The Robinson family consists of two parents and four children ranging in age from 9 months to eight years old. They are a middle-income African American family living in a large urban city. The two youngest children, two-year-old Jack, and 9-month-old Jill are enrolled at ABC Child Care Center. The two older children are in elementary school.
Due to marital problems, Mrs. and Mr. Robinson recently separated. Mrs. Robinson and the children moved into a small apartment close to her former home so that the children can remain enrolled at their schools. Mr. Robinson loves his children and is determined to continue to be a part of their lives. The stress of his marital problems affected his ability to focus on his job, and he was terminated due to low job performance. He found another job, but the salary is much lower than his previous job. He is considering going into business for himself to increase his income. The research of starting a business consumes a lot of his time.
Mrs. Robinson has increased her work hours to increase her salary to support her children. That means she must consider afterschool care for the two older children. She considers asking Mr. Robinson to keep them after school instead, but he does not return her calls. She does not want to remove the youngest children from childcare but is considering looking for a less expensive childcare center. She notices that Jack is asking for daddy but does not know how to explain the situation to him. Jill cries more than normal for no apparent reason.
Jack’s caregiver at ABC Child Care Center is aware of the parents’ separation. She notices that Jack’s behavior is more aggressive than usual and wants to talk with both parents but cannot get them to commit to a convenient time to meet. She is aware that Mrs. Robinson is very busy and notices that on the days that tuition is due Mrs. Robinson avoids eye contact with staff as she drops off her children because she is behind in tuition payments.
Upon learning that the parents have separated, the center director suggested the name of a family counselor in the community, should they want to explore counseling. She is unsure if the parents will consider counseling.
Meanwhile, in elementary school the oldest daughter Jan is flourishing in first grade. Her teacher is thrilled that Jan is excited about school and reading. Jerrys teacher notices that he often complains of feeling sick and lately his activity level is not as high as it used to be.
Both parents think that they want to reunite for the children’s sake but blame each other for the marital problems that led to the separation. Communication is strained and they argue every time they speak. They both believe that family counseling is needed to resolve their issues, but neither of them will commit to scheduling the first appointment.
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