Jim is a 13-year-old Haitian immigrant. He lives with his family in a ghetto in Houston. The neighborhood is a known haven for crack users and dealers, and is characterized by extreme violence and gang-related activity. The family located in Houston because extended familymembers had previously located there. Despite economic hardships, the family is close-knit. Jim is the youngest of three siblings. His oldest brother, 19, is in prison for possession of crackwith intent to distribute. His 17-year-old sister and her two-year-old son live in the household. She is heavily involved with drugs and her son was exposed prenatally to crack.
Jim's mother, age39, is employed in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Jim's father, age 40, is a construction daylaborer. They have lived in the U.S. for six years, having escaped political oppression in Haiti.The family lives in a small, two-bedroom apartment. Jim's mother takes pride in the few family possessions that they have acquired since moving to the U.S. She collects religious icons and isactive in her community church. She and Jim's father have been married for almost 20 years. Theyare very disturbed by the difficulties their children are having. They hope that Jim will be "their success." He is physically healthy and very athletic. If he can get his grades up, he has a chance toplay on the school soccer team. He is likable and makes friends easily. Jim is two years behind in school and has a great deal of difficulty concentrating.
Each year he has been referred to the counselor for "disrupting the class and causing problems." He has been before the juvenile court three times for petty theft, vandalism, and fighting. He was just picked up again on a more serious charge of selling cocaine. When apprehended, he was under the influence of crack and admitted to "using" whenever he "feels like it," but he denied having any problem with drugs.