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MSWPG 7107 Electricity Payments

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Describe the The local council’s emergency relief worker phoned to refer a family that she is concerned about. She told me Tom Banks has given his permission to speak with me because he is looking for help. The council worker told me Tom has come in for the second week in a row asking for food vouchers and assistance with gas and electricity payments. The worker has helped, but has made this conditional on Tom agreeing to get some additional help for his family issues. 
The worker’s action of constant coming around and instructing him what to do. He also seemed to have inappropriate gestures  and this is evident from the fact that when the social worker visited him, he did not welcomed him with a smiling gesture. His tone of speech constantly gave the idea that he was irritated by the Council’s response and added that he was not doing something wrong by asking for help.


The referral information was given by the local council’s emergency relief worker and the generalist social worker was supposed to speak with him.

The main reason for referral was that Tom  Banks was looking for food vouchers and assistance with gas and electricity payments and local emergency relief worker’s wanted to review whether Tom was in need of such help or not. This was also important as they cannot go on giving him money and vouchers against the systematic process. 

Sources of information (All people who provided information for the assessment, whether the information was obtained face-to-face, by telephone, or through written form, dates on which the information was obtained, whether others were present at the time)

The following people gave information related to the assessment:

Local council’s emergency relief worker: Information related to the assessment was provided by the local council’s emergency relief worker by telephone. The worker provided the information that Tom came back for the second time to get assistance with gas and electricity payments.

Primary school principal: The principal gave information about Tom on 31/10 at 9:30 am

A woman at the supermarket:  A women at the supermarket also gave some detail on Toms on 31/10 at 5:30

Doctor Jones: Doctor Jones gave some important detail on 7/11

Minister: On visit to the Allan Parson on 8/11, the minister gave detail about Tom’s family 

Presentation During Assessment (Orientation to person/place/time, mood, affect (eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, rate of speech, and gestures and whether affect is broad, restricted, blunted, flat, labile or inappropriate, engagement)

Tom’s presentation during assessment:

While interacting with client during the telephone assessment, Tom’s tone of voice gave the information that he was very irritated by the call. He was not in good state of mind after receiving the call and his expressions suggested that he was not happy with the council’s action taken so far.

worker’s action of constant coming around and instructing him what to do. He gesture was also not adequate and this is evident from the fact that when the social worker visited him, he did not welcome him with a smile or good welcome note. His tone of speech constantly gave the idea that he was irritated by the Council’s response and added that he was not doing something wrong by asking for help.

During the assessment, Tom gave details on his family problems and explained rationale for putting his family first instead of his work. His daughter Christie’s diagnosis of Down’s syndrome was the main reason for Tom to leave his job and give priority to his family. He was well-oriented to place and time. However, his speech patterns changed when the social worker asked if he could speak to the GP for his wife’s depression. He wanted help only for himself and no interference from others. When asked for contacting the school for help, Tom was reluctant. The review of gestures and speech pattern of Tom suggest that he is irritated, annoyed as well as worried about the well being of his family.

Jenny’s presentation during the assessment:

In contrast to Tom, Jenny’s rate of speech was very slow. In addition, Jenny’s response clearly revealed that she was in a very depressed mood after learning about Christie’s diagnosis. Her explanation revealed that due to her child’s health issues, she has lost her independent and she cannot do all those things that she wanted to do in life. She gave appropriate response to questions and she did not raise her voice or express anger to the social worker. Overall, she was a supportive client and agreed to sign a release of information form too to discuss the situation with the doctor and the minister.

Personal Information (Age, ethnicity, religious/spiritual beliefs, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, relationship status, dependents, pets, living situation, housing/security of housing, risks to safety)

Age: Tom is 36 years old and his wife is 35 years old. They both have three children namely Sarah (9 years old), Terry (6 years old) and Christie (8 months old).

Ethnicity: There is no details related to ethnicity of the Banks Family

Religious/spiritual beliefs: Tom is not very religious. However, Tom’s wife Jenny is very religious and she used to visit the church a lot. Her faith was very important to her and she was very activity in the church community. But after Christie’s illness she stopped going to the church as did not believed that God could do this to her family.

Gender identity: Jane and Tom’s gender identity is normal like other person

Relationship status: Tom is married

Dependents: The Banks family have three children and they do not have any other dependents like parents of either Tom or Jenny

Pet: The Banks family do not have any pets

Living situation: The Banks family were leading a good quality of life before their daughter’s Christie’s diagnosis. This is understood from Tom and Jenny’s interview with the relief worker. Before marriage, Jenny was working in the office at the Council and Tom got a job with the outdoor team. Jenny was involved with her church too and Tom had good relationship with his in-laws then. However, after Christie’s diagnosis of Down’s syndrome, the couple began to face psychosocial issue. Jenny failed to cope with Christie’s disability and this is understood from the fact that she could take care of her children as she was required to do.

She increased the burden for Tom as she  remained in bed for long time and Sarah had to get ready for school herself. Jenny’s  irresponsibility affected the normal growth, education and well-being of all the three children. The couple also received no support from Jenny’s parent as Tom did not trusted them and he had a big fight with Jenny’s parents. He never allowed Jenny’s family member to come along and Jenny could meet them outside only. Their living situation deteriorated after Tom left the job and was struggling to meet his daily life expense.

Security of house: As Tom and Jenny lives alone, they had no other member to take care of the house and their children when they were away. The family members are not there to help because Tom does not trust anyone and his friend lives far away. Tom has expressed that his and Jenny’s family are very different and he not had good relationship with his in-laws. In everyday life, social support is essential both for the well-being of client as well as for the family members. However, Jenny and her children experienced poor health and psychological issues because of no support from their family members.

Risk to safety: Risk to safety for Jenny’s children is high because she wakes up late and not attentive towards learning needs of her children. Jenny is also vulnerable to risk and this is evident from her depressive symptoms and avoidance of daily life activities like caring for her children and looking after their needs. She spent lot of time in bed.

Family History (Family composition and relationships with biological, foster, adoptive, and/or chosen family. Significant life events, attachments, births, deaths, separations, divorce, geographic moves, family history of abuse, health issues, addiction. Consider use of genogram.)

Family composition: Banks Family comprises Tom Banks and Jenny Banks and her three children. Tom Banks’s parents and other family members live in Albury which is too distant and they do not visit. In contrast,  Jenny’s family live in the same place. Tom also has two elder brothers who live in different parts of NSW.   

Significant life events: Christie’s disability and Jenny’s inability to deal with the new that Christie has Down syndrome are some significant life events for the Banks family

Attachments: Both Tom and Jenny has extended family members. However, there is no attachment with the family members. Tom’s brother lives in different parts of NSW and they do not have regular contact with Tom.  Tom talks with his parents only once a month and he does not visit their parents on any occasion.  There is not attachment with Jenny’s family to as Tom has stopped them from coming in his house as he can tolerate their criticism.

Geographic moves: Both the couples Tom and Jenny have shifted from their geographic locations since their marriage. Tom lived with his parent at Albury and he moved to other town in 2004. Tom met Jenny and married her and stayed  back at the town.

Health issues: Based on review of the case scenario, health issues has been experienced by Tom’s wife Jenny and her Daughter Christie. Tom’s daughter Christie has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. His wife experience short episodes of depression and bad mood.

Divorce: No incidence of divorce found

Family history of abuse: There is no family history of abuse.

Addiction: Neither Tom nor Jenny has any addictions 

Education and Employment (Schools attended, level of engagement with schooling, relationships with teachers and peers, academic ability, level of education attained. Employment history, length of employment, relationships with employers and colleagues, current source of income, whether income meets all current needs)

The employment history of the Tom and Jenny reveals that Jenny used to work in the Office at the Council and Tom used to work with the outdoor team. Jenny left her job after the birth of Sarah. Tom left his job two months ago after her daughter’s illness. After knowing about his daughter’s diagnosis, he was also very worried and isolated himself from his workmates. After that, he resigned too. 

Recreational (Hobbies, interests, recreational activities)

Jenny used to visit the church, get involved with the canteen and participate in the parent’s reading program. She also took interest in pokies earlier however she left all these after the baby was born.

Tom had interest in travelling and he always wanted to travel with Jenny to different places.  

Mental Health (Current and past mental health concerns, contact with mental health professionals, risk to self or others, whether current mental health needs are being met)

The mental health concern is for Jenny as she had developed symptoms of depression after Christie’s disability. This is evident from the fact that she stopped feeding and looking after herself and her children after getting to know about Christie’s diagnosis. She also remained in bed most of the time. Due to Jenny’s behaviour, Tom had to leave his job. She had taken some pills for depression from the doctor. Jenny had a diagnosis of depression and good support from family members was essential for her to deal with their emotional and behavioural issues. However, Tom did not believed she had depression and gave her no emotional support to tackle the issue. 

Physical Health (Current and past health concerns, contact with health professionals, whether current health needs are being met)

There is no detail on past health concerns of Tom and Jenny. However, the current concern is their daughter’s diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. It was necessary for both Tom and Jenny to be strong at this time and research for the best treatment and management strategies for the health and well-being of Christie. However, poor coping style and inability to deal with adversities resulted in mental health issues for Jenny. This is future may deteriorate health of Jenny and her daughter too. 

Substance Use/Addiction (Use of alcohol, cigarettes or illicit drugs. Misuse of prescription medication. Gambling, sex, social media, gaming or other addictions.  History, frequency, impacts, and attempts to change pattern of use and/or behaviour.)

No detail regarding substance use and addiction found for the Banks family. The local council’s emergency relief worker has the suspicion that Tom or Jenny might have a gambling habit. 

Legal (Any historical or current legal issues including fines)

There is no legal issues for Tom and Jenny 

Community Supports (All community supports currently being accessed that provide support for physical, psychological, spiritual and/or social wellbeing. Consider eco-map.)

Tom and Jenny do not have contact with any community support services such as social club. Jenny used to visit the church, however she does not go the church. There is no form of support from family members too. The only support that is available to the family now is the support of Local Council’s emergency relief agency and their worker in getting assistance for food vouchers and bill payments. However, contact with professionals for physical, psychological and social well-being is not found.

Informal Supports/Strengths/Usual Ways of Coping (Informal support provided by family and friends. Self-reported or observed strengths. Usual ways of coping.)

The main issue for the Banks family is that they have received minimal formal support and no informal support from family and friends has been received. Tom has resisted from involvement of Jenny’s parent in the care of their children. Tom also stays away from his family members and never visits them on any occasion. The self-reported weakness found  in Jenny is that she had stopped feeding and taking care of her children after getting the news of Christie’s disability.

Assessment Summary (Brief summation of client context, key concerns and goals, hopes for the future, strengths and supports, possible barriers for change)

From the assessment of Tom and Jenny, it can be said that both are at risk of mental health issues because of life stressors, financial constraints and lack of ideal community support. Currently, the main concern for the Banks family is the health and well-being of Christie and Jenny and ways to manage daily life expense. Tom is depending on the Local council for financial support.. Lack of emotional support and incidence of conflict and poor relationship with family members have deteriorated the situation of the Banks family.

The couples are in need of professional help so that they can adapt positive coping styles and resilience to manage adversities in life. Contact with mental health care professional is also necessary so that long term depression is avoided. However, one barrier to achieving this goal includes Tom’s employment issue and lack of informal support. This issue needs to be addressed to ensure that Tom and Jenny approach the right service to promote health and well-being of the family.

Intervention Plan (Agreed upon actions to meet immediate needs as well as short, intermediate and long-term goals, including information on who will be responsible for what action and in what timeframe, and any scheduled date to meet and review)

The plan to meet immediate needs includes providing funds to Tom so that he can manage his current expense unless he takes up job again. Christie’s help and getting in touch with experience mental health professional is necessary to learn ways to manage health of Christie.

The intermediate plan is encourage the family to take part in social programs and make social connections to manage depression and mitigate risk to health. Support from psychologist is also necessary to improve coping style.

The long term goal should be to prioritize education and health of all children and get support from family members so that Jenny could also go back to work.

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