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Family Role in Case Management

Family Role in Case Management

When a family member develops an alcohol or drug abuse problem, the role of the family is to offer support by helping with the assessment of the problem, provide the encouragement needed for the individual to comply with the treatment plan, and monitor their progress. Involving family members in the case management process emphasizes the individual’s autonomy, and family support in developing treatment or service plans can quicken the process of healing. However, the family can also hinder the process if there is a strenuous relationship with the member, and the member could also be evasive and sullen, trying to hide certain things from the family or pretending to make progress when they are not making any. According to Summers (2015), family members can also fail to cope with the individual’s drug or alcohol problem and give up and even cut all ties after failing to help the member abstain.

Some of the client’s strengths include her strong ties to her family as well as her optimism regarding her ability to care for her unborn child, attend classes and maintain her sobriety. However, she is also at risk of relapsing or being addicted to other drugs due to maladaptive coping techniques for anxiety, such as smoking. Her family might also not be the best individuals to help her with sobriety given that her parents constantly argue about her, her father refuses to talk to her, and she can gain access to alcohol given that her younger brother drinks and smokes without the parents’ knowledge.

The case management needs for the family are parenting skills, substance abuse problems, and denial. One of the ways that can be used to help the family is through family therapy sessions. Linking the family to appropriate groups or centers where their needs can be addressed is important. Through family therapy, it would be possible to strengthen the bonds and enhance communication among the family members.


Summer, N. (2015). Fundamentals of case management practice: Skills for the Human Services. Cengage Learning.


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Family Role in Case Management

While family members may not participate in the treatment or case management of a client, some client populations require family participation. Adolescent treatment programs offer families case management services. It is beneficial for family members to develop an understanding of their own role in the family and in the addiction process. Using the information from your assigned reading and the scenario below, respond to the questions.

  1. What are three family roles that family members adopt when a family member develops an alcohol or drug use addiction?
  2. What are some advantages and disadvantages of involving family members in the case management process?

Scenario: Ava
Ava is a 16-year-old Hispanic female who was arrested in school for possession of marijuana and alcohol two days into the new school year. She has a history of causing trouble in classes, including attacking a teacher and another student. This is third time that she has been caught with drugs on campus and was transferred to an alternative high school program where she will remain for the rest of the school year. She is currently a client in a school-based Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that provides academics, daily group treatment sessions, and NA meetings. She refuses to ask for a sponsor in her NA group because she thinks that her parents are enough support for her. She has been in the program for two months and has not had a positive drug test since joining the program; however, she is six weeks pregnant. She states that she is looking forward to returning to her high school for her junior and senior years and is optimistic about her ability to care for her child while attending classes and maintaining her sobriety.

Family Role in Case Management

Family Role in Case Management

The client’s parents and younger brother (13 years old) are worried that the client will not be able to remain sober. Her mother is protective of the client reporting that she worries about the unborn child. She allows Ava to smoke cigarettes at home because she thinks that this will help reduce her anxiety and prevent her from using “drugs.” Her father refuses to talk about the client or to the client. Her parents argue often about how to help the client especially when her child is born. Her younger brother has started to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes with his friends, but his parents do not know about it.

  • Pretend that you are the case manager for the client. What are some of the client’s strengths and needs?
  • What are two case management needs for the family?
  • What are some strategies that a case manager might use to help this family in a family case management planning session?
    • Assume that all members of the family need some referrals.

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