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The Family & the Home Environment

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A total of four people lives in the home. Earl Jones Jr, the child assessed, is a 4-year-old African American male, born on January 23, 2014. Shelby Smith, the mother, is a 27-year-old, bi-racial (African American and Filipino) female, born on October 24, 1965. Earl Jones, the co-parenting father, is a 27-year-old African American male, born on September 23, 1990 (present for the interview but not living in the home). Also living in the home is the assessed child’s half-brother, Kameron Smith. Kameron is a 7-month-old African American male infant, who was born on December 23, 2017. Kameron is one of Shelby’s two children, from which is a result from rape. The location and name of Kameron’s father is unknown.

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The family identifies as Christian, but they do not attend church, regularly. The mother has one full-time job and one part-time job and does not always have the morning off to attend church. Earl Jr and Kameron goes to daycare while Shelby goes to work during the week.

The mother attended John Marshall High School in Richmond, Virginia and graduated in 2009. After high school, she’s always held a job in retail, dining services and invested much time writing and singing songs to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. In the spring of 2017, the mother moved to Atlanta, Georgia while working part-time at a restaurant. However, she moved back home to Richmond, Virginia in the winter of 2017. Her pregnancy, due to rape, was much too stressful for her to endure, alone, while working at night and raising her son during the day. Earl, also, attended John Marshall High School in Richmond, Virginia and graduated in 2009. After high school, the father obtained and maintained a job as a construction worker. Earl Jr will be attending pre-kindergarten at

Winterhill Preschool in Richmond, Virginia this September 2018. The mother is currently employed and has been employed since the Summer of 2018. After her return home from Atlanta, Georgia, she was unemployed for the 6 months. In Atlanta, Georgia she was employed by Buffalo Wild Wings for 12 months (January 2017- December 2017) until she resigned from her employment to have a healthy pregnancy due to high risk from her rising blood pressure (Kameron). From March 2013 through January 2014, Shelby worked at a local Exxon gas station in Richmond, Virginia, until she resigned during her maternity leave (Earl Jr). In November of 2012, she became employed as a bartender at a The Bar in Richmond, Virginia for 2 years. After Shelby recovered from post-partum, she returned to work in May of 2014 where she became a waiter at Olive Garden in Richmond, Virginia for 3 years. In July 2009, she began working for the first time at Thunderbird’s restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. She was employed there for 4 years until she was terminated for attendance in October of 2013. The father began working as a construction worker at various contractor opportunities in the metro Richmond, Virginia area. He’s been a construction worker for J and W enterprises in Richmond, Virginia since he graduated high school in 2009 and has never been unemployed.

Shelby and Earl are no longer together and live separately. They used to live together from January 2012 until they separated in December 2016. They have joint legal custody of Earl Jr. Shelby has physical custody of him. Earl, the father, has reasonable and liberal visitation with Earl Jr. Kameron’s father is unable to be located and does not contribute anything to the child.

The address of the residence is 123 Victorian Lane Road, Richmond, Virginia. The residence is a 3-bedroom apartment with 2-bathrooms. The family has two blue macaw birds named Angel and Dusty. Susan rents the apartment and allows Shelby and her children to live with her, because she cannot afford to live on her own and needs help babysitting, sometimes. The apartment is in the rural area of Richmond, Virginia. The parking lot surrounding the residence consists of reserved parking spaces and very limited visitor spaces. The apartment is located close to a shopping mall. The shopping mall is not directly located in front the apartment, but it is two blocks away. The apartment is in good condition, has a community swimming pool and playground. Most of the front yard is surrounded by grass and flowers. Inside the residence is relatively clean—no outstanding conditions that cause concern for the social worker.

The child (Birth, Development, and Milestones)

Shelby reported that her pregnancy had no difficulties, and he was carried to full-term being born one day before the due date. Even when in labor, which lasted 3 hours, her contractions were not very painful. Earl Jr was born weighing 8 lbs., 13 oz. and was 21 inches long. She does not remember the exact APGAR scores, however, the mother insisted that Earl Jr passed the tests with “flying colors”. According to the mother, Earl Jr was a “good baby”, and was never abnormal in physical or mental development. The child was breastfed until 20 months old and was put on whole milk and table food from then on. Hutchinson (2013) reports that a child between the ages of 6 and 12 months should be attempting to feed themselves either by holding the utensil or via fingers. The mother said that Earl Jr his favorite food to feed himself was the spaghetti noodles. He fed himself this with his hands more than he did with utensils because he liked to make a mess. Regarding sleeping habits, the mother stated that Earl Jr did stay awake most of the day, having fun playing and slept most of the night in his own room. Regarding the discovery of himself and others, the mother said that Earl would “babble,” imitate her and Earl and enjoy looking at his own fingers. She noted that Earl Jr would even mock their pet birds whistling sounds. During the age period of 6-12 months, the mother recalls Earl Jr learning to walk without assistance, waving bye-bye, and enjoying throwing a soft toy basketball his dad gave to him. Piaget found that children at the age of 12 months should be able to understand simple commands. According to the mother, Earl responded very well to simple commands such as “throw this in the trash can.”

According to Hutchinson (2013), between the ages of 1-4, a child will begin to choose what foods he likes and start to feed himself. The mother reported that at the age of 2, Earl wasn’t very picky about what foods he wanted to eat and had a strong dislike for condiments. Earl liked to feed himself and would get frustrated whenever he was assisted. Shelby also stated that at the age of 2, Earl’s sleeping habits for the most part were normal. He would start to get sleepy between 8 and 9 p.m. and would sleep throughout the night peacefully. However, now, at the age of 4, he would sometimes complain about being “alone in the dark”. Regarding toilet-training, the mother stated that the child became fully potty-trained at 2-years-old. Shelby said that Earl Jr has always been a very inquisitive child. He always wants to see what she’s cooking, which buttons on the remote did what, and liked to find himself something to watch on Netflix during grocery store trips. Hutchinson (2013) notes that children can have tantrums starting between the ages of 1-4. The mother noted that while Earl Jr was, for the most part, an easy child, he did have some tantrums, especially when he’s unable to get something he wants and when he wants it.

When Kameron arrived into the family, Earl Jr insisted on getting plenty of attention. He always wanted to be involved in taking care of his brother Kameron. The mother stated that he would sometimes feel “left out” (i.e. Earl Jr would whine if his brother got more attention than he did.). Regarding, building friendships, Shelby recalls Earl Jr having difficulty making friends. The mother says he would complain sometimes “the kids don’t want to play with me.” If another child came up to him and tried to, innocently, take a toy from him, he would say” that’s my toy, I want it back please.” He loves sharing if the other child plays with him. Further questioning revealed that in his infancy, Earl Jr most closely identified with having an easy temperament. The literature states that easy temperament is characterized by “good mood, regular patterns of eating and sleeping, and general calmness” (Hutchinson, 2013).

The mother described Earl as having, regular sleeping habits and being in a calm mood most of the time. She explained that she began seeing a pattern; when he became a toddler. He would act out and have difficult behavior when his sibling was sharing some of the attention. He would whine and sound just like Kameron when he’s upset. Earl Jr also began pointing at things he wanted instead of using his words. To be certain there were no underlying reasons for the behavior, the mother took Earl Jr to a specialist to be evaluated. The doctor diagnosed Earl Jr as being a healthy boy who just wants attention and believes that mimicking his younger brother will achieve his goal. She also noted that not giving Earl Jr his desired attention was not intentional but was since Kameron was so little and required lots of attention and assistance.

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