Case Study 9 was referred to Youth Unity by Family Solutions due to her prolonged absence from formal education, spanning over a year. The referral was prompted by concerns regarding Case Study 9’s diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), coupled with underlying emotional and behavioral challenges. Additionally, Case Study 9’s recent diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and past history of substance misuse underscored the complexities of her situation.
Case Study 9 and her older sister, CS9 entered the care system at ages 3 and 4, respectively, owing to parental substance misuse. Initially fostered, they later transitioned under the guardianship of family members following a legal process culminating in a Special Guardianship Order (SGO). Notably, a younger brother is also under care, albeit by a separate foster family, while two older siblings stem from their mother’s previous relationship.
Case Study 9: Initial contact was established with Case Study 9 and her family in early November. Accompanied by a colleague who facilitated the introduction, I commenced building a constructive rapport with Case Study 9. I initiated our engagement by elucidating the scope of our mentorship and youth work relationship, seeking clarity on her expectations. Case Study 9 articulated her desire for candid communication, the opportunity to discuss her concerns, and the inclusion of enjoyable activities within our interaction. Subsequently, I meticulously outlined the protocols governing safeguarding and confidentiality, ensuring her comprehensive understanding. Furthermore, I assured Case Study 9 that any necessary disclosures to the safeguarding lead would occur transparently, in accordance with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In pursuit of understanding Case Study 9’s circumstances, I prompted her to share insights into her current situation and personal background. This dialogue facilitated a nuanced comprehension of her needs, enabling tailored support strategies. Notably, Case Study 9 disclosed recent diagnoses of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which profoundly impacted her emotional state. Expressing feelings of anger, hurt, and fear, she expressed concerns regarding the perceived limitations imposed by these diagnoses.
During interactions with Case Study 9’s guardians, who graciously welcomed our engagement, I gleaned invaluable contextual information. Conversations revealed the challenging circumstances precipitating Case Study 9’s placement under their care. Notably, the guardians articulated the adverse effects of the recent diagnoses on Case Study 9’s well-being and familial dynamics. Demonstrating unwavering dedication, the guardians actively participate in meetings concerning Case Study 9, alongside other family members. Their commitment reflects a profound sense of responsibility and love, underscoring the demanding nature of their caregiving role.
During our weekly meetings, held either at her residence, in a café, or during beach walks, Case Study 9 (CS9) expressed interest in art, prompting her attendance at local art classes. Despite missing formal education for over a year due to past bullying and attacks, CS9 aspires to return to mainstream schooling, with a particular goal of attending her school prom. Moreover, she harbors ambitions of pursuing a career in fashion design, necessitating a reintegration into mainstream education to undertake her GCSEs.
CS9’s familial background reveals a history of substance misuse, leading to her and her older sister’s placement in foster care before being granted a Special Guardianship Order under their guardians’ care. Despite familial support, CS9’s journey is marked by challenges, including her recent diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which exacerbates her impulsivity and susceptibility to substance misuse.
Furthermore, CS9 grapples with complex emotional issues, including rejection sensitivity dysphoria, a symptom of ADHD, and recent suicidal ideation, requiring constant monitoring and support from her guardians. As CS9 navigates through therapy and educational support, it’s imperative to maintain open communication, uphold safeguarding protocols, and foster a sense of hope and resilience.
Moving forward, the focus remains on providing a safe and nurturing environment for CS9’s growth, emphasising the importance of self-esteem building, managing impulsive behaviours, and fostering healthy relationships. Additionally, acknowledging the need for levity and diversion from CS9’s challenges, a person-centered approach ensures her autonomy in steering conversations while addressing underlying familial tensions and rivalries constructively.
In summary, the journey with CS9 underscores the delicate balance between addressing immediate concerns and nurturing long-term aspirations. With unwavering dedication and a commitment to holistic support, the aim is to guide CS9 towards a future marked by resilience, self-discovery, and fulfillment.