Roles & Responsibilities

Roles & Responsibilities of Case Managers & Social Workers

The Families First program provides case management for children with severe emotional disturbances, who are either out of the home currently, or at risk of being place out of the home in the near future. The mission of the Families First Project is to support families, within their community, by focusing on their strengths, their culture, and their needs, and developing a team of professional and natural supports.

The Families First treatment approach is based upon professional and natural supports and coordination of services provided by many agencies and community members guided by a family team. The family team will be developed by the case manager, the client and the client’s family. Our hope is that the county social worker will be an active, integral member of the team. Using a team model to determine the most appropriate plan of care for severe emotionally disturbed children helps assure that all treatment options are fully evaluated. These include the overall strengths and needs of the family, child protection and community safety.

As an integral member of the family team, it is hoped that the social worker will present family team recommendations to the court. Families First case managers will always be available to accompany social workers and families to court proceedings.

Families First can not be court ordered. Again, it is a voluntary program for families. They must be willing and cooperative throughout the project. However, as with other purchased services, the court may order an already enrolled client to cooperate with recommendations made by that program, or by their social worker.

Responsibilities of Case Managers

  • Upon receiving referral, the case manager will start gathering any information possible on the child.
  • The case manager will contact referral source for further information.
  • The case manager will contact client and family and set initial meeting to explain program and have releases signed.
  • The case manager will meet with family again to complete a full family strength based and needs assessment.
  • Upon completion of assessment, The case manager will enroll family in the project.
  • The case manager will develop the team of supports along with the family. Team members will be both formal and informal supports.
  • The case manager will schedule monthly (more if needed) team meetings. The case manager will facilitate these meetings, set agendas, provide info to team members unable to attend and provide copies of minutes to those that request it.
  • The case manager, along with the full team, will develop Plan of Care and Crisis Plan.
  • The case manager will follow recommendations of the team and set up appropriate services for the family.
  • The case manager will communicate important information and updates between team meetings with team members who need that info.
  • The case manager will monitor the services that are in place and follow the progress that is being made.
  • The case manager will bring ideas of change to the team meetings for areas that no progress is being made.
  • The case manager will be an advocate for their client and family.
  • The case manager will follow all rules and regulations for mandated reporting (Sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, suicidal and homicidal ideations, sex among minors).

Case managers are advocates for their clients and families. The case managers will be building strong, trusting, open and honest relationships with their families. The case manager’s will be entering a partnership with the family and the team as a whole. The case manager’s will be focusing on strengths. Because of this, Families First will not do the following:

  • Provide direct services
  • Conduct U.A’s
  • Monitor Curfew
  • Report Violations to Social Workers
  • Give up on families

If case managers run in to these issues such as drinking, getting high, missing curfew etc., they are not going to ignore them! The case manager’s will look at what services are in place to address the issue and may discuss the issue at a team meeting. Please remember the focus of our program is a partnership with the family, and the team as a whole. Case Managers will not be making decisions on their own.

Difference of Opinion

The staff of Families First understands that social workers and case managers may have a difference of opinion on issues when dealing with clients. These differences cannot be allowed to interfere with meeting the family’s needs and providing necessary and appropriate services. Families First staff believes in empowering parents to decide, along with the family team, what is in the best interest of their child. It is preferable that all workers address concerns early on before conflicts affect the team’s effectiveness and take on a life of their own. We hope that social workers and case managers utilize their respective supervisors when help is needed resolving a conflict. When people have different opinions it can also be brought to the table at the team meetings and talked about professionally. This is especially true when a court hearing may be approaching. By the end of the meeting we hope to reach a consensus of what is best for that child and family. If necessary, having two options to present in court may be appropriate.

The staff of Families First is open to suggestions and a discussion of what role the KCDHS social workers should have. Social workers should feel free to share their concerns or ask questions with the project director or supervisor.