In their article, Shapiro and Applegate (2002), low-income families and those leaving welfare to face numerous obstacles regarding obtaining quality care for their children (p. 101). This is in line with the proposition that persons and environments continually influence each other. The researchers argue that poor mothers and low-income families face obstacles including those of availability, affordability, and quality. The primary barrier, in this case, is that of affordability. They further point out that quality care may not be obtainable in all child care locations (Yeung & Pfeiffer, 2009). In agreeing with the author, one may note that most low-income families live in deplorable environments which lack essential services including health, security, and education. Under such settings, it may be relatively difficult to provide quality care or access education and other services. This will hurt the development of the child. Of great concern to social workers are the burdens placed on low-income families and people leaving welfare. These parents are forced to take swift actions to provide care for their children in the absence of ample time, resources or enough options. Arguably earlier child care settings have a significant impact on the development of the child. A problematic care setting can negatively affect brains development and reduce the care quality as proposed by Shapiro and Applegate (2002). This can have long-term effects on including teen parenthood, failure to graduate from high school, and adult employment. This is also in line with the proposition that the environment and the individual continuously affect each other. Social workers are charged with the responsibility of helping families and parents to overcome obstacles posed by the conditions as well as other elements.
As a social worker one may find the above insight useful regarding understanding the risk factors which affect child care and development. For instance, a child who grows in low-income families is more vulnerable to drop out of school as compared to a child living in well to do families. Most low-income families and those leaving welfare are more likely to live in poverty stricken areas or regions that do not have enough amenities. It is important to note that not all poor children share the same characteristics. A family socioeconomic status has a significant effect on the development of a child. As in the case of other risk factors, socioeconomic status impacts the child to a large extent by affecting their living environments and the kind of care they receive. Shapiro and Applegate (2002) give an example of low-income mothers who are forced to work to provide for their children. Such mothers are less affectionate and less responsive to the distress signals of their children.
In conclusion, the proposition that persons and environments continually influence each is important to a social worker as it gives an understanding as to why children from different backgrounds may be different concerning development. For children living in poverty, development may be slow or retarded as compared with a child hailing from a high-income family. This is because different environments pose different risk factors. Children coming from low-income families may not get an opportunity to continue their education and may be distressed. Living in a poor environment may affect the childs brain development, and these can have long-term effects.
Shapiro, J., & Applegate, J. S. (2002). Child care as a relational context for early development: Research in neurobiology and emerging roles for social work. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 19(2), 97-114.
Yeung W.J, Pfeiffer K.M. (2009). The blackwhite test score gap and early home environment. Social Science Research, 38, 412-437.
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