealed nine common factors which operate as the part of the child in the case

32

work process during the Reception Care period: 1.

make a transition from the parent to the case worker

with the understanding, to the degree possible, that the par­ ent made the decision and that the child will live in separa­ tion; 2.

take on a new kind of relationship with his case

worker as a helping person through this change and experience; 3.

participate in agency procedure and the routine of

placement; 4.

use his case worker through relationship to ex­

press his own part in how he feels, thinks, and acts concern­ ing his fears, anger, hurt, or pleasure about himself, the past, present, future, his parents, the agency, his case worker, the activity of procedure, and his reception foster parents; 5.

discover that his own feelings, thoughts, and

actions are important and that he can use them for himself in coming to terms with his own needs and situation; 6.

widen his experience;

7.

find the good things in his placement;

8.

learn to have confidence in the agency;

9.

come to understand what it means to live in

placement and with an agency in order to achieve the purpose of this placement. How factors operate.

All of these children made a

33

transition from the parent to the case worker.

Except for the

baby, this was experienced in the agency playroom and rein­ forced on the pre-placement trip for medical examination as well as the day of placement.

For the baby, the playroom was

not used; he was seen first by his case worker at his nursery home.

The other children were seen in the agency playroom by

their respective case workers to prepare them for the change* Mary Richards, George Cornell, and Haney Martin were seen once.

Pauline Cook was seen twice, and Charles ¥/ilson seen

three times.

The summaries would indicate that these last

two children had more of a transition to make which would suggest the need of further preparation--Pauline because of the many badly handled changes In her past, and Charles be ­ cause of the articulate nature of his relation to his own mother and need to understand why he must continue separation* With the five children where the playroom was used, there was discussion largely of the new home.

Out of this

seems to come some understanding on the part of the child that the parent is placing him, made the decision, and that the child will begin to live in separation.

This appears

most clearly in George Cornell's playroom meeting with his case worker.

George already knew that he could not stay home

because his mother worked.

He told his case worker that he

wanted to stay with his mother, but that he knew it was necessary to go.

Following this seemingly intellectual

34

acceptance, however, George’s expressions in play are prob­ ably most revealing.

(See Appendix A., designated paragraphs

(1) and (2), pp. 69 and 70*) Here is focused in a sense the basic problem of place­ ment for the child.

Through the transition from parent to

case worker and what the case worker represents, the child has been faced with the fact that his parents permit this pending placement, that they made the decision, and that the child will live in separation.

As has been pointed out, the

great threat to the placed child is this ’’doing to” quality of the change imposed by his parents and carried out by the case worker of the agency.

Knowing that his parents made

this decision, George’s hostility is directed to the parent. Telling the case worker that he realizes he can not remain with his parents, George turns his attention to the doll. George is trying to find himself in relation to all this.

He

is thinking about himself as he writes his name in block letters.

His control is threatened, and he seems unconsciously

at least to find expression in reaction to early toilet train­ ing, guilt over the slightest uncleanliness, and needs at the same time to express his desire for dependency, love, and security, as he identifies with the baby doll whom he then gives a bath.

Finally, with the help and acceptance of his

case worker, George brings out his feelings against his parents as he tries to come to terms with himself in relation

35

to them and the placement. All of these children took on a new relationship with the case worker as a helping person through this change and experience. in this way.

George has just been shown using his case worker The child soon learns that the case worker is

different from other adults he has known.

The case worker

here lets George express his hostility toward his parents so that he can be helped to know what it means.

In Western

culture, there is great social pressure against free expres­ sion of such hostility on the part of children toward parents. In this new relationship with George, his case worker lets him express his negative feeling and maintains an acceptance, a helping role, and an understanding of him in this.

The

child must find himself in the situation as it actually is, and he can do this only as he has opportunity to be critical g as well as positive in his expression. Although four years old, Pauline Cook had never had a satisfying relationship with any adult person.

In her second

playroom interview preceding placement, the ease worker found her a terribly disturbed little girl who because of the con­ fusion of past relationships would find it very hard to accept the help of another person*

Allen,

0£.

Since her relationship with her

cit., p. 135.

36

own father* was* in fact, so poor* further preparation for placement was shortened; she needed the foster home as soon as possible*

On the day of placement* she was horrified by

her case worker and did not trust her.

On the case worker*s

first visit in the reception home* Pauline was withdrawn. On the next home visit she hid from her case worker and ran outside.

When the foster mother brought her back* she

painted in the living room* covering her work up so that the case worker could not see it. saying it was the case worker.

Finally she cut the paper up* A week later Pauline was not

quite as fearful* had said that she would go for a ride to the park with the case worker* but when the time came she ran outside and told the case worker she didn*t like her.

Through

out this month just described* the case worker was totally accepting of Pauline and made it clear that it was all right that she felt this way.

There followed a rather dramatic

episode in which Pauline made her first demonstrative effort toward her case worker in hesitatingly sharing with her some grapes.

Over a period of several weeks following this*

Pauline was at last able to let the ease worker take her for rides to the park and begin to discuss her feelings about placement. Here was a girl who was so confused and hurt that she could not take help for some time.

She needed to test the

case worker and foster mother in every kind of way.

Early in

37

this placement, the foster mother was at the point of giving up.

Pauline refused all control and affection.

She loved

dirt, played with feces and manure, ate soap, overate food and candy constantly, was sassy, and destructive.

The case

worker related all of these things to Pauline’s need for all types of satisfaction in an attempt to do as much as possible to make up for her meager, unsatisfying life in the past. Gradually the child came to feel the case worker’s help and acceptance and to use it in overcoming much of this behavior and constant fear so that she could begin to take part in what was happening to her instead of being completely con3 trolling. On the day of placement and ride to the reception home, Nancy Martin talked with her case worker a good deal about her new home and the little boy who was also going to be there.

At first she talked about them angrily.

Only as

the case worker assured her with understanding that it had been hard to say ?tgoodbyen to ^mommis,” could she carry this further by adding, 11and grandma, too,11 thus beginning to show a definite realization that she would be living in separation and what It would mean in the way of difference.

After this

See also how George Cornell tests his case worker and discovers this new relationship, Appendix A, paragraph (5), pp. 73.

38

expression# she sat quietly for some time as far away from her case worker as she could*

Then she started to play with the

dashboard knobs that opened the car windows* she turned on the windshield wiper*

Accidentally,

The motion of the wiper

on her side of the car she enjoyed, but decided that the one on the case worker1s side was !!bad*tf

She denied being angry

at her case worker for taking her to a new home and marched right into the house on arrival.

Just before the case worker

left, Haney came to her to take a pebble out of her shoe and to show her dirty hands*

At this point the case worker had a

chance to tell her that her new mommie would be taking care of these things for her now, thus helping her to begin clari­ fying roles and better understand these new relationships* During their first real visit together sifter placement Mary Richards and her worker discuss together their new re­ lationship and how it will be used.

Mary at first appeared

rather doubtful about this new relationship*

On their way

to the park in the case worker’s car, Mary talked about school and how well she liked it*

She was good in everything

except reading for which she did not get a high mark.

Mary

and her case worker talked about this until Mary thought that the reason for this was that she did not read loud enough in class.

She would try to read louder and finally thought that

she could then get a good mark.

Mary was, she decided, al­

ready doing this and thought that her grade would be better*

39

On the drive home from the park, the case worker clari­ fies what her relationship with Mary will be: I would be coming to talk with her and she could tell me all the things that she was doing at home and at school, I would continue to be her worker so long as she remained in the Adams reception home, and X would not be seeing her mother. She asked if her mother would still talk with Miss Bundy [parent worker]] , and I said that she would* In a warm way Mary told me that she liked it here in the Adams home and I explained that there would come the time when Mary would leave Mrs. Adams and go to another foster home. In the meantime I was very glad that she liked it and I was sure that her mother, too, was happy that she found this home pleasant. Mary looked scared a moment and asked if there was something the matter with her which made her have to go to another home because she didn’t want to go. I said that I d i d n ’t know that there was anything the matter with her and did she think she was bad? Sometimes she was bad, she answered, and had to be punished. I said that she had already told me this, but this was not the reason she would have to go to another foster home. Mary interrupted and said that she wanted to stay with Mrs. Adams and then go back to live with her mother. I thought that in time she would be going back to live with her mother and explained to her why we removed children to other long-time homes and the kind of home that we called Mrs. Adams’ home. She wanted to know for sure that I wouldn’t bemoving her be­ cause she was bad. I told her that all girls were not good all of the time and that I understood this and so did Mrs. Adams. But everything depended upon how long it would be before her own mother could take her back to live with her and if it seemed that it would be a while that her mother would have to work, then Mary might have to go to live in another foster home. Mary asked if Clara [another child placed by the agency in this same reception home! would go along with her to her new home. I told Mary that she probably would not, but that Clara would also be leaving Mrs. Adams’ home to go to a long­ time home. Mary thought about this for a moment and then asked how long it would be before she would be moving and I told her that I didn’t know but she would certainly finish the school term in the Adams* home before we moved her. This seemed to be a relief for her, and I told her, too, that when she was to move, I would betalking with her about this several weeks before it was to happen so we could plan about this.

40

In this interview as in other cases,

4

the child is seen

using his case worker through their relationship to express how he feels, thinks, and acts concerning his fears, anger, hurt, and pleasure about himself, the past, present, future, his parents, the agency, case worker, the activity of procedures, and his foster parents*

This appears as the core of

the chiId*s part In the case work process during the Reception Care period*

Mary and George are beginning to discover that

their own feelings, thoughts, and actions are important and that they can use them in coming to terms with their own needs and situation.

As with Mary Richards and George Cornell

the good discovered by the child in placement has been related by the case worker to moving on— -not denying this as a con­ structive experience In Itself--but using it as a support for the next complete step* All of these children participated in the agency pro­ cedure and routine of placement.

This meant use of the play­

room which has been discussed as preparation for placement. It also meant a trip to the agency pediatrician for a pre­ placement medical examination, the actual move to the recep­ tion home, the time in the reception home, regular visits of parent and case worker, and a use of agency through the case

4

See Appendix A., paragraphs (4), (6), (8), and (9), pp. 72, 74, 76, and 77.

worker in planning for clothing needs, continued medical care, allowances, and preparation again with the move into long-time foster care. The concentrated activity of these procedures in the experimental period of Reception Care, reenforced with a dis­ cussion of how the child feels about this, seems to be help­ ful in reducing placement to more comprehensible human terms for the child.

They give the child and case worker an oppor­

tunity to become acquainted in a very natural way.

By having

concrete things to discuss, the child is often able to express some of his resistance to an outside control in smaller, less important areas, without building up a fear or rejection of the whole, and to move toward an acceptance of placement as 5 a reality which holds both good and bad for him. The child can work on these procedures of his own placement again and again.

In so doing he can test the agency’s dependability

and experience the case worker’s willingness to make of this 6 something as far as possible the child’s own affair. For in the case work process, the case worker from the beginning

® Sarah Downs, ”A Four Year O l d ’s Utilization of Agency Structure,” The Journal of Social Work Process,5:121, December, 1939. 6

Irene Liggett, ”Agency and Child in the Placement Process,” The Journal of Social Work Process, 1:62, November, 1937. .

42

sustains him in his right to find his own way into placement. The child can at least control the way he will take these changes• Chiefly through his visits to the doctor did the baby seem to find himself in relatedness and differentiation from 7 his case worker. The case worker spent one whole visit right after placement preparing James for his second visit to the doctor to continue his immunization series.

When they

approached the car for a ride, James had stretched his neck, looking for the foster mother with a worried look on his face. The case worker talked with him about "going bye-bye" and finally he no longer glanced back.

They took a short ride.

During this time the case worker talked with him about being in her car and later about going back to play with "mommle" at the foster home. Several days later to the doctor1s office, James went easily with his case worker. a whimper, but he did not cry.

He reacted to the 11shot" with As they left the doctor’s

James showed his first sign of anxiety.

The case worker held

him on the back seat, gave him his bottle, and he fell asleep the rest of the way to the reception home, where he seemed content to remain in the case worker’s arms.

When she visited

^ For a use of case worker in this same regard, see George Cornell, Appendix A., paragraph (7), p* 76#

43

again a week later, however, there was a definite reaction on his part toward her.

When she held out her hands, he not only

did not respond but actually withdrew and turned to his foster mother.

This reaction was so marked that the foster mother

commented, r,It looks as though he remembered that you were the one who took him away the last time.”

James was beginning,

in other words, to gain a sense of separateness and choice without which he would have nothing on which to move*

At

the beginning of placement he had felt his weakness in total submission. In his reception home Charles Wilson, the seven-yearold boy, was at first a rather conforming adult child. was around the

It

temporary nature of his placement that Charles

was able to be the boy he was: Charles wanted to know why he couldn’t go on to his permanent home now. He said several times, ’I want a permanent home. I want to go where I can stay.1 He be­ came more and more earnest as he talked about this, and as I explained something of the basis for his present placement, I emphasized the fact that his father had helped to make the plans for this and that he wanted it this way. While I helped him to understand that I could see that it was not easy for him, I did not give him any assurance that he would be going on to another foster home very soon. He had quite a cry while he was talking about his feeling of this. He tried very hard to hold it back and to keep talking, but finally the crying broke through and he was very much his age for a little while. After Charles and I had had this talk and he had cried, he brought out some complaints about the restrictions he is feeling in the Preston foster home. He mentioned the fact that he couldn’t ride his tricycle beyond the drive­ way, only to the east corner, and w a s n ’t allowed at all in the back alley. We talked about these things and the

44

possible reasons for them. I explained that perhaps when he had been there a little longer and Mrs. Preston sees how well he gets along with the tricycle that she will let him go a little farther. He also talked about the fact that he didn*t have any children to play with while he was right there at the house. He wanted to live some place where there were children. He also brought to me the problem he was having about making friends at school on which I assured him. Here the child is beginning to use the case worker through their relationship to discuss his feelings about practical matters in the home and about adjustment at school as well as planning about the reception period* All of these children found good things in their placement.

In each case there came the point when they def­

initely wanted to stay in this temporary home.

Procedures

were a way of widening their experience so that out of the entire placement situation they came gradually to gain con­ fidence in their case worker and the agency.

Charles Wilson

had his tonsils removed during the reception period.

It was

his case worker who supported him in this# took him for all the laboratory tests and checkups# and assured him on the anesthetic and his fears about the operation Itself. Effect♦

As these children made the transition from

parent to case worker, took on this new relationship with him, participated in agency procedure# and used their case workers to express and experience their own part in the change # they came to recognize the importance of their own feelings in

45

what was happening to them.

They became aware of the good

in their placement and broadened their experiences.

They

gained some confidence in the agency by preparing to go and by spending time in their reception homes. As observed in these cases, the effect of the operation of the common factors revealed in the case work process dur­ ing the Reception Care period, appeared on the part of the child as varying degrees of: a.

differentiation (awareness of change and a separ­

ate self with individual strengths and capacities); b.

responsibility (emerging feeling that defines his

attitude and use of self in relation to others and his own situation); c.

synthesis (coming to terms, with and using the

reception experience for himself in a reality relation to the whole configuration of the placement process); d.

movement (direction the process takes towards his

accepting or notaccepting long-time care). Finally a

tenth common factor for the

partofthe

child became evident as this entire experience was utilized in relation to the purpose of 10.

move

Reception Care:

forward into long-time care

through the

medium of this process that he has shared actively from the start in relation to his case worker to the degree that his

46

age and experience have permitted*

8

Although problems of acceptance of separation and of placement remained, the fact of the case worker and child beginning to consider replacement into long-time care to­ gether and of having to get ready for it seemed to help the child face more fully what he was doing and what his real wishes were*

To have begun in a long-time home would prob­

ably not have focused this experience in the same way.

Coming

as it did at a time when he had gained some confidence in the agency, knew more of what he could expect of his own parents and of the reasons he was placed, he could plan with his case worker on the move* It will be recalled that James Hunt, the baby, went easily to anyone in preparation for placement*

He was fretful

only if hungry, and this kind of reaction continued through the early portion of his reception placement*

In the last

month of Reception Care, James began to differentiate between people and to show more feeling and reaction to what was happening to him*

He had become closely attached to the

foster mother and didn’t like her out of his presence for any time at all.

At first he would have very little to do with

the foster father, but near the close of the reception period

o

See Appendix B*, p* 81*

47

had begun to establish something more of relationship with him, too.

The instance of his differentiating the case worker

from among others has been cited.

The day of replacement

shows, even In the baby, movement and a sense of responsibil­ ity in the culmination of the Reception Care placement process: Called today to get James for replacement. Again when I walked into the house, James became eager to go with me. In leaving he smiled broadly and waved ’good-bye’ so vigorously that the foster mother afterwards told me it seemed almost as though he was glad to leave. However, we were no sooner settled in the car but that James began to behave in a completely different way from every prev­ ious trip. He would have nothing to do with his toy or with me. He leaned over the seat of the car as far from me as possible. He became sleepy and fussy and toward the end of our ride began to cry. He anxiously reached out for me to take him out of the car when we reached the agency. I took him into the interviewing room to wait for Mrs. Crawley [his long-time worker who had seen him several times at the agency playroom to prepare him for her part in his replacement] * All the while James was very serious, and he continued so when I gave him to Mrs. Crawley and did not respond when I said, ’bye-bye’ and waved to him. During the ride and the time James and I were waiting I talked to him using the words of his going ’bye-bye1 and ’to a new moramie with Mrs. Crawley.* While the words probably had no meaning, certainly James was fully aware that today was quite different from previous trips with me. This case worker had the conviction that this baby had moved, during his reception placement, from being a child who would go easily to anybody to one who was able to differen­ tiate between people who had a place in his life and to establish relationships which had real meaning for him.

In

the transfer process, James showed awareness of change for him.

48

Mary Richards became very clear about the position of foster parents in relation to her own mother during the Reception Care period*

In talking with her case worker about

replacement, Mary said that she was glad to leave the recep­ tion home and maybe when she was through at her long-time home she could go back to live with her mother.

She knew that

she would not come back any more to a "reception home."

On

the way home after meeting her long-time case worker at the agency playroom, she told her reception case worker about the children in the new home and their names.

She planned on the

ride home how she was going to help her reception mother get her things ready to go and reminded her case worker to pick her up early the morning of the move.

Mary maintained this

forward movement straight through the day of replacement* Here is seen how the child can participate in the decision about long-time care.

When Mary was placed in her reception

home, she had had no part in the decision.

This time she had

actively prepared for this move from the beginning of her reception placement in relation to her case worker and had shared in the process. George Cornell had difficulty accepting a move into long-time care, but this precipitated an expression of more specific fears, and he began to use this experience con­ structively.

The synthesis appears most clearly in this

case as George gets clear with the help of his case worker

49

about his name, the fact that Mr. Cornell is his step-father, and what It means to live with an agency.

(See Appendix A,

designated paragraphs (8), (9), (10) and (11), pp. 76, 77, 78.) Pauline Cook shows clearest the gaining of a sense of responsibility.

She came to be able to act out and talk

about her problems in such a way as to indicate that she had become more conscious of what she was doing and had learned to take part Instead of needing to be completely controlling. Prom the girl who reacted so violently to placement she had come to accept the case worker as a helping person she could trust.

When the case worker arrived for replacement, she

said that she was ready to go and helped her foster mother move things to the car. Pauline said ’goodbye’ definitely and kissed her foster mother warmly and without hesitation. She then began to talk about her new home. She asked me if she would have two daddies and I told her yes. After we talked a bit we were quiet, and Pauline finally said that she would miss Mrs. Schulz [her reception mother]]. I agreed that it was sad saying goodbye when you get to know people so well. Then Pauline said, ’I like you today. I didn’t use to like you.* And this statement I felt to be her goodbye to me. Once Pauline rather unexpectedly asked who Mrs. Breese Cher long-time worker] was. Ididn’t feel that she was really confused but just wanted again to review all the steps in the move. Pauline said that she wanted to stay in her new home, that she d i d n ’t want to move any more, and we talked about how her own mother and daddy would come to see her and how Mrs. Breese would, too. Pauline explained to me how her mother and daddy had separated and that John, her brother, had to go live in a school and she had to live in a new home because her daddy d i d n ’t have any home. All of this she did completely of her own accord. Pauline was a little fearful then as she entered the

50 agency to go with Mrs, Breese, hut it is seen how she had come to terms in her own mind (synthesis) about the need for this separation and her family*s relation to it as well as taking part herself now in what is happening to her. For Charles Wilson the thought of permanent separation from his mother was very difficult for him.

He knew that she

was ill, in another state, unable to care for him and to con­ tinue the marriage with his father,

The b o y ’s real feelings

about this came out in the reception placement as relationship with his foster mother developed.

Charles, faced with the

move to long-time care and separation from this foster mother, brought these feelings out in a very definite way with his case worker.

All through his reception period Charles was

preoccupied with thoughts about his mother. cussed with his case worker.

These he dis-

In talking about the long-time

home, Charles said, ”But I d o n ft want to stay there too awfully long because I want to go back to live with my daddy some time.”

The case worker told him that he knew how he must

feel about this but that it might be a long time that he would be living in his next home.

Charles then said, ”And I want

to go back and live with my mamma too.” ”But I guess I can’t do that.”

He quickly added,

The case worker affirmed that

this was true and met him with feeling about this.

He seemed

even to relate his coming move in some way with his mother by anticipating it as a step closer to an eventual family

51

uniting*

In talking with him about this, the case worker

made clear that moving meant simply that he would have a long­ time home and more permanent foster parents to care for him as long as his own father needed this.

The case worker em­

phasized the fact that his father had not discussed with the agency any plans for a visit with his own mother or a re­ uniting.

The only plan was for him to go to his new home

where he would be remaining for a long time* Charles talked with his case worker about the mountain streams where his mother lived and about the hikes he used to take with her.

He said that when his mother became too sick

to go with him on hikes in the mountains that his father had gone with him.

The case worker helped him to understand his

mother*s condition and his concern and guilt about how his mother and father had quarreled so much of the time.

The case

worker recognized his unhappiness at being present when two people he loved so much were mad at each other and had to separ­ ate.

The case worker gave him assurance on this being unre­

lated to ngoodnessn or tfbadnessH on anyone*s part and something which comes as the result of an illness such as his mother's. Gradually, Charles began to understand somewhat the reality of his own situation in relation to his mother.

The case worker

helped him to realize that his mother had changed a lot through her illness and what she had gone through.

Finally the case

worker was able to make clear that it wasn't Charles* fault that his mother had changed this way and that it wasn't

52

his father*s fault, but that this was something that could happen to people like getting hit by an automobile.

In dis­

cussing this with his case worker, Charles said, f,When people get hit by a car they sometimes look all different, d o n ’t they?

And maybe that’s the way it is with the way

mamma feels.” The day of replacement followed not long after this discussion: Charles had things ready and was anxious to get into the car and leave. It was the foster mother who showed most of the feeling over the separation. She clung to his hand somewhat playfully as he tried to break away and get into the car. After he once got into the car, Mrs. Preston had to ask him to roll down the window so that she could put her head in and give him a goodbye kiss. Charles was touched by this special show of affection but would not let himself feel it so long as Mrs. Preston was right there. During the first of the ride to the agency, whenever I would put anything in the conversation which hinted at what was ahead, Charles would stay with this only briefly and then refer back to the various people in the neighborhood of the foster home and to Mrs. Preston herself. I told him it must be hard to leave here when all these people obviously liked him so much. There had been many kisses and gifts that morning. Charles said that it did make him feel a little unhappy, but he em­ phasized the fact that he was ready to leave and go on to * his other home. While he said this, he did continue to go back for a while longer, however. He got out a little address book and thumbed through the pages showing me the names and addresses of the many people he had known and expected to be in touch with near* his reception home. When he came to Mrs. Preston’s name and talked about her a little more, I again said, ’In a way you d o n ’t really like to leave, do y ou?’ He said that he d i d n ’t mind and then quickly said, ’I have her address and phone number here and I can write her a letter and I can phone her, too, from my new home.* I told Charles that I could see it would mean a lot to him to do this but mentioned some of the complications that might arise in his making numerous phone calls. After giving him various

53

explanations as to why he could not go ahead and plan on such calls, I said that we had made a sort of rule in the agency that phone calls are not to be made from one foster home to another. When Charles indicated that he had accepted this, 1 told him that this did not mean that he could not get a message to Mrs. Preston if he wanted to through his new worker. Charles then made a plan with me by which he would tell Miss Horn Oils new long-time worked if there is anything he wants transmitted to his recep­ tion mother and that if he wants to write a note he will give that to Miss Horn, too. It was right after Charles had worked out all the details of this to his satisfaction that he was able to talk about the final ending with me and to go on to what lay ahead for him. Charles seemed to have to hold to something in his relationship with me after we had talked about the fact that this would be our last ride together and the last time we would see each other as worker and foster child . . . He seemed to feel that there was still something of a connection with me in the way that possible messages would be relayed through his worker to me and thence to Mrs. Preston. However, later he thought it possible for Miss Horn herself to get in touch with Mrs. Preston. The point at which I felt Charles was reconciled to the change that was to occur was when he turned to the ’K's* in his address book after learning how Miss Horn spells her name and decided that he was going to obtain her office address and phone number. Charles kept the book open at this place during the rest of the ride, and one of the first things he did upon seeing Miss Horn was to get her to put her name in the book. In these interviews Charles uses his case worker to find a way of bringing himself into his new situation, through what Is really struggle and denial on his part, through dif­ ferentiation of his own responsibility from what of other persons Including his case worker, and eventually through beginning to find his own place in the whole configuration of circumstances which necessitate and constitute his place­ ment.

Out of this kind of attempt at synthesis, he Is

54 apparently able to move into long-time care.

Pear and u n ­

certainty are present, to be sure, and there is the difficulty of leaving a reception home and people he likes as well as this case worker, but he also goes with an underlying prepara­ tion and anticipation toward a new case worker and long-time home that has become in part his own undertaking.

He has

widened his experience, found good things in his placement, and learned to have some confidence in the agency.

He has

had help to understand what it means to live in placement and with an agency.

This move was something he and his case

worker had prepared for and planned over a period of time. This process he has shared from the start of his reception placement, and through the medium of this process, he moves forward to long-time care where he can add more permanent names to his book and life in a placement experience in which he himself has had a part*

CHAPTER IV SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The problem as proposed for this thesis was to study representative cases as they were related to practice in the Reception Care Department of the Chi l d r e n ^ Bureau of Los Angeles; as they possessed characteristics of the case work process of child placement; and through an exploratory analy­ sis to become aware of some of those factors that have common significance in pointing up the part of the ehild in the case work process during the Reception Care period* The fundamental assumptions of the study were that the child himself determines whether he can be placed, though the case worker, through the agency, provides the opportunity for this determination; and that the child can experience with professional help that he, too, has a part in what is happening to him and has capacities for self-direction* The study was limited to the relation of child to case worker within the placement process, although it was recog­ nized that the roles of natural parent, child, foster parent, and case worker constitute a related whole*

An introductory

review of theory, supported by bibliographical references, emphasized the importance of feelings; for, although the child does not make the initial placement decision, he is the one who will live in placement*

These feelings are the childfs

56

only means of expression and through them he participates in his own placement.

Respect for the childfs capacity for self-

determination as well as capacity for change in all human beings when positively engaged in such an effort were shown to be of equal importance in planning with and placing a child. The Reception Care period was seen to be one geared to the above principles:

a structure composed of agency—

represented by case worker and the practical activity of pro­ cedures and facilities he provides— as well as the reception home.

The case work process was understood, therefore, to

have both personal and functional components.

Within this

process, the Ghild was given special opportunity to come to terms with his own problem about separation and the need to find placement necessary as well as to share and to have part in both his present and something to say about his future. The Children*s Bureau of Los Angeles was discussed in relation to this problem and shown to offer an opportunity for a first-hand study of the part of the child because of a recent development there of a Reception Care Department in which this special consideration is given. Six cases of children in Reception Care were presented for an exploratory study. generalization*

The purpose was not one of broad

Ho attempt was made to prove anything, but

to observe and to indicate relationships and factors of

57 common significance in pointing up the part of the child as they were found in the selected cases. for Reception Care*

This was not a brief

The purpose was to show how theory be ­

came practice through an analysis of the six childrenfs cases which came to the agency relatively unknown except that their parents had decided upon placement for them. for common factors:

The search was

to discover which ones operated# how

they operated# and their effect in pointing up the part of the child in the case work process during the Reception Care period* All of these children differed not only as to inherent personality structure and social situation# but in their need and ability to accept and to use help at a given time.

All

of them had been in placement of some sort prior to agency application.

What was added in each of these cases# however#

was the social agency with a case worker as a helping person for the child and a department# the structure of which# was geared to giving him a part in preparation for long-time care and a chance with his case worker to give up something old for something new. Stated generally the child*s part was to use himself in relation to his case worker and in relation to the agency to achieve the purpose of this new kind of placement*

Speci­

fically, an analysis and study of these six cases revealed ten common factors which operated as the part of the child in

58 the case work process during the Reception Care period: 1*

make a transition from the parent to the case worker

with the understanding, to the degree possible, that the parent made the decision and that the child will live in separation; 2m

take on a new kind of relationship with his case

worker as a helping person through this change and experience; 3.

participate in agency procedure and the routine of

placement 5 4.

use his case worker through relationship to express

his own part in how fears,

he feels, thinks, and acts concerning his

anger, hurt, or pleasure about himself, the past,present,

future, his parents, the agency, his case worker, the activity of procedures, and his reception foster parents; 5*

discover that his own feelings, thoughts, and

actions are important and that he can use them for himself in coming to terms with his own needs and situation; 6*

widen his experience;

7*

find the

good things in his placement;

8*

learn to

gain confidence in the agency;

9.

come to understand what it means to live in place­

ment and with an agency in order to achieve the purpose of this placement. As observed in these cases, the effect of the operation of these common factors revealed in the case work process during the Reception Care period, appeared on the part of

59

the child as varying degrees of: a*

differentiation (awareness of change and a

separate self with individual strengths and capacities); h.

responsibility (emerging feeling that defines

his attitude and use of self in relation to others and his own situation); c.

synthesis (coming to terms with and using the

reception experience for himself in a reality relation to the whole configuration of the placement process); d.

movement (direction the process takes toward

his accepting or not accepting long-time care)* Finally, a tenth common factor for the part of the child became evident as this entire experience was utilized in relation to the purpose of Reception Care: 10*

move forward into long-time care through the

medium of this process that he has shared actively from the start in relation to his case worker to the degree that his age and experience have permitted*

(See Appendix B., p* 81*)

Several questions left unanswered because of the limits of this study pose themselves: 1*

What are both the respective and interrelated roles

of foster parent, natural parent, child, and case worker in the placement process? 2.

What are the social implications of placement in

the child*s assuming certain responsibility for himself?

60

3.

Is use of Reception Care valid placement agency

procedure? This study was an attempt to lift out from the first question and the placement process the part of the child for separate consideration in relation to the case worker during a particular period.

A further exploration of these other

related roles would place this study in its most meaningful context* This second question arises naturally and relatedly out of an application of the principle of self-determination* This study has not elaborated this discussion or its implica­ tions, but it has recognized that though the parents decide on placement, the child himself must live in placement.

What

does self-determination mean In this almost contradictory situation?

The point of view of this study was that the

social case worker in Reception Care, by virtue of his pro­ fessional responsibility, has a contribution to make in help­ ing to resolve this paradoxical situation.

The case workerfs

responsibility is to help the child to place himself.

This

study has shown that the only way that the child can do this is by participating in what is happening to him through ex­ pressing his own feelings and reactions to what ±s_ happening to him.

The case worker, therefore, sustains the child in

his right to make placement something as far as possible his own affair.

61

Although, the purpose of this study was not to make a brief for Reception Care, certain observations do appear which point to pertinent areas for further inquiry.

The inconclusive

nature of this study would indicate that the validity of Reception Care procedure can not be determined without followup studies of long-time care as well as a history of the necessity for replacements in relation to these cases.

Three

other areas appeared in need of exploration during this period as revealed in and affecting this study:

(1)

the importance

of making own parents* part clear early in placement;

(2)

the effect and use of timing in relation both to a discussion with the child of the temporary nature of this placement and to his movement within the Reception Care period;

(3) deter­

mination of well-defined criteria for evaluating a childfs readiness to go on to a long-time home. It was pointed out that the great threat to the placed child was the Hdoing ton quality of the change imposed by his parents and carried out by the agency.

All of these children,

including the baby, used their case workers to express their feelings about what was happening to them and to test their own part in it.

This appeared as the core of the part of

the child in the case work process during the Reception Care period.

The time limited structure and activity of procedures

in this experimental period reenforced with a discussion of

62 how the child felt about them seemed to be helpful in reducing placement to something the child could better understand.

He

appeared better able to express some of his resistance to this outside control in smaller , less important areas without building up a fear or rejection of the whole and to move toward an acceptance of placement as a reality which held both good and bad for him.

With his case worker, he could

at least control the way he would take these changes. Reception Gare seemed, therefore, to offer both a structure that could provoke real feeling— positive and negative— and yet also afforded a transitional structure for helpful interpretation to the child of his own situation. In all of these cases placement was at first for these children an unfavorable reality situation to which the reactions, with­ out professional help, presented themselves as either rejec­ tion or denial.

Although problems of acceptance and of place­

ment remained at the end of the Reception Care period, the fact of the case worker and child beginning to consider re­ placement into long-time care together and of having to get ready for it helped the child face more fully what he was doing and what his real wishes were*

For the child to have

begun in a long-time home would probably not have focused this experience in the same way in relation to his own part in the change.

The temporary nature of this placement in all

of these cases provoked feeling, the importance of which has

63

been shown as the child’s only means of actually.taking part in what was happening to him.

Coming as it did at a time

when they knew more of what they could expect of their own parents and the reasons they were placed as well as having gained some confidence in the agency, they could actually plan with their case worker on the move* Although the decision to place a child rests with his parents, this study has shown that the child himself plays a major and important role in determining both the use and success of his placement.

Every child has his own individual

emotional and mental needs.

Only as case workers have been

able to help the child himself to participate in placement through a relationship in which he is permitted to react in his own way to separation and change within this process, can he be constructively placed*

The case worker has the responsi­

bility, therefore, of helping the child to experience his own part in placement.

Out of this sharing of responsibility,

this study has pointed up that part which belongs to the child and revealed the importance of engaging the child him­ self in any plans made for him.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BIBLIOGRAPHY A.

BOOKS

Allen* Frederick H. , Psycho therapy with Children, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1942, 311 pp. Hollis, Florence, Social Case Work in Practice. New York: Family Welfare Association o F “America, 1939. 313 pp. Robinson, Virginia P., A Changing Psychology In Social Case Work. Chapel Hill: The University of SortK Carolina Fress, 1930. 188 pp. _______ , Supervision in Social Case Work. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1936. 199 pp. Taft, Jessie, editor, The Role of the Baby in the Placement Process. Philadelphia: pennsylvania School of Social Work, 1946. 113 pp. _______ , The Dynamics of Therapy in a Controlled Relationship* New York; The MacmiXlan Company, 1$33. 296 pp. B.

PERIODICAL ARTICLES

Allen, Frederick H * , ”The Dilemma of Growth,” Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 37:859-67, April, 1937. Camp, Sophie, ’’Taking a Foster Child to a Child Guidance Glinic,” The Journal of Social Work Process, 3:101-119, December , ~T$3Wl Downs, Sarah, ”A Four Year Old*s Utilization of Agency Struc­ ture,11 The Journal of Social Work Process, 3:120-153* De cember, 1939. Einstein, Gertrude, ’’The Temporary Foster Home,” Child Welfare League of America Bulletin, 26:1-12, October, 1947. Gennaria, Marian R., ’’Helping the Very Young Child to Partici­ pate in Placement,” The Journal of Social Work Process, 3:29-59, December, 1959. Liggett, Irene, ”Agency and Child in the Placement Process,”

66

The Journal of Social Work Process, 1:54-66, November,

T$Z?7Z Silberpfennig, Judith and Prances E. Thornton, Preparati o n of Children for Placement and Replacement,” The Family, 23:146-154, June, 1942* Taft, Jessie, P o s t e r Home Care for Children,” The Annals of the American Association of Political and Social Science,. 2 l 2 :179-185, November, i940. _______ , ”Living and Peeling,” Child Study, 10:105-109, N ovember, 1933 * Taylor, Mary N. , ”The Temporary Home as an Integral Part of Adoption Procedure,” The Journal of Social Work Process, 1:67-84, November, 1937. Zurflieh, Ruth, ”The Case Work Process in Treatment,” The Family, 21:329-333, February, 1941. C.

PAMPHLETS

Bishop, Julia Ann, ”The Childfs Part in Adoption Placement,” Adoption Practice. New York: Child Welfare League of America, Inc., 1941. Pp. 15-34. Brandzel, Esther S., et. al., An Experimental Use of the Temporary Home. New York: Child Welfare League of America, Inc., 1946. 27 pp. Children's Bureau of Los Angeles, Children1s Bureau of Los Angeles Reports on its Forty-Second Year l947-l9¥8>. Los Angeles, 1948. S~pp* , Children's Bureau of Los Angeles Reports on its Forty^rhird Year 1948-1§¥9. Los Angeles, 1949. 8 pp. _______ , Children in Foster Care.

Los Angeles, 1948.

25 pp.

Gennaria, Marian R., Pain: A Factor in Growth and Development. New York: Child Welfare League of”America, Inc•, 1943• 18 PP* D.

UNPUBLISHED MATERIALS

67

Hansen, Barbara, "Purposes of Reception Care Department•" Memorandum to Mr* Clyde Pritchard, Executive Secretary, Children*s Bureau of Los Angeles, October, 1949* Hicholson, Marian B * , "A Study of Case Work Practices at Rosemary Cottage*" Unpublished paper read before the Child Welfare Division of the Welfare Council of Metro­ politan Los Angeles, August 10, 1948* 17 pp*

APPENDIX

APPENDIX A PROCESS SUMMARY OP CASE III, GEORGE CORNELL Identifying Information: U* S * $ Negro, Protestant Father: John Cornell; age 27 Mother: Anna Cornell; age 27 ■a-Child: George Cornell; (Wright); born 4-11-43 Reoeptlon Home: U. S . , Negro, Protestant Poster father: Edwin Monroe; age 36 Poster mother: Mary Monroe; age 35 Daughter: Marian; age 14 Placed baby: Russell; age 1 Summary of Child*s Record: (See summary statement in text p. 25*) 9-16-49:

This was George*s first play room meeting

with his case worker to talk about the new home*

Throughout

the interview the case worker noted George*s adult serious­ ness.

The boy already knew that he could not stay home be­

cause his mother worked.

At the beginning of the interview,

George had told his case worker that he wanted to stay with his mother, but that he knew it was necessary for him to leave* (1)

George next turned his attention to a baby doll that was on the shelf. He remarked that the baby was going to the toilet. Out of a number of dolls In sight, he had picked up the one which was shown in the position of going to the toilet* I had told George earlier— when he had asked some questions about the foster home— that there was a little baby there [an agency placement]] . On picking up the doll he said, *1 want a baby sister.* I explained to

70 him that the baby in the foster home was a baby boy. George then spent some time writing his name on paper using block letters to spell it out. When he had fin­ ished this* he went over to the doll house* took the doll with him* and sat it on the toilet. He said* ’Now he is going to the toilet.* Soon after that George gave the baby a bath. During the time that George painted* his case worker noted that he was extremely careful with the paint* water* and brushes.

He spilled a little water on bringing it in before

painting and showed a guilt reaction for doing so. He showed a great deal of interest in the playroom toy double-barreled shot-gun: (2)

George’s last activity consisted of some more gun play. He picked up the gun and wondered if it would be all right to shoot his mother. I suggested that he could do this right where he was standing and would not need to leave the playroom for the purpose. This was not a very satis­ factory substitute for him* however* and he soon asked if he could shoot his mother and father* and he pointed to the door as he said it* ’out there.’ I gave my OK; he stuck the gun through an open door and shot each of them* I told him that I knew how he must feel on being brought here to talk about going to a new home. Somehow he seemed more relaxed after having shot at his mother and father. After this George settled down to talk with his case

worker about the pending trip to the doctor for his pre-place­ ment examination.

He was quite interested in seeing the car

in which he would be going the next week. tated about the doctor.

At first he hesi­

He said that he had been once.

The

case worker explained why it was necessary to go, and the appointment was set. 9-25-49:

The case worker took George to the doctor.

71 He talked with his ease worker chiefly about the toys and clothes he wanted to take to his foster home*

With the doctor,

he was cooperative and not fearful of the examination. 9-30-49: home*

George was placed this day in his reception

He showed no overt feeling on leaving his mother at

the office.

He merely asked her for a quarter and some gum

upon departing.

He wanted to leave right away, however, and

participated in putting his bike into the case workerfs car. (3)

The first thing George had said to me when I came into the waiting room was that his father did not let him have his electric train. When we were on our way in the car, George said that his father kept his mother awake all night and that his mother had cried. He said that this morning his mother cried again because his father refused to get up and bring George in to the agency. George related all of this in a very matter-of-fact way, but he mumbled his words so that it was extremely diffi­ cult to understand him as we drove along. I noticed that George had called ’goodbye* to his father as we came out of the building to get into my car. The father remained in his car and hardly turned his head on hearing George’s call. George could not say that he was mad at anybody over this situation. When I commented on the fact that it must be kind of hard for him to think of living with someone else besides his mother, he indicated that he was all prepared for this. He knew that his mother would be visiting him; and when I asked him if he remembered how long it would be before she would be able to visit, he told me and then added, ’I am the one who told my mamma, t o o . ’ He then went on to say that he had told his teacher about the move, his Sunday School teacher, and all of his friends around the neighborhood. George wondered how long he would be at his foster

home and talked of returning later with his mother.

The case

worker made clear that it would be at least until after Christmas and a long time.

The case worker added that he

probably would not even return then but go on to a long-time

72

home.

Later he engaged in discussion with his case worker

about a pool table his mother said that she would bring him for Christmas.

Finally he decided for himself that it was

the foster parents who were going to give him the pool table. At the new home, he looked around for about fifteen minutes to explore the place and then decided that he wanted to bring his things in. 10-4-49:

The case worker learned by phone from the

foster mother that George was settling down and getting along with the foster family.

He thought Marian, the adolescent

girl of the family, very pretty.

He spent a great deal of

time with the baby and reported regularly -to1 the foster mother when the baby needed changing or other services.

One day the

foster mother found him attempting to change the baby himself when the foster mother was busy with something else. 10-7-49: grounds.

The case worker met George on the school

When George came out on the school grounds with his

teacher, he looked troubled and was not at all friendly with his case worker.

When his case worker spoke to him, George

acted as though he were a stranger.

George had been unruly,

and this was one of several times he had been kept after school for annoying the other children during the rest period. (4)

After George and I had ridden along for a while, I mentioned the fact that his teacher had said that he is not happy at school. George agreed that he did not like school. When I asked him if this meant that he didn ft like the whole idea of being away from his mother and

73

father, lie separated this out and said that he does like the foster family, but he doesnft like this school because the people are so noisy. After we had talked a little while about the fact that he had been kept after school, he added, ’People fight me and I fight them back and the teacher gets m a d . ’ I told him that I knew he must feel like he needs to fight. I referred again to what had happened to him and gave him another opportunity to ex­ press his feeling about his separation. He said again that he did n ’t mind living at the Monroe home, but he added that he got the same old sandwiches every day in his school lunch. I told him again that I knew it must be hard to have things so different from what they were before. He also said that he liked his previous school, but he d i d n ’t like this one. The case worker accepted his description of the school. Later they arranged about the mother’s first visit.

When

George asked about this he said, MWhat day is she going to come and get me?”

He quickly corrected himself, however, and

repeated, 111 mean see me.,! 10-25-49:

On visit to the foster home, the case worker

learned that George was continuing to get along well in the foster home and improving in school.

In the neighborhood,

however, he goes into homes uninvited and has been waking up the younger children of the neighborhood from their naps. This day he talked with his case worker in the back yard of the reception home.

He was quite nervous and evasive during

the first part of the visit: (5)

George had been playing with the Monroe’s new puppy dog when I came out of the house from talking with the foster mother, and he continued to keep his entire atten­ tion on- the task of tying the dog up and doing other things aimed at controlling the d o g ’s movements. At one point he just left me there in the back yard, while he ran out to the front of the house where Mrs. Monroe was

74 talking to a neighbor. He informed her that the dog was tearing his worker’s clothes. When George came back I noticed that he hastily pulled two pieces of gum out of his pocket and put them into his mouth. He had a rather guilty look on his face as he did this. He explained, in an almost inaudible tone, that he had found the gum in the glove compartment of my car. He calmed down consider­ ably on learning that I was not mad at him for doing this. On the contrary, I had told him that I had put the gum there especially for boys like him* I added that I was glad he had told me about it though, so I could get some more to replace it. During a ride, then George mentioned his father who had stayed in the car during his mother’s visit.

George

wondered why he did not come in. (6)

X began explaining why George’s father would not be coming to see him for a while. George interrupted me and said that he had seen his father on the day his mother came. He explained that he had been out riding his bike, when his father saw him and came over from where his car was parked to talk with George while he was waiting for the mother. George then wanted to know why his father h a d n ’t come into the house to see him as his mother did. I explained that Mr. Cornell had not yet been in to talk with Miss Stevens [parent worker] about any plans for visiting George, and that until he did do this he could not make the kind of visits that his mother made. I told George that I would be glad to tell Miss Stevens that George had asked about his father and wanted to see him. I added, however, that whether or not George sees his father will depend upon his work and his coming in to see Miss Stevens. The case worker and George on this visit also discussed

briefly the fact that this was George’s first home.

George’s

weekly allowance was considered, and he complained to his case worker that he did not like the fact that his foster mother specifies what he will buy with the money. 11-9-49:

The case worker delivered the electric train

75 to the foster mother. and arranged for.

Need of shoes for George was discussed

George was beginning to say that he wanted

to stay in the Monroe foster home and was having difficulty about accepting the temporary nature of reception care. had hurt the puppy since the case worker’s last visit.

He George

had objected to the foster mother herself about dictating the use of his allowance.

The case worker discussed this with

the foster mother, relating George’s reaction to his having been pushed out almost by his parents, and a new allowance plan with more freedom for George was agreed upon. 12-14-49 to 12-50-49:

On these two visits the case

worker learned that George had hurt a cat badly by hitting it with a board.

The cat was killed by a car soon afterwards.

The case worker helped George to bury the cat on his next visit.

A half day at home had been arranged for George at

Christmas.

He had enjoyed this return, received many gifts

from relatives, and this seemed to give him a kind of re­ assurance.

Although he got the miniature pool table, skates,

a grey hound bus with lights, and others, the gift he most prized was a little 20^ plastic television viewer from his case worker. 1-9-50:

George told his case worker that he wanted to

stay where he was.

He liked the new allowance situation

better. 1-16-50:

The case worker took George for his checkup

76 with the agency pediatrician: (7)

On the way home George complained of pain in his penis. I assured him of the fact that pain would follow what Dr. Silver did in forcing the foreskin back. CThis was the condition the doctor was checking. Circumcision may be recommended^} This got us into something of a discus­ sion on sexual organs. George asked a good many questions about what the doctor had done and why, and he speculated as to whether the doctor would do this to girls, too. After I had made some explanation, he commented that the doctor shouldn*t do it to girls because theirs are dif­ ferent. George seemed to need to go into some detail about how the doctor would examine the girl in this way. I gave him the feeling that he had a right to speculate in this way and to know something about these things. We went on until he seemed satisfied.

(8)

Arrangements had been made now for thefather to visit.

The case worker discussed this with George.

Out of this it

became clear that George was pretty confused about his family background.

He did not quite understand that

Mr. Cornell was

his step-father and was irritated with his mother changes that had occurred in his name. ferred to as Wright at school. Cornell at school.

over the

Sometimes he is re­

He wanted this changed to

He said that he knew he was Wright first

and that his mother changed it to Cornell.

He added, however,

that Mr. Cornell had always been his father and that he has never had any other.

He did not know, why his mother had ever

been called Wright, as there was never any change in fathers. He said at one point that Mr. Cornell was his father and Mr. Cornell1s father his step-father.

The case worker would dis­

cuss this with the mother and the school. happy and cheerful this visit.

George was more

He was also getting much

77 closer to the foster mother.

Upon returning from the doctor,

he asked to hold the baby and was very loving and warm play­ ing with him.

The case worker arranged for the mother to talk

with George about family background on her next visit. 2-7-50:

Case worker took George to the agency play­

room for an interview.

Among other things a second home was

discussed: (9)

I told George today about the fact that he will soon be going to his new foster home. He was quite direct in registering his disappointment, facing the meaning of the change, rather than evading it as he had at other times. At first he said that he didn*t want to go, and when I accepted his feeling in this, he wanted to know if I would be the one who would be taking him to his new home. It was at this point that I mentioned Miss Joyce Q.ongtime worker] to George and said that we might see her for a few minutes today. I told George just how it would be when the change came: that I would bring him here just like today, and Miss Joyce would then go with him to his new home. George then wanted to know if Miss Joyce would come to his school as I did and would visit him in his long-time home. I told him that I thought she would and that he could talk about this to her sometime. He seemed to show some pleasure In the prospect of having a woman worker. Later there was a brief introduction to Miss Joyce.

George was rather reticent and occupied himself with toys. They spent a short time together, and he said that he would tell his foster mother about the move. 2-15-50: (10)

Visit at foster home.

During our time I asked George how he had liked the visit with his step-father last week. I used the term deliberately but casually, and he immediately reacted by saying, ! H e fs not my step-father. 1 I had learned a few days before that George had used the term, step­ father, in talking of Mr. Cornell to his foster mother

78 and reminded him of this. George then said, *1 know he i s n ’t my real father, but he is my play father** He then went on to say that he had told Mrs* Monroe this and acted as if he was quite satisfied now with this situation* 2-17-50:

Case worker learned that George’s attitude

was more positive, and he was doing better in school*

He did

not behave well in groups and was still a disturbance.

Some­

times he would scream in class for no apparent reason except to get attention*

He was promoted to grade 1A, although his

academic achievement was below that of his class* 2-25-50;

With his case worker at the agency playroom

this day, George was able to say about his improvement at school, ”1 have been a little good.” commented on his progress.

The case worker had

He rather resisted the playroom,

said that he did n ’t want to go to a new home, and put the reason as missing his teacher at school.

He saw Miss Joyce

again and was more accepting of her this time.

He told his

case worker that he had forgotten her name, remembered it in the middle of the night, and then forgot it again* (11)

Returning with his reception case worker, George was

very warm and demonstrative wondering if he would visit in the new home and spoke of missing him. emotion.

He held back his

The case worker supported him in this and made

clear, too, how much he liked George.

Upon reaching the

foster home, George voluntarily told Mrs. Monroe that he was going to his new home soon.

George seemed to show a

79 beginning recognition of separation from this case worker by not coining out to the car with him as he left on this day. 2-27-50:

The foster mother said that George had been

quite glum the last week* not much appetite* and kept repeat­ ing that he did not want to go away. 2-28-50:

George had his final visit with his long­

time foster care case worker# his regular home.

Miss Joyce* preparing him for

He resisted going to the playroom and said

that he was worried over the move* talked of running away when he got to his long-time home.

Returning with his recep­

tion case worker* he was very testing* demanding candy* play­ ing with the car heater* unresponsive to conversation* and cried a little.

His teacher had reported that he had been

overactive at school the past two days and had stirred up the class. 5-2-50: go.

On the day of his move* George was ready to

He participated in loading the car, gave his reception

mother a warm hug and kiss before leaving, but there were no tears.

A brief visit was arranged for his own mother and

step-father at the agency so that he could see they shared in this long-time decision.

He had his ending with his Reception

Care case worker at lunch together before coming to the agency. Upon parting at the agency and going over to his new case worker, George looked away while saying ffgoodbye.ff

He was

then alert and talkative* and was on his way into long-time

80 foster care*

APPENDIX B CHART ON CONCLUSIONS The part of the child in the case work process during the Reception Care period as revealed in this study may be diagrammed as follows: THE

Use of Self (Doer) feelings thoughts (discussion* questions* answers) actions (behavior)

1*

personal component (case worker to child): relationship individualization acceptance self-determination

) ) ) )

Method (knowledge, principles* skills: way the service is given)

THE

nI ' Use Agency (Means) functional component (reality of placement service offered)

I

) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

Time limited structure (procedure for the service)

(Continued on next page)

PERIOD

.

playroom doctor actual move reception home visiting clothing continued medical care replacement

CARE

a. b. c• d. e. f «• h.

RECEPTION

2*

DURING

a. b. c. d*

PROCESS

Use of Case Worker (Helper)

CASE WORK

a, b„ c.

The Part of the Child

5.

THE

d.

10*

^

STUDY

use this entire experience in order to achieve some degree of adjustment and reorganization of forces within himself to experience change and to participate in the decision to move into a long-time home so that this is his own under­ taking to the extent that his age and experience have permitted*

)

BY THE

Purpose (achieve placement)

AS REVEALED

c.

differentiation (awareness of change and a separate self with individual strengths and capacities); responsibility (emerging feeling that defines his attitude and use of self in relation to others and his own situation); synthesis (coming to terms with and using the reception experience for himself in a realityi relation to the whole configuration of the placement process); movement (direction the process takes toward ] his accepting or not accepting long-time care)

PROCESS

b.

PROM

varying degrees of: a.

ABSTRACTED

6• 7* 8* 9*

CHILD

4.

OP THE

3.

PART

2.

make transition from parent to case worker with understanding# to degree possible# that the par­ ent made the decision and that the child will live in separation; take on a new kind of relationship with his case worker as a helping person through this change and experience; participate in agency procedure and the routine of placement; use his case worker through relationship to ex­ press his own part in how he feels# thinks, and acts concerning the entire placement process; discover that his own feelings# thoughts# and actions are important and that he can use them for himself in coming to terms with his own needs and situation; widen his experience; find constructive things In his placement; gain some confidence in the agency; come to understand what it means to live in place­ ment and with an agency to achieve the purpose of this placement; ^ Effect

THE