South San Francisco, CA July 25, 2016 by a Concerned Former Case Worker
The words that came from the caseworkers are unbelievable to me. “I’m sorry we have no record of your file. Oh I’m sorry your case worker no longer works here and we cannot locate your information or referral.” (Okay, well I’m sure there must be some type of case note or record of the shelter referral. )
As a former caseworker we held weekly meetings to discuss any pending shelter referrals, move on costs, delinquent rent, utilities etc. To ensure that each of our caseworkers were accountable for their work. Immediately after taking a shelter referral from a client. We immediately faxed the referral over to the shelter and took a moment of our time to call our contacts at the shelter to ensure all pages were received on the other end. Then we would write a detailed case note. So anyone picking up the file could review where each client was.
A director ( new or old) should always have the answer ( not guess). He told the client I believe that your on the wait list for shelter. Why not simply pick up the phone and verify it. Don’t assume your caseworker did his job. Put your clients mind at ease and verbally verify that she is actually on the wait list. A director needs to be equipped to do some damage control. The lives of homeless families are in your hands. They are already in a vulnerable situation. Everytime they have to go to go back and forth for something that could have been avoided is stressful.
Let me see the first time the client reached out to me on social media I (even though retired) had her placed on the Motel Voucher Program and into the shelter that the YMCA told her there was no space and she should check back with them in August.
This clients was clearly eligible for the Motel Voucher Program with two minor children under age 5 at the time. But yet because of lack of experience or program knowledge she was told to come back several months later. If this omen had not reached out though social media how long would she have waited. These clients put their trust in their caseworker to guide them. I know we were constantly training and maintaining our resources to cover our clients with up to date services and wrap around services.
People are relying on your knowledge and expecting you to be well trained to help them during a very stressful situation. A lot of case management is common sense not requiring a degree. Simple common sense . Put yourself in the clients shoes for a minute. You have to genuinely care and put your best effort into your work. At the no of the day it feels good that you made a huge difference in someone’s life.
It saddens me to see the quality of services that these clients are receiving is far below what they should expect. Trust me when I tell you many of my prior clients reach out directly and I offer my assistance freely whenever possible. It is ridiculous that the funders should be looking very closely at the quality of services they are receiving fir their money these days.
Please see our most recent post about Homeless in South City sleeping on our local streets CLICK HERE