Gabriela's case, a 4-year old, physically abused by her mother's partner (Moldova)

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Gabriela is 4 years old and she is going to the kindergarten. The management of the kindergarten filed a report following the identification of violence marks on Gabriela’s body.

As a result, the community multidisciplinary team started the case-work. The findings of the child and family assessment revealed that Gabriela’s parents were Alina, born in 1989, and George, born in 1988. When she was 8 months-old, Gabriela was left in the care of her paternal grandparents, as both her parents left abroad for work.  As she was very young, Gabriela was artificially fed (with supplements and different products).  Furthermore, she was born with a congenital condition (affecting the palate’s veil and of the pharynges-nasal muscles) and thus suffered from a speech impairment.

 Gabriela’s parents are divorced. Following their divorce, the child was left in the mother’s care, while the father and grandparents were spending time with Gabriela at weekends and holidays.

Currently, Gabriela’s mother is living with another man – Victor, born in 1986. Victor has three other boys from a different relationship and one of the boys, Daniel (born in 2005) is living together with them.  Alina and Victor are also the parents of a pair of twins (a boy and a girl). Thus, Alina and Victor are in charge for bringing up four children: Daniel, who is going to the community school, Gabriela who is attending the kindergarten and the one-year old twins who are being cared for at home. All children are subscribed to a family-doctor.

While talking to Gabriela about the bruises on her elbow, she mentioned that Victor did those to her. The same information resulted from Gabriela’s paternal grandparents. They also filed a legal complaint against Victor. According to the mother’s (Alina) statement, the bruises were the result of the play between the brothers and other children. Victor denied the fact that he was beating the child, admitting, though, that sometimes, when she was naughty, he did use some physical violence.

The case discussion took place offline, on November 21, 2016, with the participation of the members of the multidisciplinary team, child protection professionals from district level and Childhub resource persons.    

Expert online: 
Date and time for case discussion: 
21 Nov 2016 - 6:45pm
Learning points: 

Assisting and managing the case:

The social worker and the multidisciplinary team have focused on Gabriela’s well-being. Thus, according to the child well-being indicators, the following actions were undertaken:

  • Affection/Family: The children will remain within the family and they will be permanently monitored by the social worker, police, educators and pedagogues.
  • Safety: In order to ensure Gabriela’s and the rest of the children’s safety, the community police and the local authorities have intervened and warned the parents about the negative consequences of using physical violence upon children’s development (they also informed the parents about the legal consequences related to violence against children).
  • Health: All children are monitored by the family doctor. According to the Health Department’s clinical protocols, Gabriela and the other children will receive medical assistance according to the medical insurance.
  • Inclusion: Gabriela attends the community kindergarten. Also, a logopedist is actively working with her.
  • Involvement: The child attends community and family events. In her spare time she plays and communicates with her peers. At kindergarten, Gabriela is attending regular activities (music, drawing).

In the coming period, the multidisciplinary team will assist the case according to the Individual Assistance Plan.

Recommendations:

  • Permanently inform Gabriela’s parents about her results and accomplishments, as a result of her working with the logopedist. Asking the involvement of the parents by supporting Gabriela with her home-practice, as recommended by the logopedist.
  • Request the support of the Psycho-pedagogical Assistance Department in order to psychologically evaluate Gabriela and with the purpose to set-up an intervention plan for working with the child-victim of physical violence.
  • Support and respecting children for their accomplishments.
  • Involve the foster-care authority and other members of the team (social workers, priest, family doctor) in changing the parents’ attitude towards themselves and their environment, their behavior and educating positive family values.
  • Support the parents in bringing up and educating their children, by involving them in different activities at kindergarten, school and inside the community.
  • Continue the efficient collaboration between the relevant stakeholders in assisting the child in this case.  
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