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My social work placement practice is at PS 2 in Troy New York that is a public Focus school. As a Focus School, there is a focus on the improvement of pupils in areas that are specific to the school. The school’s mission is the provision of students with learning opportunities directed towards fostering academic proficiency while also modeling and expecting a strong character from all and collectively own and celebrate the school community. The school’s vision is that it seeks to ensure the “graduation more than 90% of students, college and career ready and will achieve annual improvements in overall student achievement by narrowing the achievement gap for all sub-groups each year, for the next five years” (Troy, 2017).
The school is within an urban school district and is dedicated to ensuring that its graduates 90 percent of its students who are not only college but career ready. The service outcomes that the school seeks include ensuring the delivery of high-quality education that is not only beneficial to the student but also the society as a whole.
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Within the organization’s context, the role of the social worker is the provision of services that improve the lives of the individuals being served. With regards to this goal, the organization has1 social worker, 1 psychologist, 1 mental health counselor, 1 student support specialist, 1 family advocate and 1 mental health therapist that use the school as a host setting twice a month. The multidisciplinary composition of the social work is to ensure the provision of the needed services from a multidisciplinary perspective.
One of my roles as a social worker in the organization is to identify social, behavioral issues amongst the students. Another role is to meet weekly with assign students to help them make better choices and discuss issues that are school and family related. The students with IEP (Individualized Education Program) are mandated to have weekly sessions and work on goals that they want to achieve such as learning how to manage frustration that affects their social and behavioral skills. Another role as a social worker involves assisting the ratio classes which are the learning and social developmental classes. The students in these classes have an IEP, and many take various medications to help with their behavior issues. The population that I work with is the elementary age children who have adversaries that affect their social and learning skills.
The other identified agency is Start Children Center Inc., and the contact person is Heather Franckwika. The intake process at the children center includes the basic client information, in-depth interview for cases such as rape or human trafficking and this includes a complete health screen and may include the police and a physician. All the services offered at the center are free, and the school works closely with the counseling team at PS S.
From the case manager’s perspective from the Start Children Center Inc., the agency is solution focused and has many programs that can help my clients work through their problems. Such is due to the closeness not only on the issues faced as well as the approaches to their solution.
From the potential client perspective, the children’s center provides the support that a potential client may require right from the initial contacting period. As I contacted the institution, there was continued support and concern from the institution right from the initial phone call to arriving at the Start Children’s Center. On arrival at the center, the staff was also inviting and willing to provide the support that I needed, and this included taking me through all the services provided by the institution. The staff was attentive to all the potential clients, and this provided the feeling of being in the right place as one’s issues would be addressed. Most important is the fact that the staff was willing to provide solutions that were customer centered and not just solutions defined during the training sessions.
The only issue I see that may arise is that the center only caters for the residents of Troy NY where the center is located. Such is because the organization does not provide clients with contact information within their districts. The importance of providing such services beyond the district is to support the vulnerable populations when they are beyond Troy, New York. Support services are meant to ensure that the client does not wallow back into the situation bringing about the negative outcomes. As Brun and Rapp (2001) note, one of the characteristics of being oppressed is having their story buried under the forces of stereotype or ignorance. From this perspective, it becomes important for social workers to ensure that they do not ignore the plight of those seeking the required services. As such, the lack of support services beyond Troy, New York points to an issue that may bring about shortcomings in need to ensure that the affected populations have positive outcomes.
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On the advantages in accessing the services offered by the center, the agency is grant funded and nationally accredited by the children advocacy center. The implication is that the center has the resources it needs to ensure that it offers the services needed by the clients. On the other hand, the accreditation by the advocacy center implies that the services offered by the center are in line with the requirements of the advocacy center. Another advantage in the access to services at the center is that it is located on a bus line and they also provide cab services when necessary. The implication is that transport and access to the center is not an issue for anyone seeking the services at the center.
Another advantage that the center offers is that they are growing and will be moving into a bigger space to accommodate a larger number of clients. The bigger space also implies that the center can also expand the provision of its services to support a larger clientele. Importantly, the center always finds solutions that will wrap around the client’s needs. Such is an important aspect because clients come with diverse needs that require solutions that are individualized. In consideration of the fact that the center provides social support to children, the place is child-friendly with toys for all ages, and this seems to keep them occupied while I visited.
No potential barriers were identified in accessing the services offered at the center, and the implication as a case manager is that the center is effective in the dispensation of the needed services as related to social work. Access to services for all populations is seen as one of the most important aspects of the efficient delivery of services, and as a case manager, the center provides the suitable environment for individuals seeking the social work services.
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My overall impression of the agency is that they focus on delivery of efficient services as seen from how they reach out to their other community services and programs including the department of social service and mental health department to ensure every program within their agency is workable. Collaboration is an important part of the delivery process as there is a linkage between different services directed towards the public. As noted Bedell, Cohen, and Sullivan (2000) note, effective case management is one that provides the full service, and collaboration with other stakeholders provides such a platform. Another impressive area is on how they develop programs to fit the needs of their community in what is visibly an approach to the delivery of value to their clients. Considering the different strengths that the center has, I will develop strategies to interact with the agency by becoming part of their referral source; I will ask them to mentor me being a new counselor with the same aspiration helping school-age children and adolescents.
In the identification of the outside agency, my field supervisor gave me a list of their community resources PS 2 use for their students. I chose this agency because it is geared towards addressing issues such as trauma and emotional issues for the population under the age of 18. The agency also portrays itself as an institution dedicated to finding the solution necessary in addressing the plight of the population that it serves. As such, the choice of the agency was based on its result-oriented approach to serving its population.
- Bedell, J., Cohen, N., and Sullivan, A. (2000). Case management: The current best practices and the next generation of innovation. Community Ment Health J, 36(2), 179-94.
- Brun, C., and Rapp, C. (2001). Strengths-based case management: Individual’s perspective on strengths and the case manager relationship. National Association of Case Workers, Inc.
- Troy. (2017). About us. Retrieved from http://www.troycsd.org/about-us/