5.2 Kitra and Janelle Case Study

Case Study – Kitra and Janelle

Janelle is five years and 10 months old, and is in senior kindergarten at Lexton Public School. She did not attend junior kindergarten or any early childhood education. As such, she is lagging behind her peers in literacy and numeracy. Kitra is Janelle’s mother. She is now raising Janelle on her own. Janelle is under a supervision order with the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).

History – Bio Mother

Kitra grew up with an alcoholic mother and father who also engaged in substance use. Many people were in and out of her house, including a neighbour who befriended the family. She was left in the care of her neighbour, who sexually abused her on numerous occasions. Kitra told her mother that she didn’t like the neighbour and didn’t want any of his toys. Her mother told her that she can’t like everyone. When Kitra was ten, CAS got involved because her attendance at school was inconsistent. At 12, she appeared depressed and started to engage in self-harm. After a Sexual Health and Sexual Safety presentation in class, she talked to her teacher about what was happening. Kitra was apprehended by CAS. At 18, Kitra left her foster home and moved in with her boyfriend Rino. She was pregnant within three months. When Kitra went to the doctor for a pregnancy check-up, she was told about the Well-baby Program and encouraged to attend when her baby was born.  She did not go back to the doctor. She did not trust them, worrying they might take her baby away.  When Janelle was born, Kitra struggled initially to bond with Janelle. She identified her tremendous fear of not being able to protect her and this worry consuming her. She did not attend the well-baby clinic in case they judged her for how she was caring for her baby.

History – Janelle

Kitra was an overly protective mother citing her past as the reason. When Janelle was 2 years old, her father, Rino left. Kitra and Rino were often in conflict resulting in physical hitting. When Janelle was 4.5 years old, Kitra met a new partner, Will. He had a car, and this contributed to some ease and freedom in their life. Kitra and her new partner decided to live together after 3 months of dating. Soon Kitra would leave Janelle with Will when she was out. At first, Janelle liked Will because he liked her mom but then they started fighting all the time. When her mom went out, Will was mean to her, too, calling her stupid. When Janelle spilled Will’s coffee, he yelled at her and hit her with his hand on the back of her head. She tried to hide from him, but he always found her and yelled and hit her more for trying to hide.  They would fight when her mom was home, and she didn’t stop it.

Once, Will hit her with the phone, and Janelle told her mom, however, Kitra became angry, suggesting that Janelle was making things up and trying to ruin her relationship. She said she could not afford the apartment alone and would not tolerate Janelle making things up and telling lies. Janelle agreed that she was making it up and said sorry to her mom.

Current Situation

Janelle started school in senior kindergarten, she is academically weak, not understanding any numbers or letters and struggling to play cooperatively with other children. Kitra was called to the school for an appointment to discuss support for Janelle to help her academically and help with her transition into the classroom milieu. Kitra did not attend. She called and said she was sick. She sat in Tim Hortons using the free wifi, searching for other nearby schools. She knew her daughter was not “dumb,” and no one was going to tell her she was. She would remove her from a school that did not like her daughter.

Janelle was screened to receive her 4 to 6-year vaccination. The Public Health Unit attended the school to administer the vaccinations. The nurse asked Janelle how she was feeling. She answered not very good. The nurse said that some children are worried about needles, but it will be over in a second, and you always feel better when it is over. She said I don’t think I will feel better. The nurse asked Janelle if she wanted to talk about her feelings. Janelle declined to suggest that a needle won’t hurt. The nurse lifted Janelle’s sleeve to give her the needle. She had a large welt on her arm. She asked Janelle what happened. Janelle said she fell on her floor when she was running or something like that. She gave Janelle the needle on the other arm and asked her to wait the usual time. Before she let Janelle go, she asked her again about what happened to her arm. Janelle said she was playing and fell off the couch. The nurse called CAS. Through an investigation, Will was identified as abusing Janelle. He was charged with physically abusing Janelle, and Kitra was given a choice. Will had to move out of the apartment, or Janelle would be apprehended. A CAS file was opened to monitor the well-being of Janelle. Kitra was referred to counselling at London Women’s Abused Centre. She said she was interested but never followed through. CAS offered a group counselling program for Janelle to address the impact of domestic abuse and child abuse. Kitra agreed to complete the forms. They are currently sitting on the top of her microwave.

  1. Review the Case Study to determine the cause(s) of child abuse.
  2. What can be done to help Kitra and Janelle?  Use this form to help shape your answer: Four Conditions Related to Abuse Practice Chart (PDF – opens in a new tab)
    Note: To save your answers, open this form in Adobe Reader rather than in an internet browser.


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Child Maltreatment: An Introductory Guide With Case Studies Copyright © 2023 by Susan Loosley and Jen Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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