Ensuring the Safety of Young Clients For the past three months, you have been seeing an 11-year-old.

Ensuring the Safety of Young Clients

For the past three months, you have been seeing an 11-year-old
male client referred for behavioral concerns by the special education teacher
at an elementary school located in a small, rural community. Your client has
demonstrated several temper outbursts with his teachers and has also been in
fights with boys in his class who he claims were “making fun” of him. The
client is large for his age and has cognitive and other developmental delays,
and the principal and the special education teacher want him to learn
strategies for emotional regulation and
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Ensuring the Safety of Young Clients

For the past three months, you have been seeing an 11-year-old
male client referred for behavioral concerns by the special education teacher
at an elementary school located in a small, rural community. Your client has
demonstrated several temper outbursts with his teachers and has also been in
fights with boys in his class who he claims were “making fun” of him. The
client is large for his age and has cognitive and other developmental delays,
and the principal and the special education teacher want him to learn
strategies for emotional regulation and anger management. He lives on a small
farm with his father and grandfather, both of whom are in agreement that he
would benefit from interventions focused on his behavior; consequently, these
counseling goals are stated in his Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Because
his father and grandfather have expressed concerns about his behavior at home,
you have been seeing the client at home as well as at school. These sessions
have gone well; he has readily engaged in the therapy process, rapport is
clearly in evidence, and you, his father and grandfather, and the school are
pleased with his progress.

Sitting outside on the back porch during today’s home
session, however, a different concern arises. The client tells you that his
father and grandfather sometimes beat him with a belt when he is “bad.” He
lifts his shirt to show you “where it hurts,” and you see his back and stomach
covered with dark bruises, many of which clearly show the outline of a belt
buckle. You realize your client needs you to take action to protect his safety;
at the same time, you are aware that the father and grandfather, both large
men, are inside the house.

Discussion Questions

1. How will you act to ensure the safety of your client,
while at the same time maintaining your own personal safety?

2. What is your responsibility as a mandated reporter?

3. What will you do next?

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