This movie “Losing Isaiah” is a cocaine-addicted black woman
named Khaila Richards who abandons her son in a cardboard box next to the
trash, to go get high. The next morning, she realized what she did, she ran out
to get her baby, but it was too late. She believed her baby had died that
night, but that wasn’t the case the baby was saved by sanitation workers who
had discovered the baby when they came to take the trash out. The baby was
taken to the hospital where a white social worker name Margaret Lewin formed a
special bond with the baby and ended up taking the baby home to live with her
and her family.
Khaila who is Isiah’s biological mother ended up going to
jail for shoplifting; then the movie fast-forwarded to three years later. The
film shows the Lewin family had formally adopted Isaiah and that Khalia had
been through drug rehab and is now clean, sober and working as a housekeeper/
nanny for a family. She ended up finding out that her son was still alive and
had been adopted by a family, with the help of her caseworker and an attorney
she sued for custody of her son. She had grounds to sue for custody based on
the fact she never waived her parental rights to Isaiah.
Family dynamics are the interaction between family members as
well as the different relationships that can exist within a family. Every
family has its dynamic, which manifests in its way. Uncovering these links can
help you better understand your family as well as others’, including how
families function. Family dynamics are one part of a larger system, defined by
the individual members’ relationships with each other. Families exist as their
structure made of people who share bonds and a sense of history and endeavor to
meet each other’s needs. These core qualities set the stage for family dynamics
without a structure; these dynamics cannot play out. From the movie losing
Isaiah the two families, I decided to focus on are “The Lewin’s and Khaila
lewin’s & Khaila (Family dynamic & Culture):
The lewin’s represent a two-parent, dual- wage earner family,
and this is because both parents work for a living to provide, for the needs of
their family. The Lewin family also represents an adoptive family, and the
reason for this is because Isaiah is adopted.
Khaila represents a single parent family, this is because she has never
been married before, she has a child who is under 18 and was living with her,
and lastly, her child’s father is not mentioned at all, so he is not in the
Culture can be defined as “the integrated pattern of human
behavior that includes thoughts, behaviors, communications, actions, customs,
beliefs, values, and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social
group. Social groups may include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people,
people with a disability, older adults, military families, and immigrants and
refugees”. So, the culture for Khaila would be that of Families with
African-American roots, and the culture for the Lewin’s would be that of with
The strength that was manifested in the Lewin family are, the
fact that both parents were employed, they had family support which basically
means they supported each other you see this when the whole family comes out to
support the daughter who had performed somewhere, another straight that was
manifested in the family was that the children were educated and the last
strength as that the family didn’t lack in any way all the needs of the
children were met.
In Khaila Richards family the strength that was manifested
was the fact she was able to get herself together, she stopped using drugs, was
able to get a job and take care of herself, the fact she was able to overcome
her addiction is a significant strength itself. Recovering itself is a building
block process, and no success is too small to be counted.
For Maria, the film doesn’t tell us much about her, but one
strength that was manifested was the fact that her children had a roof over
their heard, that was the only strength I could find when it came to this family.
Isaiah: The type of child maltreatment rendered to him was
physical neglect, and the specific type of neglect is “Abandonment.” Which can be defined as the desertion of a
child without. Arranging for his reasonable care or supervision. Usually, a
child is considered abandoned when. Not picked up within two days. Isaiah was
subject to this form of child maltreatment when he was left in the box next to
the trash by his biological mother.
The impact of child maltreatment on Isaiah’s behavior was
that he now had attachment issues. He was lonely and afraid at the day care
center where she left him to go to work. At home, he retreats into himself and
stops talking, until he finally throws a fit about wanting his mother, and the mother
he was crying for was Mrs. Lewin.
Amir & Josie: The specific type of child maltreatment
rendered to them in the film was “Psychological maltreatment.” Neglect of this
kind can be defined as a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting,
or exposing, another person to behavior that may result in psychological
trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress
disorder. The children were subjected to this every time their mother Maria
yelled at them.
The movie doesn’t show any impact of this type of child
maltreatment had on Amir and Josie, but some of the possible outcomes may
include emotional problems, withdrawn and depression.
Define Resiliency: Resilience is how a child can cope with
the good and the bad things in their life and the ability to succeed and
prosper even after facing set and hardships and is based on self-esteem. The
more resilience a child is, the better they can cope with real-life situations
in their life right up to adulthood and have a more positive attitude.
Resiliency was displayed by Isiah in the movie, based on some
many things one of it being the fact that he had being through so much in his
life, from having a crack addict as a mum to being left at the side of the
trash, but he still survived, even when he was rushed to the hospital and the
doctor was talking about how he wasn’t going to survive so they shouldn’t
perform any extraordinary measure, but he survived even when the odds were
The risk factor that influenced the child maltreatment Isaiah
experienced is under the parental and caregiver risk factor, and it is
“Substance Abuse” this is because the use of drugs affected her ability to
function effectively in her role as a parent, another way her substance abuse
influences the child maltreatment experienced by was because a child who is
born to a mother who is a drug addict, suffers from attachment difficulties
that can interfere with the child’s emotional development. So that influenced
the child maltreatment that was experienced by Isaiah because if not for her
addiction she wouldn’t have left him in that box next to the trash, that
faithful night she wanted to get high.
Another risk factor that may have influenced the child maltreatment that
was experienced by Isaiah is “Poverty,” this type of risk factor falls under
environmental risk factor, this contributed to the maltreatment experienced by
Isaiah in the sense that they lived in a crack house.
I used the four to five years under the reference guide, and
the development task appropriate to his age includes, “To learn to distinguish
between reality and fantasy”, “To become comfortable with own sexual identity”,
and “To make connections and distinctions between feelings, thoughts, and
actions To solve problems by initiating and creating”. One of the developmental
lags shown in the film was the fact Isaiah had “Extreme Separation Anxiety.”
The family environment he had with the Lewin’s supported, and this is because,
under the Physical development, one of the normal characteristics is “Very
Active,” the family environment was supportive towards Isaiah in the sense that
he got to go to the park to play.
Dignity and Worth of the Person and Ethical Principles are: Social workers
respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person. Social workers treat each
person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences
and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients’ socially
I would put this into practice to successfully
work with Khaila in the sense that I would treat her in a caring and respectful
manner no matter how different we may be.
Competence and the Ethical Principle: Social workers practice within their
areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.
Social workers continually strive to increase their professional knowledge and
skills and to apply them in practice. Social workers should aspire to
contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.
I would put this into practice to successfully
work with Khaila by exercising careful judgment and making responsible measures
to ensure my competence of work and protect clients from harm. I will apply
this when working with Khaila by providing her with services that are within
boundaries of knowledge and training.
person I am going to apply the all three core conditions to is Mrs. Lewin.
According to The Social Work Dictionary, empathy can be defined as “the act of
perceiving, understanding, experiencing, and responding to the emotional state
and ideas of another person.”
How I would apply this core condition to Mrs.
Lewin, is by reassuring her that even though things are difficult, because all
the things she is going through with losing custody of Isiah to his biological
mother and also discovering her husband had been unfaithful. I would let her
know that I would do everything I can to get her through this challenging time.
according to Child Protective Services: A Guide for Caseworker’s, “refers to
the caseworker’s communication of acceptance, caring, and concern for the
children and family. It involves valuing the individual family members as
people, separate from any evaluation of their behavior or thoughts, although
this does not mean that caseworkers sanction or approve thoughts or behaviors
that society may disapprove”.
I will apply this core conditions to Mrs. Lewin
by showing her gratitude; this is because she didn’t have to bring Isiah home
that day or even adopt him she did that out of the goodness of her heart, and
for that alone the type of respect she deserves is gratitude. Another way I
would apply respect to Mrs. Lewin is by encouraging her that she did an excellent
job in raising and loving Isaiah, and by also encouraging her that everything
was going to be okay.
According to Child Protective Service: A Guide for Caseworker’s, “refers
caseworkers being themselves. This means simply that caseworkers are consistent
in what they say and do, nondefensive, and authentic. They must have a clear
knowledge and an acceptance of the agency’s authority, procedures, and
policies, and of their professional role, both in its meaning to the worker and
the meaning to abused and neglected children and their families”.
How I would apply the core condition
“Genuineness” to Mrs. Lewin is by making sure that my nonverbal
behavior, voice tone, and verbal responses match or are congruent.
This was a tough decision to make, but I see where the judge
was coming from when she gave custody of Isaiah back to his birth mother, but
in child welfare permanency means that a child is connected forever to a
caregiver who will meet the child’s emotional, financial, educational, physical
and social need. And when we talk about well-being it has to do with what is in
the child’s best interest.
So, from this brief definition if I were the judge my
decision regarding the permanency and well-being of Isaiah even though I don’t
think that any child should be denied access to their Biological mother, I do
believe that the best thing for Isaiah would be to place him with the Lewin’s
and this is because this is the only home he has known for a very long time and
taking him out of that stable environment will inflict more trauma on a child
who already suffers from attachment issues.
Another reason I would place Isaiah with the Lewin’s if I
were the judge is based on Khaila’s previous drug use. There is no way to know
for sure if she is going to relapse again, but if that happens what is going to
be the faith of Isaiah all over again, so it is in the best interest of the
child that he is left with the Lewin’s.