Domestic Violence and Drugs Use with Latinas

CPS Intervention

The author of this report has been asked to offer a summary and analysis of a CPS-oriented intervention with an at-risk child. The intervention will be described from beginning to end. It will be summarized how there was a prevention or resolution to problems that were discovered. There will be an analysis of how there was negotiating and advocacy on behalf of the client. There will be a listing of at least three practice skills (micro and/or macro) that were used as part of the intervention. There will be a general critique of the intervention’s progress and performance, what could have been done to generate a better outcome, whether the intervention was empowering and whether it was discriminatory or oppressive.


The story in question is about a woman named Alice. Despite what her name might imply, lice is actually a Latino. She is under the scrutiny of CPS for a number of reasons. Before getting into that, the story of Alice up to this point should be told. Alice was born into a family of two married parents. The family had only her and no other children. Alice identifies herself as Mexican-American and has Catholic beliefs. Her parents still go to church to this very day but Alice herself does not. She is twenty-eight years old and heterosexual. She has a four-year-old daughter named Maria and she is currently in danger of losing her rights to see and visit her due to a number of factors.

First of all, the father of her children and her have had some rather nasty physical altercations. Both the father of the child and Alice herself are apparently both using illicit drugs and alcohol. Alice identifies this as a problem with the father of the child but asserts that her alcohol use is only occasional and that her illicit drug use is not something she would be unable to stop. Thus, she does not see a problem with her own personal drug use. However, her recent personal history would obviously contradict that problem. While the drug/alcohol use may fuel the fire with the father of the child, the same would be accurate of Alice, based on the totality of the evidence. A sterling example of this was a recent incident when Alice was arrested. She apparently slapped her mother and took her child out of bed in the middle of the night. She apparently has no recollection of that happening. The culmination of her drug use, her propensity towards violence and her now-present criminal history is going to make it exceedingly difficult to find and retain gainful employment. Alice seemed to embrace the CPS intervention and seemed excited about getting through the process. She has stated that she is willing to do “anything” to get her daughter back. However, her ostensibly denial about her drug abuse is going to be a huge barrier to that occurring. Couple that with the fact that she must complete a number of different objectives to get her daughter back and the fact that those objectives anger management counseling and random drug testing, her chances of getting Maria back are slim to none given that she must pass all of the objectives to attain her goal of reuniting with Maria.

As for how the author of this report helped prevent or resolve problems, the author of this report made it crystal clear that no amount of illicit drug use is going to be acceptable because the drug tests will catch it. Further, that drug use is fueling the proverbial fire with the father of the baby as well as the family violence and neglect that occurred with the aforementioned arrest. In terms of negotiating and advocating to the client, the author asserted that this intervention is not about judgment or hurting Alice. Rather, it is about protecting Maria and what is best for her and Alice continuing down the path she is traveling is obviously antithetical and contrary to her asserted goal of regaining custody. Alice obviously needs to break the pattern cycle she is on and that means no drugs and no continued contact with the father of the child except as mandated by the courts. Three practice skills that were used for this engagement with Alice included evaluation, engagement and assessment. Alice and her situation was evaluated and assessed and the author of this report engaged with Alice as a client.

One critique that the author of this report would have is that it is questionable whether the author “got through” to Alice or if she’s going to reject the advice on the basis that it is judgmental or “mean.” Calling something what it is in social work (abuse, neglect, etc.) and parlaying that to actually getting the client on the right path can often be two different things. If something could have been done different, it would have been a calm assertion that while she may think or feel otherwise at times, the drug use, abuse and alcohol has to all go away so as to protect and reconnect with her daughter. The intervention was empowering in that there seemed to be a slight indication that Alice was “getting it”…even if she did not come out and say it. The author supposes that only time will tell. Even with the minority nature of the client, the work with Alice did not center on judging Alice or that she is Latina. The intervention was not really derived form a practice model in that it was very obvious (as an outsider, at least) what the problem was and what needed to be said by the practitioner and done in response by the client. In terms of a model that could be used, the author would point to the work of Edwards and Addae when it is said that “the first step is to recognize the problems to address and prioritize them” (Edwards & Addae, 2015). The author would take that assertion and dovetail it with what is said above. Alice is trying to dance around the fact that she has drug/alcohol/violence issues and that cannot be allowed to stand. It has to be made clear to her that any future with her daughter will hinge on coming to terms with that. She may not want to hear that, at least at first, but she needs to be told that. If she is as sincere as she says about getting her daughter back, she will come around. If not, then she will not…and she should not.


The author of this report is not entirely sure what happened with Maria. If statistics and trends are to be believed, there is a good chance she’s regressed at least once or twice. However, the author of this report is trying to be optimistic and hopes that Alice will find her way eventually. The deck is stacked against her in a number of ways and not all of them are of her own doing (Lipsky & Caetano, 2009; Vasques, 2009). However, a lot of them are indeed of her own doing and she truly needs to redeem herself. CPS can show her the door but she has to be the one to take that step through the frame. CPS is concerned more with the health and safety of the child than Alice’s feelings about the matter.


Edwards, B., & Addae, R. (2015). Ethical decision-making models in resolving ethical dilemmas in rural practice: Implications for social work practice and education. Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, 12(1), 88-92.

Lipsky, S., & Caetano, R. (2009). Epidemiology of Substance Abuse Among

Latinos. Journal Of Ethnicity In Substance Abuse, 8(3), 242-260.


Vasquez, M.T. (2009). Latino/a Culture and Substance Abuse. Journal of Ethnicity In

Substance Abuse, 8(3), 301-313. doi:10.1080/15332640903110484

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