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KVC Kansas

A Week in the Life of a Foster Care Case Manager

Here at KVC, we know we all need connection. And that’s at the heart of a case manager’s work. Put simply, a case manager is a social services professional who specializes in assessing the needs of clients and provides appropriate resources to better accomplish their goals.

There’s no such thing as a typical day in the life of a case manager — because no two days are the same! But what all their days have in common is a heart for those they help. At KVC Kansas, case managers as well as the whole permanency team are valued, appreciated and celebrated each day.

Get to know KVC Kansas’ Permanency Department and see what a week in the life of a case manager is all about.

What Does a Case Manager Do?

Case managers bring compassion and professionalism to those they serve, helping children and families as a central point of contact. Their primary roles involve assessing clients’ needs, developing personalized care plans and coordinating access to essential resources and support services. Case managers work tirelessly to advocate for those they serve, offering guidance, encouragement and practical assistance.

case managerFor those looking into a career as a case manager, there are a few things required to begin. Some begin their case management career as a family support professional, which does not require a specific degree. However, many feel it’s beneficial to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work to gain additional knowledge about how to help their clients more holistically.

Essential Case Manager Duties

For a case manager, no two days are the same! Case manager duties often include the following:

  • Providing crisis response services and helping clients navigate difficult situations
  • Helping children with foster placements
  • Managing paperwork, records and referrals for services
  • Finding resources for families
  • Meeting with clients, including in-home or office visits
  • Supervising visitation appointments
  • Appearing for and testifying in court cases

With so much to do and so many schedules to work with, case management work calls for flexibility — especially since some duties are handled outside a typical 9-to-5 time frame. As Alia Capps, LMSW, KVC Kansas Permanency Supervisor, explains, “At KVC, case managers are mostly in charge of maintaining their own flexible work schedule since the hours are outside of the traditional 9-5. Even with a flexible schedule, no two days in the life of a case manager are the same!”

Crisis Response

social work careersAs the go-to provider for client needs, one important piece of case management work is responding during times of crisis. Case managers step in quickly during times of trauma and heartbreak for children and families.

What crisis response looks like depends on the needs of the people being served, explains Tiffany Chapman, LBSW, Case Manager with KVC Kansas. “Every crisis looks different,” she says, “and case managers help provide guidance and necessary assistance during a crisis situation.”

A few ways a case manager may respond is by:

  • Getting youth evaluated for physical or mental health needs
  • Setting up mental health therapy services
  • Assessing for necessary acute mental health treatment & hospitalization
  • Connecting the client with resources in the community
  • Helping youth navigate a crisis involving police or other emergency services
  • Assisting in other crisis intervention situations
  • Collaborating with other offices and departments for the best possible response and solution

Crises require prompt actions and responses to avoid any further escalation. For this reason, 24-hour crisis coverage is essential to best meet our clients’ needs, and KVC employs a team that is always “on call” to aid and assist children and families through crises. This team responds to crisis calls when they come in, before and after regular office hours of 9 AM to 5 PM.

A Case Manager’s Ability to Empower Those They Serve

Moving through difficult situations can be challenging for children and their families. When children enter foster care they can experience a lot of unfamiliar people and situations, and parents/caregivers can be given a long list of things to do to reunite their family. With so many unknowns, this all can feel overwhelming.

foster care case manager career

Tiffany Chapman, LBSW

Case managers empower those they serve and give children and families the support and confidence they need to keep going forward. “The key is to meet clients where they’re at and then build on their strengths,” Chapman says.

There can be apprehension before a positive relationship develops between the family and the case manager. “Building connections with families is the best way to move forward and work together as partners in the process,” Capps explains.

This is one reason why diversity and inclusion in social work is crucial. As case managers work to build connections with their clients, they are often able to uncover barriers to why families may struggle to accomplish their goals, and then resources, services, programs and community support can be provided to help them along their journey.

Case managers can make a difference in the lives of those they serve and empower them to achieve their dreams. It takes teamwork and dedication, but through home visits, appointments and consistent communication, case managers can build trust and achieve positive outcomes with the children and families they serve. Check out Ray’s inspiring story or Adam’s resilient story of reunifying with his young sons after foster care.

Collaborating with Colleagues and the Community 

Clients rely on their case managers to guide them through their journey to healing and strengthening their family. And at the heart of this is helping them build connections to resources. KVC professionals work to unite clients with the community to create the best possible care.

case managers

Alia Capps, LMSW

“Everyone on the KVC team is really open and ready to help other staff members so that we are able to help our clients the best we can, that’s everyone’s goal here,” Capps says.

Beyond collaboration with colleagues, case managers are supported by the community too. A program called Resilience Alliance provides extra tools to help case managers regulate and prioritize their own self-care as they are giving so much of themselves to others. Other community organizations like Family Service and Guidance Center, as well as Family Peace Initiative for Domestic Violence (one of Chapman’s favorite resources), are beneficial resources because they have the community’s best interest in mind.

Case Management Careers at KVC Kansas

case managers

A few members of our case management team in Lawrence, KS.

Success as a case manager has a lot to do with their professional environment and the support they receive from other leaders. At KVC, support begins right away with onboarding, which includes an HR orientation, specific department training, meeting with the department supervisor and becoming acquainted with experienced case managers.

Dedicated case managers provide ongoing training and support for newer members as they become more familiar with their positions. In addition to this support, new case managers have access to shadowing opportunities with other team members. Shadowing can help case managers strengthen their skills before they begin working with their own clients.

“KVC supports their case managers and encourages them to develop their professional skills, even directly out of college,” Chapman says of her own experience, feeling supported at KVC from day one.

Adoption, case managers

A few members of KVC’s adoption team enjoying a team bonding day.

Case managers at KVC are part of a close-knit team, and their work brings a deep sense of meaning that comes from providing life-changing help to children and families. Like all of our team members, KVC case workers also enjoy great medical and dental insurance, a retirement savings account with immediate company match, paid time off, parental leave, wellness support and professional growth.

Case managers do crucial work each week to support children and families in times of crisis, bringing them hope and connection.

Looking for a place where you can support others while being supported in your career too? Join the KVC team today.

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