Things that Upset Me..

December 19, 2009

Sometimes this job comes with depressing issues which you can’t control. Like when I have a gay couple on my case load whose been together forever, and there’s nothing I can do for them. If they’re homeless, I can’t shelter them together because they’re not married. If they have no income, I can’t put them on a joint income plan, and so on.

I’d really like to see something happen for these situations. Weather it’s an all gay shelter system put in place, or it’s some type of benefits instituted, we need a fix for this.


When Clients make things more difficult…

December 4, 2009

Some days you just feel like ramming your head into a wall when you ask clients to do simple things, and they just can’t be bothered.  Or better yet, they keep coming back to see you over and over and over until they get the answer they want to hear, which in most cases is still no.

Then, my personal favorite. Your supervisor asks you why you haven’t told him to bring in certain documents or to get certain documents, which is usually around the time I begin to have somewhat of a breakdown, and I respond in the best, most rational voice I can find, “I ‘VE BEEN ASKING HIM ALL WEEK!”

On Call..

November 24, 2009

In my office, we all take turns at on call rotation, meaning you must be available 24 hours a day for a certain period of time. Usually around 1 to 2 days, and yes, we do get paid more for taking it.

Some caseworkers are on call more than others, and usually the senior case managers get the on call days that everyone wants; weekends and holidays.

I know it sounds a little crazy to actually want to be on call over the weekend or a holiday, but the money is great if you can snag one.

I’m usually on call a couple of times a month during the week. They give you a pager, and the damn thing might go off all night, and might not go off at all. At that point you call the client back to see what their issue is, and try everything you can to resolve their problem at 3am. Not always easy.

One thing I do want to be clear about, we DO NOT go out in the field when we’re on call. Everything is to be done over the phone only. If for whatever reason you can’t resolve the problem(and most times you can’t ) you make them an appointment to come into the office the following day to see whatever caseworker is in charge of their case.

Dangers on the Job

November 13, 2009

Being a Case manager/worker has it’s dangerous side, especially when you tell clients something they might not want to hear, want to do, etc. This is a daily part of our job, but there’s times when clients can take it to an extreme, and this particular situation is no exception.

The other day one of my colleagues clients was angry with her due to the fact that her case had to be closed, because the client was non compliant in many areas. The client had came back into the office, demanded to see my co-worker, and when the client couldn’t be seen, she left an envelope for my co-worker full of half filled out documents and rat poison. No kidding.

To make a long story short, the police were called in, reports were filled out, and the client is never to be seen by social services again, basically for trying to harm her caseworker.

I often wonder how various forms of county case management deal with similar issues. I happen to be in a unit where field work isn’t required, but if I were in the child protective unit, or the fraud investigative unit, I would have to go into clients homes without any backup. Scary.

There are times when you can get a police escort in situations where you feel unsafe, but you can’t have an officer with you everytime, seeing as how about 90% of your job is out of the office.

A day in the life…

November 11, 2009

As a county caseworker for social services, I’m often faced with demanding clients who seem to think I’m there to fix every single situation that comes down the road. You name it, they will drop it in your lap.

I’m one of 4 case managers in my department, all of us stressed out, bogged down and overwhelmed with the insanity we face on a daily basis.

My favorite conversation with clients usually goes something like this.

Client: “My landlord called and said I have to be out in 3 weeks if I don’t pay rent.”

Me: “Why aren’t you paying your rent?”

Client: “Cause I don’t have any money.”

Me: “That’s not true. Social services pays your rent, and you also have some cash we send you every month. So I’ll ask you again. Why aren’t you paying your rent?”

Client: “cause I have to buy food and stuff”.

Me: ” You get food stamps.”

Client: “So?”

Me: “So? So didn’t we discuss a budget process where you could afford everything you need? ”

Client: “Whatever. Just fix my problem.” That’s your job.”

Me: “No, that’s not my job. My job is to help you get stabilized, not to bail you out everytime you use money we provide you for things other than what it’s intended for.”

Client: “You people are useless, I’m outta here!”

At this point, the client storms off, and I go back to my office. I make a round of phone calls, and find out the client has been violating the tenant agreement, never paid one once of rent, and sometimes that the landlord even went as far as to work out an agreement with the client to help them out. As I dig further, I find out  my client has been arrested a few times throughout the month for either drug possession, violation of probation, or a slu of other issues. 

A few hours later, my phone is ringing with returned phone calls from parole officers and public defenders.

Rinse, repeat.