Home Forums EBP Planning & Implementation Field Division vs Case Management Balance?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by MarkCarey MarkCarey January 28 , 2018.

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  • MarkCarey
    MarkCarey
    Participant

    I might add an important consideration.  To achieve the best possible results, it is advisable to match staff tendencies and strengths to the job.  Some officers are naturally inclined and skilled at motivational interviewing and skill practice, a couple key features of an effective risk reduction interaction.  Others are not.  Some officers enjoy and excel at field work.  They are street savvy, careful about safety, and eager to collaborate with law enforcement, employers, and other agencies.  But, they may not feel comfortable conducting skill practice for example.  One of the advantages of splitting field from case management staff is you can match the person’s strengths to the job duties.  And, you can specialize the training based on job function.  Of course, this comes with disadvantages.  It requires good communication between the two officers.  And, the case manager does not see the home and community environment with their own eyes, the kind of interaction which  provide experiential understanding.  In sum, this decision to split field and case management functions is best made when considering the department resources, staff strengths, agency philosophy, and ability/willingness to address the natural downside to either decision.

    MarkCarey
    MarkCarey
    Participant

    In our work with probation and parole departments we have seen many variations of service delivery models including dividing field work from case management work.  However, the vast majority of departments we work with have supervising officers who conduct both field and case management work.  My observation is that when there is a division of duties as you describe the case managers can still be balanced even though they are not doing field work. The same is true for field officers.  I have seen field officers who bring a balanced approach to the work and I have seen those who bring solely an accountability focus to the work.  It is a matter of recruitment, training, and department philosophy.  To achieve balance in both functions the department must guard against single-mindedness by instituting clear policies, supervisory oversight, and balanced training.


    evanhazelton
    Participant

    I guess the answer would depend on what your expectations are for a field officer. It’s also a matter of postional equity. For example, field officers in my county aren’t trained in case management and as such are not paid the same.

    mrsjordanmorris
    mrsjordanmorris
    Participant

    In the mid-1990’s many Community Corrections agencies separated case management and field monitoring duties into two specialized work groups. Does having separate divisions (Field Division vs. Case Management) in Community Corrections monitoring home detention participants hurt the mission of having balanced staff?

    For example, we have learned that it is not just enough to have balance between the field division and case management department, but instead to strive for balanced staff members; individuals who have equal amounts of both field/compliance competency and case management skills. By separating departments however, it seems as though there is an implied perception that “field officers” are law-enforcement driven individuals with the mission to ensure compliance with program rules through home searches and GPS point monitoring – while “case managers” are social-work driven with the mission to engage offenders in treatment programs and make case plan programming recommendations to reduce risk levels.

    To eliminate the implied perception then, would it make sense for an organization to eliminate “divisions” and instead implement an organizational change where staff serve as “Supervising Officers” trained in both monitoring compliance as well as case management skills?

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