Social Services and Child Welfare Term Paper

Pages: 30 (7714 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 19  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Naturally, the baby was removed from the home but this was not enough to save Lisa. As unfortunate as this incident was, it is not as uncommon as many people would like to believe. There are many children in this country and even in the state of New Jersey that suffer greatly at the hands of parents and adoptive parents, as well as other caregivers. Not that many of them die, or they would make the news more often, but there is still enough pain and suffering that none of these young children should have to go through.

This is very tragic for these individuals to have to deal with this kind of pain and it is not just something that they feel when they are young. It follows them throughout their lives and can cause them problems when they are much older. Lisa Steinberg did not survive her abuse, but had she lived it is quite likely that emotional and developmental problems would have followed her all her life because of the anguish that she suffered. The review of the literature further on in this paper will help to reinforce this observation.

The Case of Faheem Williams

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Most recently publicized is the macabre incident in Newark, New Jersey, involving Faheem Williams. Williams was a young boy of seven whose mummified body was discovered by police in the home where he lived and was abuse and tortured to death. Faheem's story ended in much the same way as young Lisa's did, who was one year his senior, but as in Lisa's situation there were other children in the home who somehow survived the abuse. Faheem left two brothers and Lisa left an adopted sibling she knew all too briefly. However, just as Lisa's abuse had been recorded by child welfare services, as was Faheem's, the stories are of particular relevance in evaluating needed changes to social work services.

Term Paper on Social Services and Child Welfare Assignment

These professionals whose watchful eyes are blinded by excessive caseloads in ever-increasing numbers have led haplessly to these incidents which bring great scrutiny to the reality of an increasingly desperate situation. Lisa Steinberg and Faheem Williams went grossly unattended and the severity of abuse, while incomprehensible to those of us made painfully and shockingly aware of their torture, went unreported, but worse, unnoticed by those professionals assigned to investigate allegations of the abuse.

Faheem's natural mother had to serve a jail sentence and she asked her cousin, Sherry Murphy, to take care of her children while she was gone (Send, 2004). During the time that the cousin was taking care of the three children, Faheem was badly starved and punched in the stomach while he was wrestling with another boy (Send, 2004). Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and therefore they wrapped his remains in garbage bags and hid him in a closet (Send, 2004). The two other children they placed in the basement behind a locked door and they were only found by Sherry Murphy's boyfriend at a later date when he was looking for something else (Send, 2004). The two other children, then four and seven, were badly starved but still alive and they did physically recover from the incident (Send, 2004).

The boy told others that he had another brother named Faheem that he had not seen for quite some time (Send, 2004). This begin the investigation that eventually led to the discovery of Faheem's remains. Sherry Murphy, the caregiver, pleaded innocent to charges of homicide (Send, 2004). Even though Faheem's mother was in jail on a charge of child endangerment, she was not the one who had killed her son and Sherry Murphy was eventually found to be the one at fault (Send, 2004). When Faheem's mother had gotten out of jail the other individuals had moved and she was not able to even locate her children, or this abuse and death could have possibly been prevented.

Tragically, this occurred in 2003, and the child abuse investigations of this particular family had been ongoing since 1992. However, no one had felt the need to remove these children from the home or had not realized the severity of the abuse that was taking place there, and this was a partial reason for Faheem Williams's death. This is painful for many that work in this area of children's services, because they feel that there was more that they could have done, and the surrounding community also held this opinion.

Statement of the Problem

The specific problem statement/research question for this paper is as follows: how can community services ease the case overload of child welfare services to meet the stability needs of children in Jersey City, New Jersey, who suffer abuse and neglect in the home. Jersey City, New Jersey, has an increasing problem of child neglect, as well as physical and emotional abuse in the residence. These problems are snowballing out of control, resulting in child mortality and emotional/developmental trauma which is causal to violent criminal activity and substance abuse in adolescent years as children act out in ways that are destructive to themselves and others due to an inability to cope and an absence of self-esteem.

What this paper will analyze is how community service organizations in Jersey City, New Jersey can bridge the gaps in child welfare services which leave children in abusive or neglectful circumstances either due to system overload or an inability to discern certain behavioral identifiers such as lack of interest in school, and depression. These are only two of the many symptoms that, if identified early, can give researchers and others the ability to intervene and supply and guidance, reassurance, and stability to a child's life. Such interventions can also possibly prevent more eminent problems in the future such as criminal activity in these children as adolescents and in adulthood that lead to incarceration, substance abuse, drug-related arrests, disproportionate rates of teenage pregnancy in African-American and Latino-American girls, and the continued cycle of abuse and neglect that will inevitably be reenacted on the next generation of children.

It is crucial that the problems that these individuals are faced with when they are abused as children are addressed early. Not only so that cases like Lisa Steinberg and Faheem Williams are avoided, but also so that the abuse and neglect does not continue to another generation. This is, of course, a generalization. Not all individuals that are abused as children abuse their children when they get older. The same is true of those who are treated well as children, as they sometimes do abuse their children when they get older and become parents themselves. However, abuse and neglect generally follow a pattern and those that are abused as children were more likely to abuse their children as well when they become parents.

This is unfortunate and painful for many of these children and also for the parents because they know what they are doing is wrong but are not aware of how to stop it. These individuals need help, and this is another role that social services and community organizations can play. However, the main focus here is on getting children that are abused and neglected out of their homes and into care where they will be treated well and learn what it is to treat others well at the same time. These children can then hopefully avoid many of the problems that they would otherwise face in adolescence and adulthood such as substance abuse, prostitution, violence, jail time, and many other painful issues that are concerns for those that want to help these children.

However, it is becoming clear that social services or child welfare services cannot do this alone. It is not that these individuals are not trying, and it is not a lack of compassion on the part of those that work for any type of child welfare services in New Jersey. Instead, it is simply an overwhelming load of cases that is so excessive that the workers cannot always keep up with what it is they should be doing. New Jersey is not the only place that has this problem.

Not that long ago, there was a case in Florida of a girl named Rilya Wilson. She had been missing for some time before workers for the department of children and families in that state realized that she was gone and so far she has never been found. The odds of her being found alive get smaller and smaller every day and there were large shakeups at the department of children and families when this took place because many of the workers were blamed. It turned out that the worker that was supposed to be checking on the family quite frequently had not checked on them in months and the worker was fired, as well as her immediate supervisor.

However, despite the fact that it was clearly wrong for the worker not to do… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Social Services and Child Welfare" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Social Services and Child Welfare.  (2004, December 2).  Retrieved December 4, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Social Services and Child Welfare."  2 December 2004.  Web.  4 December 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Social Services and Child Welfare."  December 2, 2004.  Accessed December 4, 2020.