Social Agency Paper Oakland University Overview For my agency paper, I chose Adult Well Being Services in Detroit, Michigan. According to the website, the agency “works closely with some of our community’s most vulnerable adults, their families and caregivers to provide them the support they need to live independently and with dignity’ (abs. Org). Some of these issues involve mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, aging concerns, HIVE/AIDS, other medical issues, grandparents raising grandchildren, and the need for guardianship and conservatoire’s for legally incapacitated adults.
The field of practice most closely related to our textbook is “Social Work with Older Adults. ” According to Super and Wells, working with the elderly in institutions and their own homes “was not emphasized as a special field until the numbers of elderly people began to increase significantly’ (Super and Wells, 2009, p. 363). The number of Americans age 65 and older is increasing rapidly and is “expected to reach 55 million by 2020” (Super and Wells, 2009, p. 363).
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According to ABS social worker Rebecca Skier, the growing numbers of the aging population present unique halogens and ABS seeks to meet those needs. There are an unknown number of client’s in mental health/substance abuse, Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Aging programs but in the Guardianship Department alone there are approximately 300 clients served. This number changes daily as new appointments are taken and/or clients pass away. There is no cap on the number of clients accepted into the Guardianship Department.
Adult Well Being Services was founded by the Junior League of Detroit in 1953 and has been operating ever since. Originally it was a senior center that provided a social ND recreation place for seniors. Currently, they have five locations in Wayne County. They also provide outreach services in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. (http:// www. abs. Org/about_us/history. HTML). Adult Well-Being Services is a non-profit charity and is not funded entirely by the Campaign and Endowment Fund. Give to the Friends is an annual campaign that helps the agency to meet their unfunded needs.
Individuals who commit to providing long-term support can become a Heritage Club Member. Contribution of $500 or more to the Endowment Fund ensures membership in the Heritage Club. Adult Well-Being Services also relies on the community to donate goods and services for their programs (abs. Org). There are also distinct funding sources for specific departments. For example, Gateway Community Health, Synergy, and the Department of Human Services (DES) provide funding for the Guardianship program. According to Ms.
Skier, funding cuts at the state and local levels coupled with increasing need for services for older adults has proven to be the agency’s most difficult challenge. The currents trends and issues facing the aging population are grandparents gassing grandchildren, health concerns like HIVE/AIDS and diabetes, clients having limited resources (to pay bills, remain independent, feed their families), lack of sufficient insurance coverage (due to cuts to Medicaid/Medicare) and access to reliable transportation.
According to ABS’ Strategic Plan for 2008-2010, the agency has laid out some specific goals that they seek to achieve within these two years. Some key goals are: to increase financial support (by developing new public funding sources and explore funding from the private sector), to demonstrate progressive programs and recesses that meet consumer needs, expand the use of technology, strategic alliancesвЂ?by formalizing university relationships with staffвЂ?and the expansion of services and markets through identification of undeserved areas and strategic marketing (abs. Erg). Social Worker Background I met with Rebecca Skier, ALMS (current ALMS pending upon completion of Clinical Exam scheduled in December; all clinical supervision hours obtained. ) Ms. Skier can be reached via telephone at (313) 550-3716. Ms Skier received her BAA in Psychology from Michigan State University. She earned her MS from Wayne State University in Community Practice and Social Action. She is trained in motivational interviewing, the Stages of Change Model and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. From September 2009 to October 2010, Ms.
Skier worked as a program supervisor at Adult Well-Being Services leading a guardianship department of about 300 consumers and seven employees. She coordinated mental health and medical care, including end of life care. Ms. Skier applied for and followed through with applications for federal and state financial and medical assistance; prepared, filed, ND followed through with Probate Court guardianship applications and annual reports; and coordinated continuum of care from hospital to place of residence. Previously, she worked on an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team as a Clinical Case Manager.
She provided psychological evaluations and crisis intervention for adult consumers with severe and persistent mental illness, substance abuse, and individualized treatment plans and monitored treatment progress, monitored medication and other needs to keep her clients living independently in the community. She was recently hired at the University Of Michigan Hospital as a clinical social worker on the outpatient Kidney Transplant Unit. She will be evaluating patients with kidney disease to see if they meet criteria to be placed on the transplant list.
Ms. Skier is a member of NASA and ABS and had this to say about her motivation for entering social work: I had a particular interest in social issues at a young age, for no apparent reason. I have always had a “strong sense of Justice”, even in childhood. In my literature classes in high school I often wrote about racism and discrimination. I became very interested in advocating for others who were “discriminated against”. I’m still not sure how I became so interested in these issues because I came from a very small town where I was pretty sheltered.
Later, I became more interested in human behavior and mental health issues. After receiving my psychology degree I wanted to work with individuals with mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness in the community. I think originally I was more interested in understanding the behaviors around these issues but then later realized I wanted to work more directly with clients. Social Worker Role According to Ms. Skier, the roles and duties of social workers in the agency include, but are not limited to, at least monthly home visits to the clients in the community.
The clients are in a variety of settings: nursing home, Adult Foster Care homes, assisted living, state psychiatric hospital, independent, with family. The clients are deemed “legally incapacitated individuals” by the probate court, therefore, the guardianship team makes all medical, mental health, financial, legal, residential, and end of life care (if appropriate) on behalf of the clients. The social workers (called Guardianship Workers) include the clients input on all decisions made (when necessary) and help them to set and meet their own goals while allowing for as much independence as possible.
In addition to home visits, social workers at ABS may spend time at the Social Security Administration, care conferences, Individualized Plans of Service, at the hospital, mental health clinic, day program, or in court. Each social worker has to have strong problem solving and crisis intervention skills along with strong assessment and documentation skills. As a program supervisor, she did all of the above (with a smaller caseload) and also supervised the staff, did the budget, and all court hearings and proceedings and end of life care. Ms.
Skier stated that each day was completely different and that social workers have to be completely flexible with their schedules because problematic or crisis situations need to be handled immediately. Her typical day started at the office, checking phone messages and emails for any problematic cases or crisis intervention situations. She then opened all mail and completed any necessary government Skier spent most of the late morning and afternoon completing home visits, attending care conferences and going to the Social Security Administration.
Mondays and Tuesdays were heavy court hearing days; so many long mornings were spent at the Wayne County Probate Court. According to Ms. Skier, the most difficult challenge at ABS was being short staffed due to financial cuts and having extremely high caseloads The caseloads became increasingly demanding, yet the services were becoming less available. There growing number of Adult Protective Service referrals. These cases were usually very difficult and time consuming. They required frequent visits to the home and often resulted in the physical removal of the client from their home with police and ambulance assistance.
There are often difficult family members involved in these cases and many times the clients were victims of abuse and/or neglect. Ms Skier did have several rewarding experiences in Guardianship, specifically when she was able to safely assist an elderly or disabled person who may have been living in deplorable or dangerous situations to a safe residential setting and helped them to acclimate to their new surroundings. It was also rewarding for her to successfully assist a client’s transition work from a state psychiatric facilities successfully back into the community.
It was highly rewarding for her to witness her clients becoming active members of society again and taking a strong role in their recovery. She also really enjoyed building therapeutic relationships with the clients and their families. Ms. Skier believes that the greatest misconception about the agency and/or the profession is the misconception that social workers are not held up to the same standards as nurses or physicians in the hospital or clinical setting. She thinks that tit due to current licensing regulations that social work is slowly being recognized as more of a profession. Ms.
Skier keeps up to date with the field by reading social work literature, researching the best practices for clients, and by attending Guardianship National Conferences. She attends workshops in various social work fields of practice. After successful completion of her clinical exam in December, she plans to keep up to date with all of her Continuing Education Credits (Cues). She meets at least once a month with some of her colleagues to “debrief” and learn more about the types of issues hey are dealing with. Overall Impressions There are definite similarities between our text book commentary and my interview with Ms.
Skier regarding case management. According to Super and Wells, case managers working with the elderly population are skilled at “helping older adults remain safely, independently, and happily within their own homes” but also “helping older adults and their families to cope with transitions to more dependent status when needed” (Super and Wells, 2009, p. 366). Particularly working with older adults. As the aging population grows, I am relatively ere that Job prospects in this particular field of practice will be immense by the time I graduate.
I know that I would enjoy helping adults transition back into the community, but would have difficulty pulling the unwilling out of their homes. I may be interested in working with the elderly in some capacity at some point in the future, but for now I am gathering as much information as possible on the intricacies of each field before I decide on one in particular. This experience has validated my ideas about social work on the positive side regarding helping individuals adjust to ewer–and hopefully better circumstances–and on the negative side regarding minimal funding and huge caseloads.
It is my sincere wish that in the future, the economy will turn around allowing for increased funding, in general, and especially enough to take care of the aging men and women, parents and grandparents who have raised us throughout the years. References Super, Mary Ann. , & Wells, Caroline Cress. , (2009). The social work experience: An introduction to social work and social welfare, 5th edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc. Http://www. abs. Org/about_us/history. HTML