There are several issues that are relevant to this discussion that the social worker will have to help with as she gets into the process. A major issue will be what is best for Jacob and this can be seen in many different ways. Although he has always lived in London and he has probably been raised white (because Joanna is white, his father died when he was a baby, and his Nigerian family is not in contact with him), his father was Nigerian. At some point in his life, Jacob may want to be involved with his Nigerian family or know more about his heritage. There is no discussion in the case study about why his Nigerian family has no contact, but he may need this as he gets older. Joanna states that she wants him to be around other Black and mixed race children and adults, he may not feel comfortable with black people until he understands more about his own heritage.
The Nigerian family that Jacob wants to stay with is wealthy and could provide for Jacob's needs easily. Their culture suggests that he would be taken care of well. According to Nigerian culture, children are very important to Nigerian culture. Burns (2008) studied the idea of parent-child interaction and how communication happened between parents and children in Nigerian families. Generally, their children are taught to be obedient and at a very young age, they have the responsibility of doing chores. This is something that Jacob may already be experiencing and this is a good way for him to fit into the Nigerian family. According to the BBC Report (2005), another issue that Jacob may have to deal with would be the difference between living in a multicultural situation that was not his own, and fitting into this space. The Report suggests that many young people have to live between the Western world and their Nigerian culture. However, there are many networks in London for Nigerians so Jacob could learn a lot about his culture if he lives with his friend's family. It should also be noted that by nature and culture, Nigerians are a multi-racial and multi-ethnic people, so James' family may already have a wealth of friends. Jacob may have already learned some about his culture through them and possibly eaten Nigerian food -- this could be some of the reason why he would like to live with them.
Another issue to consider in this situation is what Smith et al (2009) found in their study: that "own-group racial preferences increased with age" (p. 145). It can be said that Jacob may find that as he gets older, he will want to know more people who are of his racial identity.
Impending Crisis and Grief
The family is not in crisis yet, but there may come a time when they are in it. In the beginning of contact with the family, the social worker must understand that the family may not be totally ready to talk about Joanna's death because they are not close enough to it yet. This will be a good time to start talking to the two families to see who will be the best choice for Jacob. This conversation should be done before the crisis begins or before Joanna gets too close to death if possible.
Jacob's life would be very different with Joanna's sister because she lives in a