Case # 2 Keisha

Keisha, age 5, and her sisters, ages 4 and 7 resided with their maternal grandmother in a poor inner city neighborhood. The girls’ mother had left them in her mother’s care because of her dependence on drugs and alcohol and inability to care for her children. It was a hot humid summer in a Midwestern state and the neighbors call the city health department about a putrid smell on their block. The health department investigated, narrowing the source of the odor to a shed in Keisha’s grandmother’s backyard shed. The decomposing body of Keisha was found in that shed. 


The case was referred to my agency by Children and Family Services for intervention with Keisha’s sisters. The following information was gathered from the police reports and interviews with Keisha’s sisters. 


The girls had been living with grandma for about 6 months but had stayed with her sporadically at prior times when mom “dropped them off”.

Of the three girls, Keisha was the most active and inquisitive. According to the sisters she was often “bad” and made grandma “mad”.

An autopsy identified the cause of Keisha’s death as “blunt force trauma to the head”.

The girls recalled that “When Keisha was bad Grandma kicked her or punched her.”

The day that Keisha “fell asleep and didn’t wake up Grandma kept hitting Keisha’s head on the floor”. That day the sisters helped their grandmother carry Keisha downstairs and put her in the shed so she could sleep without being disturbed. “Keisha never woke up.”

The grandmother was arrested for child abuse and the sisters were placed in foster care. The girls’ mother could not be located.

You are the social worker assigned to the sisters. 1) How would you explain your purpose for seeing the girls? 2) How would you establish a relationship with the girls? 3) Would you explain death and that Keisha would not be waking up from her “sleep”? 4) What type of treatment plan would you create to assist the sisters in dealing with their traumas?

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