- Published: December 31, 2021
- Updated: December 31, 2021
- Level: Secondary School
- Language: English
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The Social Environment and Human Behavior List some of the ethical issues faced by human service professionals working with a family like Kims. In addition, list some of the biases and prejudices you would have to set aside in order to assist the family.
A. List of Ethical Issues
Among the ethical issues that are faced by a human service professional in cases like Baby Kim’s are:
1. “ Wrongful birth” issues dealing with prenatal testing: “ Wrongful birth” involves the cases when physicians fail to recommend prenatal testing where results could have revealed abnormality in the fetus.
a. The issue is the implication that parents may hold physicians responsible for the birth of a child with abnormality.
b. A further ethical dilemma is whether or not this endorses the notion that defective fetuses should be aborted; and
c. There is the issue as to whether life with a disability is now considered not worth living, and would justify termination of human life (page 184, citing Lamb 1994).
2. Another issue is to what extent prenatal testing should be carried out to determine which characteristics are desirable. What the implications of this would be on:
a. Sex selection
b. Predisposition to obesity
c. Short stature
d. Low IQ
e. Other perceived defects
3. Since prenatal testing involves high cost, making it mandatory to determine defects begs the question as to who receives prenatal testing. This has implications on the higher economic classes from the lower.
a. The greater availability of screening against abnormalities in the infants born to the elite (than in the lower economic classes) will cause a higher proportion of brighter, stronger children to the upper income class, giving them better chances for succeeding than the lower classes
b. Better birth quality among the rich will tend to concentrate wealth in a small sector of society, since children born to the rich will be better qualified for the higher paying positions. Wealth distribution is thus compromised.
B. List of Biases to be Avoided
As a human service professional considering the case of Baby Kim, I shall have to put aside the following biases and prejudices:
1. Bias against parents with a history of drug use, that they remain to be unfit mothers of fathers even after rehabilitation
2. Bias against women who work exclusively in the home as being inferior and less capable compared to women who have careers
3. Bias against fathers who tend to drink, although there is no evidence of alcoholism
The direct problem of the case is how to address the problem of the deterioration of Baby Kim’s health and development. The immediate question that must be resolved is whether or not Kim’s continued separation from parent should be terminated, and Kim returned home to her parents.
Analysis of the case
The separation of a child from its parents is always an important issue, because it is normally presumed that parents are the best source of sustenance, support, and love for the child. The state should have an extraordinary reason, based on strong and compelling evidence, that the parents could not provide the proper care for their own child before it takes such a child away and relegates her to foster care.
In this case, there appears to be no strong or compelling reason for Kim to be taken from her parents. The matter of methamphetamine use prior to Kim’s birth is not an overriding issue, since Kim’s mom would have been allowed to keep her had she agreed to sending her younger son to day care. Her refusal to send him to day care was the cause for her separation from her children and for Kim’s relegation to foster care.
There is no evidence that Kim’s parent neglect their children’s care in any way whatsoever. The home is well maintained, the sons are healthy, happy and bright. In no way does any evidence show that Kim’s parents, specially her mom, is an unfit mother.
Neither has there been any reason to believe that Kim’s mother is still doing drugs. Her only absence from her appointment for drug testing was justified by circumstances beyond her control. The fact that the father tested positive for beer is not a reason to separate child from family, absent any indication that the father is an alcoholic and that this state of alcoholism engenders in him behaviour that would endanger the children. These are clearly absent.
Furthermore, there is reason to believe that the continued separation of Kim from her parents has had adverse effects upon her development. Her intracranial bleeding during birth, determined to be unrelated to methamphetamine use attributed to her mom, may have been the result of other complications at birth, such as her premature birth, together with low birth weight and feeding problems – more of Kim’s symptoms. It is possible that her intracranial bleeding may have led to mental retardation or delay in development (p. 185).
Inasmuch as her failure to thrive and slowdown in her development are attributable to her premature birth and not methamphetamines, all considerations must be towards the betterment of the child’s situation to address this problem. This means returning Kim to her parents who are apparently solicitous caregivers to their children. A research by Bradley et al. (1994, 1987) emphasize the importance of home environment to the development of premature and low-birth-weight children. Kim’s family, it appears, has an ideal home environment pertaining to the two older children, so there is no reason that this same environment will not be where Kim will be situated upon her return home. “ The low birth-weight infant, then, may benefit from a home where parents are sensitive and attentive and provide a rich array of objects and people for the childe to interact with” (Bradley et al., 1987). These are things that Kim’s family environment can provide her that foster care cannot.
The best solution, then, is for Kim to be returned to her home and her mother, and for CPS to conduct home visits as often as needed to ensure the health and welfare of all three children, and Kim’s especially. Kim’s further stay in foster care could further exacerbate her slow development, and there is no reason to suspect that she may not be properly cared for in her own home.
Ashford, J. B., Craig W. LeCroy, & Kathy L. Lortie. (2008) The Social Environment and Human Behavior. Cengage Learning.
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