Bioecological Theory and the Family and Community Resource Conceptual Framework)
The Case History
"Kerry" has twin girls who are now 4 years old. She had been living with her defacto "Dean" for the past 6 years. She is a qualified beautician and has previously run a small business from home before the birth of the twins. She undertook schooling until year 12 (equal to USA high school diploma) at a public school, is one of two children herself and has supportive parents in a middle income suburb. She left her defacto 10 months ago after two years of domestic violence brought on by the use intravenous "speed." She has an AVO (Aggravated Violence Order) on "Dean" for 12 months. During the previous two years "Kerry" was subjected to physical and psychological trauma, the twins witnessed this abuse. "Dean" is on a fly in fly out basis working in the mines with a roster of 2 weeks on 1 week off, with an income of over $2,000.00 per week. During his week off "Dean" would arrive home and commence drug usage. "Kerry" was not allowed to have friends or clients contact her throughout the last 6 months of their relationship and "Dean" would not allow her to buy groceries without him as he spent most of his wage for his drug use. On our first contact with "Kerry" the twins were withdrawn and would not allow "Kerry" to leave the room without them. They would only eat certain food and then only if they had sauce on the table. They would not interact with other children at preprimary school.
Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory
According to Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory, there are five environmental systems that an individual interacts with:
Microsystems -- these are the institutions and groups that most directly impact the child's development and include family, school, community, and peers
Mesosystem - this refers to the relations between the different Microsystems, for instance the relation between th parents and the teachers / school; or between the parents and the church, and so forth. These contexts too effect the child.
Exosystem - an external system of another may impact one of the ecosystems (or microsystems) of the child. For instance, the mother's work may impact the child's family life, or a teacher's challenging domestic situation may influence her teaching hence impacting child.
Macrosystem -- this is the wider culture in which the child lives. These include developing and industrialized countries, socioeconomic status, poverty, and ethnicity . The larger cultural context shares a common identity and shapes thoughts, behavior, feelings of the child. The macrosystem also changes gradually and subtly over time due to its own often indiscernible influences. (Kail, & Cavanaugh, 2010).
Chronosystem: The external sociohistorical and personal events that happen to the child that impact him. For instance, divorce may negatively impact the child, particularly during the first year. As regards, sociohistorical changes, females have never had it better than now with the increase of tolerance and gender equality
The ecosystem, in short, forms the person's own biology. For instance, a child developing in a ghetto or closed fundamentalist community may grow up more stunted than someone maturing in a more open way of life. The inner-city child often faces more hardship and challenges that impact him than the affluent child does. These include factors such as crime, poverty, drug environment. On the other hand, however, the sheltered child is less likely to have the extended and nurturing family support (Santrock, 2007; Vander Zanden, et al., 2007).
There are many different theories to child and human development. Bronfenbrenner's approach is unique in that it proffers an environmental description and explanation.
Assessment of the case study using Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory
Kerry's microsystem is upper middle class with middle class status living in middle class suburbs (and all the culture that that implies), with middle class job, middle class income bracket, and supportive parents.
Her children had the Microsystems of the middle class bracket but also had the Microsystem of an unstable family where they experienced both divorce of their father and trauma -- witnessing their father abuse the mother. They also witnessed the use of drugs in their life (by their father at least; possibly by both their parents) as well as the infrequent presence of an unstable father. Although their Microsystem was middle class, they also experienced the privaitosn of having little money since most was used on drugs.
As regards the other microsystem of friends, they seemed to have had a small support group, particularly since their father prohibited clients and friends from coming to the house during his last half year with them.
Their mcirossytem of school too seems to have been giving them problems since they insufficiency associated with their peers. This, however, is due to the influence of the mesosytem, namely their traumatic treatment at home likely influenced the way they acted with their peers. This in turn, had a reactionary effect where their peers may likely have avoided them.
The twins were impacted by their exosystem -- namely by variables happening outside of their control, such as their father's work in the mines that may have led to his infrequent presence at home, his abusive behavior, and his taking drugs. Their mother's upbringing, too, and her marriage to the man affected her parental skills and the way that she dealt with the abuse. This, in turn, had an indirect effect on the twins. We see how everything is related.
Then we have the macrosystem which is their middle class, American identity that places a certain set of expectations on the twins. Kerry, felt these expectations in her own case, perhaps effecting the way that she dealt with the abuse. She may have considered, perhaps, that part of her job was to remain with the children, or protect her husband and so forth. These cultural norms may have influenced the way that she dealt with the abuse and her marriage. This, in turn, worked as exosytem where the twins were impacted.
Finally, you have the chornosystem which is both the sociohisotrical events -- Kerry, for instance, dealing with the abuse in a certain manner due to her socio-historical conditioning, and, as regards, the twins, their own experiences of the abuse and divorce (amongst other aspects).
What is so fascinating here is the inextricable intertwine of systems. Each hooks onto and is linked with the other and the impact on the twins' development is part of a holistic whole. Interventions as we see later is easier in this system, in a way, than in many others, for all we need is one or two major changes and these have a rebound effect, simultaneously effecting all other systems. On the other hand, since the whole is so inextricably linked, these factors for change need to be chosen wisely and carefully s well s constantly monitored so that they have the desired impact.
Community resource conceptual framework
There are two constructs nnetworks -- These are the set of relationships, personal interactions, and connections among participants who have personal reasons to connect. It is like a set of nodes and links through whom information, values, and influences flow.
nCommunities - this is the all encompassing hub which is a shared identity and the tacit intention to steward a domain of knowledge and way of living.
Both aspects are intertwined since the networks exist in the community and transmit or challenge communal values as well as ensure that the hubs and nodes accord with it and intimidate them if they don't. All of this is subtly reinforced.
Both network and community also operate via narratives. These may be narrative of their past history, such as events that happened to them -- generally things that they did they see in a positive light, whereas unfortunate events where things that happened to them (not their fault). Narratives are also accounts that happen to them in the present, such as their aspirations, their personal story of their uniqueness, and their descriptives of themselves. (Wenger, et al. 2011)
When connecting the community resource conceptual framework to the twins case, we may come up with the situation of the wider community with its subtle narratives and encumbrances of the way a person has to live in the middle class society. Perhaps, in this case, the way that Kerry had to deal with the abuse; perhaps to that the twins had few friends because of their situation; perhaps too the situation of drug abuse and the way "Dean" acted as a result of the stress of his environment. These subtle messages and norms are all narratives of the community.
The second category that the twins experienced is that of the networks which consisted of their parents, peers, teachers, school, church (if they had), social worker / therapists, and other organizations prominent in their lives. These interconnections that affected each other had their own particular narratives of objectives, tasks, and meaning and the twins had to navigate these…