I would shadow case workers on home visits and watch their interactions and management styles. I would observe court hearings and help write court reports. I would also supervise family visits which would include transportation. I helped with case management by completing service referrals and other paperwork needed for the case. I also participated in many different training opportunities that further expanded my knowledge on substance abuse, trauma, and what services and agencies are offered in this area.
My biggest accomplishment was writing a social history court report. This is a report that is completed at the beginning of a court case that is needed at the first hearing. I was assisting a case worker that was overwhelmed and needed help getting it finished on time. It was a very big task that involved a lot of research but I was very proud of the work I did and it really helped me develop a better understanding of the case and what information is relevant for a report.
My biggest lesson was to always be straightforward with the clients. They deserve to have the respect of a real answer. If the answer is "I don't know" then that's the answer they deserve until you can find out a better answer and provide it to them. I learned this from observing the different types of case management styles, I noticed that the workers had better relationships and were given more respect when they didn't beat around the bush. Oftentimes these clients are overwhelmed and need some solid answers to lean back on!
What advice would you give?
Don't be disappointed by the learning curve of working in the field!!! You're going to make mistakes and it's going to be okay. Just remember to always ask for help, no one is going to think you're an idiot, they want to help you learn!