A note on this blogs format - I will not hide my drafts until they are ready. All my writing will be displayed as soon as it's down in bits and bytes. Posts will be labeled Draft and Final according to my view on the topic.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Case Management



Case management is a key function and role of post-disaster recovery. 


If you're unfamiliar with the concept or practice of case management then here's a handy definiton from the National Association of Social Workers:


    The practice of case management varies greatly across social work settings and is even more diverse as applied by other professionals. Despite this diversity, several elements distinguish social work case management from other forms of case management.


    Social work case management is a method of providing services whereby a professional social worker assesses the needs of the client and the client’s family, when appropriate, and arranges, coordinates, monitors., evaluates, and advocates for a package of multiple services to meet the specific client’s complex needs. A professional social worker is the primary provider of social work case management. Distinct from other forms of case management, social work case management addresses both the individual client’s biopsychosocial status as well as the state of the social system in which case management operates. Social work case management is both micro and macro in nature: intervention occurs at both the client and system levels. It requires the social worker to develop and maintain a therapeutic relationship with the client, which may include linking the client with systems that provide him or her with needed services, resources, and opportunities. Services provided under the rubric of social work case management practice may be located in a single agency or may be spread across numerous agencies or organizations. (underline mine)


Case Management and Community Disaster Recovery

Case management is a critical component for community recovery.  An emergency that causes signifiant disruption to a community is most likely a rare or unknown occurance. Post-disaster recovery assistance is (often) unfamiliar territory for those affected by disasters. Case managers guide/prod disaster-affected clients through the recovery process.


The underlined portion of the quote is critical to understanding delay and confusion for affected individuals. Post-disaster case management has typically been organized and run by a collaborative group of non-governmental organizations.  These organizations have developed their case management expertise in non-disaster settings deailng with everyday emergencies like unemployment, child care, psychological or medical referrals, and housing (among many other emergency situations).


Like any disparate organizations working within the same general business space, there are different methods of approaching similar problems and different specialties within each of the agencies. So while the agencies have similar meta-needs their individual preferences may be slightly different. The case management ecosystem is relatively stable in non-disaster situation as everyone has a decent understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, personalities, and capabilities of each other.



Government, NGO's and informational assurance

A key point of understanding in this environment is that government programs and agencies are viewed as source of resources and money. Government is not viewed as an ally. Government is required to attach strings to the money it allocates to social services. It needs to know names, numbers, and the quality of the intervention (for performance indicators). Government would want to know the shoe sizes of the aid recipients if it could reliably capture that information.


Individuals and agencies in governmental social service agencies may not care or want any of this information. There may be an official, if unspoken, rule in a municipality that people are asked for their age rather than date of birth to avoid identiying information.  At some point, though, there's a justified fear that someone, somewhere in the mass of government someone will use information gathered through social service case management to target and persecute a vulnerable individual.


Non-governmental case management agencies work with the most vulnerable populations. The destitute, hungry, sick, physically or mentally impaired, undocumented, squatters, and unemployed are served by the non-governmental case management agencies. NGO case management agencies don't trust government with data about these vulnerable populations.


Responsibility to protect and recovery assistance

The nongovernmental sector ...to be continued


Case Management software

Social Worker- IT Disconnect
Open Source Alternative



Next topics:Coordinated Assistance Network (CAN) and other internal proprietary systems vs. open source CiviCase.

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1 comment:

0s0-Pa said...

FamCare makes a pretty solid human services software, in case anyone needs additional recommendations. Cheers!