Friday, May 14, 2010

Struggling with Limitations of my Work

So I have a household, a middle aged couple, who's making irresponsible -- constantly irresponsible financial choices. I'm able to give them short term help on occasion (gift card on occasion for example) when they reach out to me once in a while but it feels like it's so little. Harder than that is knowing that it doesn't change anything from the foundation. Because of the nature of my program client participation is voluntary and clients aren't obligated to follow up with us. It's not that expectations aren't developed with some clients nor do we blindly give goods or consistently help clients who only come to us for help with these items. But these expectations are typically made between the client and his case manager.

It's hard to realize the limits of my work. When it almost feels like I'm painting one side of the wall of a house while a another side of it is deteriorating. Ideally case management is holistic, particularly when a client  has a multitude of challenges -- like budgeting, getting health coverage or services, housing concerns. But if the client only wants one service, specifically goods, but isn't necessarily approaching you with an angry or particularly entitled attitude (and thus is more sympathetic), and clearly seems to be struggling it's difficult not to help. As I've written before, it's even more difficult to accept that sometimes the client just doesn't want to work with me on a deeper level (like life skills) and as a case manager I need to both accept that and decide what I am able and willing to offer.

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