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In-Depth Analysis On The Issues Observed In The Family Conflict Case Study


Task: Students are to undertake a case study analysis of a family with complex multiple needs (case study analysis) (30%).
We will be looking at the case study of River Smythe (Assessment Task Two). After his arrest, River
has been charged with the offence of aggravated burglary. Because of his age, and lack of previous
criminal record, he has been given Probation. A condition of his Probation is to meet with a Youth
Justice Officer and develop an intervention plan.
Students will write the assessment task from the perspective of the Youth Justice Officer, based on
the detailed information in the case study. Students will:
• Present a ‘case note’ summary of the family’s presenting issues in a way which reflect social
work values and ethics (500 words)
• Risk factor – identify and critically discuss one risk factor in relation to River’s presenting
issues, and current literature/research evidence about this risk factor (500 words) (please
note – you are NOT ABLE to use the risk factor “interaction with friends involved in
problem behaviour”)
• Protective factor – identify and critically discuss one protective factor in relation to River’s
presenting issues, and current literature/research evidence about this protective factor (500
words) (please note – you are NOT ABLE to use the protective factor “Social Skills”)
- Students are expected to draw the risk and protective factors from the Communities
that Care and Youth.Gov resources on the Moodle shell (under Activity 3).
• Identify and critically discuss a strategy for addressing the risk factor, ideally drawing upon
existing protective factors. (500 words) (Please note – you are NOT ABLE to use the
intervention strategy “involvement in recreational/cultural events or organisations”)
- Students are expected to develop the strategy for addressing the risk factor, based on an
intervention strategy which would logically address this risk factor and draw on existing
protective factors. Students might find Figure 2 in the resource Community Crime
Prevention – Risk and Protective Factors on the Moodle shell (under Activity 4) a useful
starting point for identifying a relevant intervention strategy.
- Students are not able to submit the same identical material for Assessment Task Two and
Assessment Task Three. Students who do so will receive zero marks for the section that is
submitted a second time, and may be violating Academic Integrity standards if they submit
the same written work for two assessment tasks.
- During Seminar Three, we will ‘workshop’ one risk and protective factor, and one strategy.
At the end of the seminar, students will be provided with an exemplar written response
based on the material covered in the workshop. Students are NOT ABLE to use the risk
factor, protective factor and intervention strategy used in the workshop session and
presented as an example.


Case Note
The family conflict case study considered to prepare this study consisted of a family including a mother Melita and her Son River that lived together and was facing issues both from their past incidents and from the society as an aboriginal. On a conversation with both of them I experienced several presentation issues. The issues identified from the family conflict case study were directly linked up with the bad incidents that they have faced in their lives and it has impacted them psychologically. Both of them came from a dignified aboriginal family from Queensland where they are highly respected and honored. However, the incidents they faced changed their outlook towards life and impacted their social behavior. 

River- He spent most of the time hesitating to talk initially and was quiet and numb. In initial meetings he looked stressed when asked about anything and hurried to leave the room without answering. He was very polite when answering to some of the questions and hesitated greatly when talking about his family and seemed reluctant to engage when asked directly about his mother and relationships. The client showed presentation issues such as relationship problems, stress and anxiety. The critical analysis on the family conflict case study signifies that he faced problems initially when engaging and forming an open relationship with the social worker. However, he showed anxiety about being with Jock and Billy and shared that he feel protected with them because he faces racism and oppression for being an Aboriginal. Later he anxiously mentioned about all social trouble he is facing at school and trouble he has been facing in his life. He was an empathetic boy and showed some presentation issues over time because of the problems he faced in life. Moreover, it is also seen in the family conflict case study that the client did not show clear explanation of his father and family relationships. There was a relationship problem showed with no clear conversation about some of the relations.

Melita (his mother) - the client initially shared about her incident their family faced and the way an accident changed their life. She then shared about the trouble she faced when going to the job and that his boyfriend is caring towards his son. Later in the meeting in the police station she looked hurt and looked empathetic towards his son. She shares that she does not want her son to be taken to child protection and she is afraid that he will be stolen by anyone. The client resembled presentation issues of stress and relationship problems. She appeared stressed about her son and the way she can protect him from being taken away by the child protection. She looked like a dignified lady herself and hardworking, however, was afraid about losing her son in all her conversation. Moreover, she portrayed relationship problems where in one conversation she shared that her boyfriend cares for her son and in other conversation she shared that she is afraid about her son being sent to child protection. Moreover, there was no sign of her husband in any of her conversation and clearly shows the relationship problem in her presentation. As per the readings analyzed from the family conflict case study, it can be stated that the client was not clear about her relationship neither with her husband nor with her boyfriend.

Risk Factor
One risk factor in relation to the River’s presenting issues is family conflict where there is clear indication of problem persisting in the family of River. The family problem that he has faced has been the major reason behind the stress, sudden anxiety and relationship problems that he has presented in his conversation. Even though River has faced other problems too in his life such as loss of his sister and Nan, however, family has been the major reason behind his behavior and presentation issues he showed. Van den Eynde, Claessens & Mortelmans (2020) has stated that family conflict and environment is highly related to depression and difficulties in the life of the people. The problem observed in the family conflict case study that a child faces in the family has direct impact on the psychology of the child and in turn impacts his behavior to a great extent. Some of the common indicators of family conflict in the behavior of the children are displaying upset, anger, speaking loudly, fighting and others. These behaviors were clearly seen in River and it was the major reason behind the presentation issues that were seen in River. This is because conflict is the major reason behind youth depression. Further, Matos-Melo & Cumba-Avilés (2018) states that family conflict and life conditions have consequences on the behavior of the child. A good level of well-being and adequate parenting is seen to have a positive impact on the behavior of a child. This is because parents and family are closest to the child and a child stays with the family for the longest time. The oppression and conflict they experience in family is like to form the huge impact on their own behavior and mental wellness. Based on the family conflict case study analysis, it can be seen that River has faced bad circumstances in his family where there is no traces of his father, he lost his sister and Nan and now he is facing oppression from his mother’s husband at home. All this has been the reason behind the presentation issues he showed in his conversation such as stress, anxiety and demonstration of relationship. This is because psychologically he shows sudden traces of different behavior.

Even though family conflict or family has been the major risk factor behind the presenting issues in River, yet the family is also a reason for his positive behavior (, 2020). This is because during the conversation he was polite and empathetic and this has been because of the values he got from his family members such as his mother and his Nan. Thus, family is not always his risk factor for his behavioral issues. His presentation issue identified in the family conflict case study is also because of the behavior he received from Irving that is his mother’s boyfriend and the community. He belongs to aboriginal family and faced low community attachment. This has also contributed to the presentation issues he showed and the behavior he has been showing in past days. Family is not the only risk factor he is facing and is impacted by the community itself where he is living.

Protective Factor
Protective factors are the factors that help in fighting against the risk and reducing the adverse impact it creates on a person. It helps in either reducing the impact of the risk or help in changing the way a child responds. It is important to increase the protective factors to reduce the risk factor that the child is facing (, 2020). One protective factor in relation to the presenting issues of River from the family conflict case study is attachment and bonding in family. It is seen that River has been facing major risk from the family conflict and circumstances he has faced in his house. Thus, one way to reduce that risk factor and increase protection for River it is important to consider the same domain that is family. This will help in reducing the potential harmful impact of family conflict on River. Matos-Melo & Cumba-Avilés (2018) stated that the well-being of the family environment has positive impact on the behavior and attitude of the children. Child behavior and family involvement are closely related and there are clear evidence that behavior of child is highly influence by direct relationships, housing environment and chances of ongoing conflict. Thus, an environment with reduced conflict and increased bond within the family would help in reducing the risk of family conflict. A family bond that is River’s bond with his mother would be the best way to reduce the risk factor has been facing. This is because after his father, his sister and his Nan River is close to his mother and expect from her. Moreover, from the conversation shown in the family conflict case study it is seen that he is also concerned about his mother and the profession he has to do to raise him. Thus, a strong bond between both of them and happiness of his mother will be the best protective factor for River. Moreover, it is seen in the family conflict case study that a strong bond with his mother will help in open a forum where he can discuss his problems with his mother and improve on his presenting behaviors.

Family is not a sufficient protective factor for River that could help him solve his presenting issue and reduce the risk factor he is facing. This is because the conflict he has been facing in his family in the past has hit him hard psychologically and curing that would need effort from community as well. This means that social and emotional needs is also required along with family support. This is because bond in family can sometime be insufficient and fail to reduce risk factor at River’s presenting skill because he will spend with community like schools where he will face issues like racism and oppression. In such circumstances his family that is his mother would fail to reduce the risk he is facing or change his presenting issues effectively. The critical analysis on the family conflict case study is also supported by the authors Bradshaw, Waasdorp & Leaf (2012) who has stated that school supports the behavioral needs of the children and help in bringing improvement in prosocial behavior and effective emotion regulation. Thus, family bonding might not help River sufficiently to form positive prosocial behavior and improve his presenting issues of stress, anxiety and relationship problems.

Which strategy is used for addressing the risk factor observed in the family conflict case study?
Intervention strategy is important to address the risk factor that River is facing that is family conflict. There are different layer of vulnerability faced by young people and the interventions are required according to the level of vulnerability they face. The level of vulnerability helps in deciding the type of strategies that will be suited for the child. In case of River it is seen that he is in second level of vulnerability where he is experiencing additional problems. In such kind of vulnerability the young people is seen to indulge in more than one risk behaviors and indulge in alcohol or drugs experiment (Crimeprevention, 2020). They need support to get rid of their vulnerability so that these issues do not become complex over time. Similar vulnerability is seen in River where he started indulging in drugs, had contact with police, unstable peer group and show truancy.

The strategy that will be used for addressing the risk factor obtained from the critical analysis of the family conflict case study for River and increasing the protective factor is generalist youth services including counseling. Generalist youth service helps in providing information, advice and counselling sessions to the young people through specialist programs. This helps the young people to deal with different problems that they are facing over time and address the risk factor in their life. The youth services and counselling session would help River to overcome the mental effect he has been facing due to the problem in his family and the social harassment he has been receiving because of being from aboriginal community (Broadbent et al., 2013). It is observed in the family conflict case study that the counseling sessions would help him learn to manage his emotional distress and anxiety that he is facing. This is because it is due to his Anxiety River has indulged in drugs and wrong activities with his peers. In addition to this, the youth services would also help River to deal with anxiety and stress in a healthier ways. Moreover, as per the research on family conflict case study, it can be stated that the service would also help him deal with the risk factor that is his family conflict over time. Through counseling session he would also get a chance to deal with the emotional attacks and problems he has been facing due to his poor family environment.

Even though generalist youth services would be the most effective way of handling the risk factor that River is facing, yet there would be gaps felt in handling the behavior he will face from his family that is his mother and her boyfriend. The counselling session would be effecting in handling the behavior and mental trauma of River, however, it would not work much if he continue to face negative atmosphere from his family. Moreover, the discrimination faced from community as an aboriginal would also reduce the positive impact of counselling session. This would make the strategy fail to show its effectiveness and only limit the mental problem and vulnerability in River. In this family conflict case study no single intervention strategy would be sufficient in dealing with the problems and vulnerability that River is facing.

Bradshaw, C. P., Waasdorp, T. E., & Leaf, P. J. (2012). Family conflict case study Effects of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports on child behavior problems. Pediatrics, 130(5), e1136-e1145.

Broadbent, R., Corney, T., du Plessis, K., & Papadopoulos, T. (2013). Using generalist youth work practice in suicide prevention: A program for young construction workers. Youth Studies Australia, 32(1), 46.

Crimeprevention. (2020). Risk and Protective Factors | Community Crime Prevention Victoria. Retrieved 10 August 2020, from

Lee, T. Y., & Lok, D. P. (2012). Family conflict case study Bonding as a positive youth development construct: A conceptual review. The Scientific World Journal, 2012.

Matos-Melo, A. L., & Cumba-Avilés, E. (2018). Family Environment Scale parental ratings of conflict among Latino families of depressed adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Puerto Rico health sciences journal, 37(4), 200.

Van den Eynde, A., Claessens, E., & Mortelmans, D. (2020). The consequences of work-family conflict in families on the behavior of the child. Journal of Family Research, 32(1), 123-144. (2020). Risk & Protective Factors. Family conflict case study Retrieved 10 August 2020, from


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