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How do teams effectively communicate and manage caseloads?

How do teams effectively communicate and manage caseloads?

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Managing cases and supporting families is a team effort. Ensuring that you have an efficient and thorough communication strategy will make your service delivery so much more effective. 

Communicate with your team in-person

  • SUPERVISION
    Your case team should have a clear structure where case workers can connect with their supervisor (case manager or social work manager) to report and identify solutions for the child or family on their case load. Managers are privy to more cases than a case worker that may be meeting with the child and family on a more regular basis. Supervision sessions can be scheduled or spontaneous, they can also be brief troubleshooting meetings or longer case reviews.
  • CASE CONSULTATION
    There are times to wrap in the larger team to work through common case issues. This may include case workers that are working with different caseloads, psychologists and therapists or other associated support staff. These meetings are important for identifying solutions for families and discussing cases with a broader group. In case consultations, it’s important to maintain confidentiality for the children and families. Use pseudonyms or initials so as to protect their identity especially as you describe sensitive information surrounding the child and family.

Communicate with your team remotely

  • PLAN FOR PHONE EXPENSE
    A potential expense for the organization will be ensuring that your team has sufficient phone capacity for talk, text and data. Countries will vary on how phone bills are paid, but determine a reasonable amount of money to cover phone costs for your staff as your team works in the field or remotely from home.
  • START A WhatsApp GROUP
    Start a WhatsApp chat group with your staff. WhatsApp corresponds with a person’s telephone number and is an accessible format for sharing data, documents, resources and reports. You can create sub-groups depending on the various teams that work within your operation.
  • Because WhatsApp is limited to four people at a time for a voice call, for group meetings, consider using Facebook Messenger. The video turns off when you exceed 6 people on the call, but the voice feature facilitates a group of 50 people.
  • REGISTER FOR G-SUITE WITH GOOGLE
    In many countries G-Suite is free for registered charities and provides additional resources for working remotely. Google Hangout allows numerous people on calls and organizations can put their case management systems into the various G-Suite apps. Organizations can utilize the cloud-based portability and password protect documents for better confidentiality.
  • ESTABLISH COMMUNICATION STANDARDS
    Establish standards of posting in the chat to ensure professionalism and confidentiality of the children and families that you are serving. Consider using a child’s initials when posting in WhatsApp so as to protect their identity in case the chat is compromised by someone outside the organization.

Reporting on your caseload

  • TEAM REPORTING
    Using WhatsApp (or email, if available and secure), establish individual chats for children within the caseload where social workers can report back to program supervisors on the child’s well-being.
  • WRITE CASE NOTES
    Establish a case note format for reporting. Social workers can either write the note by hand and take a picture or type the note into their device. The note is then sent to the supervisor for review and filing.
  • CASE FILES
    Refer to the case management section of the CARE Transition Framework for more information. There are options to keep case files in paper format or use a digital case management system. Regardless of the system that you choose, as it pertains to your team, make sure that staff are clear on who is approved to access a given child or family’s case file. Sensitive personal information should be on a need to know basis and under the direction of the social work manager and guarded by the case manager.