Legal Services and Case Management Collaboration
Case Management (CM) staff and Legal Services - Children’s Legal Service (CLS) work in collaboration to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of the children served by Community Based Care. In order to have a productive working relationship, communication is critical.
Some ways to improve communication are:
· Build trust and respect by being consistent and communicative.
· Listen to the other’s viewpoint.
· Develop mutual respect by learning about each other’s roles and job responsibilities and backgrounds.
· Develop teamwork by reaching mutually satisfactory decisions.
· Submit legal documents timely with qualitative and in depth content.
· Clarify legal opinions for proceeding versus case management practice.
· Discuss why the legal guidance is being sought and what legal perspectives impact the case management decisions.
· Return phone calls promptly, ask questions, address differences of opinion professionally.
· Recognize that CLS is sometimes constrained from complying with requests due to the Rules of Professional Conduct governing members of the Florida Bar and ask for an explanation if a request is denied.
· Ensure that CLS is informed of any changes that may take place in the case prior to a hearing.
When there is active communication in which all parties are genuine, honest and empathetic many conflicts can be avoided. CLS and CM have different roles. If agreement can not be reached between the CM and the CLS assigned to the case:
· The CM Supervisor (CMS) should be immediately notified.
· The CMS, CM Organization (CMO) Managers, SCC Child Welfare Specialist (CWS), and CLS Managing Attorney consult on the issue – after this consult a Multi-Disciplinary Staffing (MDS) may be held with all parties to the case to try to come to an agreement.
· If there is still no resolution, CMO Managers, SCC Director of Child Welfare Operations and the CLS Managing Attorney consult on the issue. If they are unable to resolve the issues, the YMCA Vice President of CBC Operations, DCF Family Safety Program Office and the CLS Regional Director will be asked to become involved. As a last resort, the issue may be elevated to the DCF Regional Director for resolution.