Loree says Case Aide Services give Jackson County JFS workers the support they need to be successful. “It's really not a luxury. It's more of a necessity now to have that additional support to do this work,” she said. “The peace of mind of knowing that they had help has just been such an added value. It’s irreplaceable.”
“One of the biggest things that we've been working on is climate and culture,” Tammy said. “Creating a psychologically safe environment, supporting staff, reducing burnout, and ensuring employee retention is always a high priority. And through Case Aide Services, we've been able to support staff in new ways.”
Promoting worker and supervisor well-being.
Workers feel safe and seen by having a trusted professional to talk to who knows their work, has navigated similar situations, and can help them manage their ever-growing to-do list. “Case Aid Services has definitely helped with my stress level and my well-being overall. I don't have as many things that I have to do. It's not as overwhelming,” Haley said.
She credits Northwoods Case Aide Specialist Molly, with whom Haley routinely works, for making her work more manageable. “Molly has been there at every case conference and been able to take half of my workload. She is able to help out with so many things that I used to do on my own. Molly has been there for me when I've been overwhelmed and stressed with work, calling her and asking for help, and she's told me ways that she can help me in creative ways that I wouldn't think of,” Haley said.
Kristina said being able to ask the Case Aide team to provide administrative support is equally impactful for supervisors who often need to fill in to help staff. “I have several people that I'm supervising and don't always have the amount of individual time that I would like to have to spend with each individual staff member,” Kristina said. “If I have a worker that is stressed out or has a lot to do, I may ask the Case Aide to check in with them. If I have somebody that's removed three children or has multiple court hearings in the week, I may say that it'd be really nice if you could see if there's anything you can do to assist. The Case Aide provides support to the workers in that way, which as a result helps me not have so much on my plate.”
Reducing the need for overtime, helping minimize turnover and improve retention.
Tammy said that staff have been able to reduce the amount of overtime they’re working, a lot of which was previously dedicated to data entry or making repeat phone calls to service providers to complete referrals and obtain records and documentation.
“Any time you can reduce overtime leads to a reduction in staff burnout. And when you reduce staff burnout, that contributes to and supports staff retention,” she said. “We have been fortunate enough to see staff stay and continue working. As a result, staff are becoming better trained, developing their critical thinking skills, and becoming the ideal caseworkers that we need to have out in the field working with families and children.”
Focusing on families without sacrificing administrative work.
Workers can rely on the Case Aide team to consistently complete administrative tasks accurately and on time when they’re on the road or have more pressing priorities or emergencies. “The caseworkers have more time to engage families because they are not worried about the administrative tasks that they're not getting done when they're not at the agency,” Kristina said.
She said it’s especially helpful that Case Aide team members are available throughout the day to consistently communicate with providers to quickly collect records and complete referrals. “The Case Aides are able to make calls and follow up on that information when a lot of times those are things that get lost with caseworkers because they're out visiting people, trying to determine appropriate services, and maintain the safety of children.”
Improving caseworker performance with the right partner.
Tammy said Northwoods has demonstrated a commitment to serving clients for years and this collaborative partnership has been no exception. “The team at Northwoods has listened to our challenges, they’ve continued to develop improvements focusing on supporting the caseworkers, and those caseworkers are the ones that are out providing those critical services to families and children. Their profound understanding of this important work has been crucial in changing and improving the caseworker performance through Case Aide Services,” she said.
“Northwoods was able to be intuitive and to really problem solve and develop solutions to meet our unique needs here,” Loree added. “It became very apparent that their success was driven by our success. They want to help our workers to feel better about the jobs they're doing and support them in this important work.”