Information and Referral (I&R) represents the first contact, usually by phone (sometimes as walk-ins), and we have a brief discussion of the problems the client is facing. We provide information and explain the options available to him. We also lay out the pros and cons of each option. If the case is such that the client may need the help of another agency, we tell him where to go. Typically, the client wants to think about his options first, or is able to go to that other agency on his own to seek help.
Intervention is the term we use to describe a situation where TWC2 extends help to a client to a degree greater than a brief conversation (as in I&R). Intervention comes in various forms, e.g.
- we write emails to other agencies on his or her behalf;
- we accompany the person to the hospital or to the police station;
- we fork out some money to help pay for medical or dental treatment;
- we give out some pocket money so he can take the bus to go to hospital, or stay in contact with his family;
- we sign him up for our free meals programme.
Generally, intervention is resource-sensitive. Money, time, and the availability of volunteers set limits on what we can do.
When a social worker or trained volunteer tracks a case and spends several sessions advising a worker, it constitutes a managed case. We do this for cases that are complicated or if they are up against unreasonable employers or an intractable bureaucracy.
With medical cases, we help communicate with doctors to better understand the prognosis or needed treatment, and explain the same to workers. We remain there for the patient when he or she undergoes surgery or rehabilitation.
With salary cases, we assist in computing the amount owed, we compile the evidence the client needs to press his or her case and we follow up on each stage of the dispute resolution process to conclusion.
Case management is very resource-intensive and the needs far exceed our means. But having a social worker monitor a case ensures that all options are explored and resolved as expeditiously as possible.