Olivia is 15 years old and lives with her father, Luis (age 40), her younger sisters, Catrina (7) and Elena (9), and her brother Sancho (11). Olivia’s mother, an Irish American woman, and her father met and married after Luis moved from Honduras to the US mainland, but their marriage ended when Luis’s wife, Sinead, chose to pursue a new romantic relationship and abandoned the family. Olivia’s mother has had little contact with her children since she left when Olivia was 9 and a year after Catrina was born. Sinead sends birthday and Christmas cards from different places where she is living and working as a traveling nurse. Although she makes good money, she pays no child support, nor does she pay spousal support although she makes twice as much money as Luis.
Olivia’s father, Luis, works two jobs to make ends meet. He is a full-time truck driver on weekdays (having to leave for work before his children are awake) and does maintenance for a retirement center on weekends to support his family. The family rents an apartment, and Luis struggles to manage his family’s living expenses due to rising costs. Olivia assumes much of the responsibility for housework and caring for her siblings because her father is often working away from home. Luis is proud that Olivia can manage so many household duties and tells Olivia she is fulfilling a vital role now and in her future as a wife and mother.
Olivia has been referred to you due to her failing grades and school attendance issues. Olivia has begun to struggle in her classes at school and has missed many days because she is often tired and unfocused. When in school, Olivia is very quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t have many friends. When asked about her performance, she tells her teachers that she worries constantly about her siblings and tries to help them with their homework and learning while keeping up with cooking, cleaning and laundry duties at home. She says that she feels like a disappointment to her teachers and is sad about this. Olivia says she would like to become a veterinarian, but does not see how she will ever be able to attend college because of her father’s expectations for her both in the home and the future. Olivia enjoys reading about the animals of the world in the evenings when her chores are done. Olivia shares that she misses her mother, and she has not seen or talked to here since she left 6 years ago. Although she is proud to be able to help her family, she wishes she had more friends her own age at school and feels as though she has taken her mother’s place at home. She says she does not dare to dream about her future because it seems so bleak.