There are several case management principles which I feel are crucial and have been crucial to my practice. They help ensure that I am doing the best for both my clients and the organization for which I work.
a. Transparency: I make sure that clients are aware of what I am doing for them and with them as well as the information I have to share with others
b. Self- determination: I respect all of my clients’ right to make decisions for themselves
c. Empowerment: I provide my clients with the information and resources they need in order to address presenting problems and any other needs
d. Responsibility: This principle is 2 fold. I take full responsibility for the work I do with and on behalf of my clients. I make sure I do what I say I will do or inform those involved if I cannot. I also empower my clients to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of these actions by ensuring they are making informed decisions.
e. Engagement: I take the time to get to know my clients, to meet them where they are and give them time to get to know me and how I work. I respond to their queries promptly and keep up to date with what is going on in their lives.
f. Individualization: This is my unspoken promise to my clients. I promise that I will not compare them to other clients I’ve had nor will I treat them as though they are like anyone else. I promise to treat my clients like individuals whose problems are specific to them and deserve to have their specific circumstances considered.
g. Time management: Social Work is one of those professions where it can be difficult to see to all the tasks that need to be undertaken however, time management is crucial. Setting aside time to do all the things one might need to will ensure that your work gets done.
h. Balancing paperwork and direct practice: This is self explanatory , we are in Social Work/Social Services, not admin/secretarial work. We need to be able to document the work we do with clients but more importantly is actually doing the work with clients. We need to balance the two to ensure that we are satisfying both sets of responsibilities – organizational and client.
This list is by no means exhaustive and I am sure there are things I missed but at the very base of my case management and subsequent Social Work practice are these principles which help me ensure that I am meeting my responsibilities as a Social Worker as well as working in an anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory paradigm.