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Working With Diverse Populations

Working With Diverse Populations


Read the following scenario about an Arab American family and their various challenges upon arrival in the United States:

            A recently resettled refugee family from Afganistan has several challenges that need to be addressed by their caseworker upon arrival in the United States. First, the father and traditional primary breadwinner for the family was an orthopedic surgeon at home, but he has been imprisoned for several years because of his support for an opposing political party. Because of language barriers and educational requirements, he is unable to practice his previous job in the United States, and is showing resistance to his new job as a factory worker at a plant that manufactures lamps. Upon intake, psychologists have also pointed out that he appears to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to his prior imprisonment experience.

            Meanwhile, the oldest child in the family is a wheelchair user and, at seven years of age, has never attended school because of physical barriers to access despite no apparent mental disabilities. Finally, the mother of three young children has never worked, speaks no English, and has received only an eighth-grade education. She is expressing some reticence to her job placement at a mixed-gender bakery due to her cultural and religious beliefs that women and men should not work side by side, and that she should be at home to watch her two youngest children, who are not yet old enough to attend school.

  1. Consider what the role of assimilation and acculturation might play in this family’s case.
  2. Which (if any) of the family’s challenges should be addressed first, and how might this affect the prescribed case management goals? For example, should the parents’ economic self-sufficiency and employment be addressed first, prior to any psychological treatment or efforts toward language learning and cultural assimilation?

3a. Consider how to involve the family in the case management process. Which challenges presented by this Arab American family are best addressed holistically as a family, and which might be better left to just the individual caseworker and client?

3b. Do the benefits of family support and mutual understanding override the need for client confidentiality? How can both of these issues be successfully addressed in the case management approach for this family?

4. How can a caseworker establish important goals and interventions for this family within the clients’ cultural context?

textbook (ch 5, pg 153):  Generalist Case Management, 5e ( 

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