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Kern County Network for Children

Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Tips from Case Managers to Case Managers

The following information came from the 2009 DR Orientation held in September 2009. Case managers from DR sites and Department of Human Services were asked to provide tips to other case managers in the areas of client-case manager relationships and safety in the context of Differential Response.

How do you get a client to accept DR Services?

I listen to the client when they are talking to social worker during investigation or while talking to me and use there needs to suggest resources.

Approach as a cheerleader – work as a team. Remind them of the benefits a cheerleader/advocate can offer as far as referrals and information.

Talk about advantages of services.

Tell them DR will link them with community resources.

Stress that is voluntary and they can end services at any time.

I explain our services allow CPS to step back and allow us to help with family. We report to CPS the progress we have made with family.

Convince the client of the benefits of DR services that would assist their specific needs and will keep them out of system.

Be friendly and have suggestions on how I can help with issues on the referral. Let them know I can be a support system to help with issues so that CPS won’t be called out again.

I emphasize all the positive aspects of having a DR worker involved. Typically, the clients want and welcome the additional assistance.

Show concern for their family. Interact with the children and tell them about the things that I would be able to help them with.

You get the change to work with DR and not have CPS on your back. If you get another CPS report and you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, it’ll look better for your situation.

I build a close connection such as trust and offer all the services that I feel will help this client. A big friendly smile and a well known face. To me it’s like selling a car.

I explain and provide resources that are available on an ongoing basis.

Explain to them that your goal is to help them and their family and you will do what ever you can in their benefit.

Be patient and understanding. Listen to what they have to say. You don’t have to fix all their problems on the first visit. Get them to trust you. Be real.

Find out what the client needs and focus on talking about providing that service.

Explain services you can offer. Make a return appointment to do a family assessment then they can see exactly how you can help. Don’t overdress in business attire – casual dress only!

Place the family in the driver seat. Ask THEM what it is the need before TELLING them what they’re going to do.

After introducing myself and my program, I ask about their family situation. I inform them that my job is to connect families with resources and services in the community. I stress our program is a follow-up to CPS (if CPS referral). But we’re not CPS – that our job is to help families to become self sufficient. I provide examples of agencies to which we refer families.

Make it clear that you are not with CPS, that you are there to help them make CPS go away.

You focus on their strengths.

Help them understand that this could help them get away from CPS. Plus, advertise services that apply directly to their circumstance.

Explain services and benefits of program.

Be very excited when explaining the program, because if it shows that you truly believe in DR and the benefits of the program – the client is much more likely to accept DR services and give the program a try.

Tell them you are not CPS.

I explain the benefits of DR and let them know it’s for assistance and help prevent them from getting another CPS referral. I also let them know DR is not CPS, so it’s nonthreatening.

Explain to the family and or parent that DR is more flexible than CPS and that DR does not have the ability to remove children. You want to engage the family and for them to participate more to accomplish their goals be supportive and non judgmental.

Highlight their strengths (you work while your kids are in school and are home by 3 to meet them, you coach your child’s sport team, etc) then show them how those strengths can be increased with your support to increase family stability.

Take something with you – diapers, cleaning supplies, etc.

Talk about all the benefits of the program and emphasize that it is the easiest way to get and keep CPS out of their lives.

By explaining my job with the family, the amount of resources that I come across to help them overcome their barriers.

I try to find out what problems the family has and I let them know about DR and how they are through Clinica and not DHS and I let them know that DR is a resource to help those in need and they may benefit.

How do you build rapport with a client?

Start with mentioning strengths you see.

Sense of humor has always worked in my experiences.

Find a common interest and find something in the home that you can compliment them on.

Ask them to tell you what is going on with their children.

Be honest with them and do what you say you will do for or with them.

Find common interests. Especially on Path 2’s – – look around the house. Similar hobbies? Do they have kids your age? Etc. Build a bridge of trust before pitching the program.

I listen to family needs, I always keep my word to build confidence and trust in me. I call family to follow up with answers to questions or give information. I also use myself or other client’s situations to get families attention when in similar situations.
Find something in common with client. See client weekly for the first month be consistent and provide resource information.

With kinds, I build rapport by asking them simple questions about school, friends and hobbies. With adults, I ask about family structure, where they work and comment on their home.

By letting clients know everything is confidential, and being non-judgmental as well as always being available as needed.

Bring gifts for the children.

Acknowledge pets and their names. It becomes an instinct; you look for something good in the home to start talking about. I explain we’re funded by many sources, one being nutrition and I have them fill out a nutrition survey “non threatening”. Then I pull out my Matrix sheet and go down the list asking them general and specific questions which usually lead to creating goal sheets.

Build a bond with the children – talk to them – compliment them etc. The parent will see you care and the child will also.

You keep appointments, be on time and be honest at all times. You let the client/family know you are there for them and provide them with what you say you are going to provide them with and always be professional.

Ask about their background, where they were born.

Insignificant small talk – ice breaker. Get them to smile some hoe or laugh if possible.

Active listening allowing them to tell their story providing feedback on their situation.

By listening, giving them different options and let them know that it takes team work to succeed.

Be yourself! Don’t try to be someone you’re not because you will lose credibility. Be honest if you don’t know something.

Listen to the client to find out what is important to them.

Find a point of relationship. Example – stories about your experiences (challenges) with your kids, etc.

Find a “hook” which could be something you see in their home that they like or say in conversation. This technique helps reel them in.

Listen to the family issues. Have an open discussion and involve other family members when appropriate ex. Children. Ask/involve family solution offer advise; resources. Look at the positive; strengths family has and praise.

Treat clients with respect as you want to be treated find common interest or family interest.

Talk to the client like a Real Person! Have a conversation with the client instead of asking a lot of questions like you are conducting an interview. Remember we are family advocates not investigative SW’s!

Participate in active listening – visit with the family at least four times in a month for a new referral.

Smile at meeting/engagement, listen, feedback on feelings, non-confrontational regarding allegations or judgmental.

Find something you have in common with the family. Share some of your experiences – but not too much.

Be a good listener and relate to what they are saying by sharing experience stories or repeating what they tell you so they know you are understanding them.

Believe in what you do and they will believe you can support them. Thank them for allowing you into their home, even if they didn’t have much choice.

Be understanding of their situation and being a good listener.

Try to very respectful; always treat clients how you would like to be treated.

We clarify that we are on their side and describe some of the services we provide.

Begin with a good communication, make them trust you and let them know that you are there to help and bring services to them and their families.

Active listening – repeat BACK to them what they tell you. Let you dialogue reflect that you have listened to and understand what they’ve told you.

I try my best to be respectful. I am as nice and non-threatening as possible. I try to let them know I am here to help and not hurt their family.

Use open ended questions. Think of the client as the expert on his/her situation. Be unbiased/don’t make assumptions.


How do you stay safe on a home visit?

Carry pepper spray and police whistle – stay by front door.

Stay alert and keep a close path to door.

Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of exits and who is in the home.

Scope out the surrounding area before parking, wear safe shoes and sit where I can see the area around me. Carry pepper spray.

Position myself in the home where it’s closest to the door. Evaluate the home, making sure it’s safe.

Before I get out of the car, I observe my surroundings and talk to the client at the door/entry way.

Always assessing the environment; it is important to know something about the neighbor and clients.

To protect against dogs – carry an umbrella.

Be very observant of the neighborhood and your surroundings. Always sit close to the exit as much as possible. Learn how to deescalate situations.

When you are on a home visit try to keep yourself closer to the exit than the client.

Prepare before going out (know the family’s history). Be respectful. Be flexible (people become angry when they feel they’re not being treated fairly or being listened to).

Check surroundings and ask client who is all is in the home. Carry cell phone in hand.
Move the gate handle so it makes noise to check for dogs. Do not park right in front of the home.

Don’t sit with your back to the door. Don’t get too comfortable! Be aware of your surroundings.

Pray, pray, pray, have 911 ready on cell phone. Act trustworthy, treat people with respect. Act like you are following orders.

Always be aware of your surroundings. If something just doesn’t “feel right” you can come back later and ask another co-worker to come with you.

If you don’t get cell phone reception – take someone with you or meet at the office. Do background check. Survey the area – is it too secluded? Go when the kids will be at home.

Be aware of your surroundings. Always know and have easy access to exit.

Always leave info at the office about where you are going such as address, clients name, etc.

Supervisors should KNOW where you are when out in the field. Keep you phone on and charged.

We always have a cell phone to ask for assistance if needed.

Watch my surroundings and ask to meet with everyone in home.

Shake gate(s) before entering a home, just in case family has a loose dog in the yard. Watch my surroundings and stay near the door.

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