In my opinion the three most prevalent social problems in New York City are unemployment, homelessness, and childcare. These three things go hand in hand in many cases. For example; there are many single parent households that do not have the adequate support systems in place. Therefore if the head of household doesn’t have childcare in place for them to be able to earn a living for their family they may end up losing their job and they will not have any income to pay the bills and they could end up facing eviction and eventually end up homeless. As human service professionals we have to be able to connect our clients to the services that they need. Guidelines for Confidentiality
Confidentiality is very important to protect clients and their information. To assure that we are protecting their privacy we must obtain consent before any consultation and when making referrals to any outside agency. The best way guard the client’s confidentiality is through informed consent and a release of information form. An informed consent is when you meet with a client and you explain in detail how will the information that they share with you will be handled and before making a referral to an outside agency you explain to them what information will be given to that agency. By doing this the client has been informed of what type of information will be used for the referral process. The release of information form will state exactly what information will be given to the outside agency.
The human service professional is responsible for going over this form with the client to make sure that they comprehend what is stated on the form. Once this is accomplished the client is required to sign the document to give us written consent for their personal information to be shared with an outside agency. In addition another way to protect the client’s confidentiality is to not share any information with friends or family members. In the case when it is necessary to converse with other human service professionals about one of our clients in your caseload, one can only share the necessary information when asking for advice on how to come up with a solution for that client. Guidelines for Making and Evaluating Referrals
When working with clients and making referrals on their behalf, it is key to follow up with clients on a regular basis. There are several different ways that human service professionals can accomplish this. We must make sure that we keep updated contact information like phone numbers, addresses and email addresses for each client so that they can be reached. An appointment can be set up for the client to come into the office and then the human service professional can inform the client about the types of services available and the referrals that will be made. To track the success of the referral a case manager can call the client or the agency to check in. A different way to track a referral is to set up an appointment with the client to discuss how the referral is progressing. This way you are able to assess the how the client is feeling about the referral and see if the client is in need of additional services. Identifying Barriers
To best serve our clients human service professionals must be able to take preventative action on the different barriers that may arise in a client’s situation while receiving help through our agency or the outside resource. It is our responsibility to be able to identify possible barriers when working with clients. This way we are better prepared to support our clients on their way to success. The main one that comes to mind is a language barrier. Many of our clients may not be fluent in reading, speaking or understanding English therefore making it hard for them to seek help or actually following up with their referral appointments. Usually when we have a client that has to be referred to an outside agency they are required to go to multiple appointments which brings us to out next barrier; not having transportation to get to and from their appointments. Timeline for Referrals
When clients are referred to outside agencies human service professionals need to follow up with the client in a timely manner to ensure that the clients are getting help based on their needs and reaching their goals. Human service professionals should make referrals the same day if possible depending on the situation or as soon as possible. Once the referral is made human service professionals may contact the client or agency regarding if the client kept the appointment and to see how things are progressing. Human service professionals are also required to continue with checking in on a regular basis to see how things are going for the client. Guidelines for Coordinating Services
Once referrals have been made for the client human service professionals can help them keep track of the services they are receiving. There are ways that this can be accomplished; one is a checklist for the client so that way they can write down the information and carry it with them if needed. With this clients are able to always keep track of all appointments and other important information. Another way to help clients keep track of services is to make sure the client has given a current phone number and possibly an email address to the agencies so that they can be contacted about upcoming appointments/ meetings.