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Linda M. Buskala

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God’s Plan - Helping Hands

The Vision Made Clearer Through the Acquisition of Knowledge

Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002, 4th ed.) in chapter one, paragraph one, first sentence state, “One of the first questions you will probably ask as you pick up this book is ‘what is human services?’”  (p. 6).  Day by day and week by week, the text, discussion boards, and websites have led us on a journey through the labyrinth of information toward an answer to the aforementioned question.  On more than one occasion during the duration of this course, I have written “how much has changed and yet stayed the same”, or some derivation thereof, when discussing the philosophy, issues, and people that frame the field of human services.  Yet, Leo Buscaglia once said, “Change is the end result of all true learning” (http://www.quotelady.com/subjects/learning.html).  So, are we to believe then that, as a society, we have learned nothing – if, in fact, nothing has changed?  This conundrum has been one that I have wrestled the entire quarter.

What I have learned is that there have been significant changes in the thought and action of helping others through Human Services over the years.  Not surprisingly, much of what has been gained has been lost through no fault of those requiring and requesting the help.  Human Services has been a chess piece used, over time, by professional administrators and politicians.  A political pawn for the purpose of achieving goals far removed from the poverty and chaos that defines an element found in the character of those we will serve.

As Human Services attempts to stay focused on a person’s current and future needs versus their past, so I will move forward with the information that I have learned; adding to my knowledge base.  I will use this information to create and maintain a faith-based clinic bringing hope to the hopeless women and children of our society.  My long-range plan is to personally provide the counseling and find others in pediatrics, ob-gyn, family medicine, rehabilitation, and

dentistry that will join in the vision of God’s Plan, Many Hands.  The team and partnerships created will clearly be in keeping with the described team and partnership models by Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002, 4th ed., pp 22-26).  These services provided will have direct linkage to a broader network of agencies and individuals committed to enveloping women and children in an environment of wellness where they have the opportunity to grow and thrive. 

The vision of the inclusion of other agencies and individuals was made clear through Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002, 4th ed.) chapter on “Human Services Today”; a chapter dedicated to delineating essential partners to include in an assistance network (pp 88-133).  These would include, but are not limited to, resources through the military, industry, school systems (private and public), institutions, and community-based organizations.  Many of those that we will serve will be those who have been in and out of community-based agencies –seeking the explanations for their problems and solutions for their needs – some will have been in those systems willingly, some will not.  God’s Plan, Many Hands vision is to create a one-stop service agency where the explanations, solutions and answers will be found and potential clients will no longer struggle alone attempting to circumvent barriers that have kept them from getting the assistance that they need.  Numerous tools, such as case management, technology and managed care have been outlined; which according to Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002, 4th ed.) will provide “cost-effective service-delivery ... to better ensure efficiency and high-quality service” (p. 111).  It remains to be seen whether managed care is an effective service-delivery tool for the 21st century due to the restrictiveness that is inherent when working within that system.  It appears that a much better system of remuneration for services will be a fee based on income, or free access paid for by grants and donations.  A clear incentive for employing the latter is the reduction or elimination of delays and interference in service-delivery that is now inherent in the existing area of managed care.

As a faith-based, community health agency, our team will clearly use the service-delivery models of medical, public health, and human service, as described by Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002, 4th ed.) if we are to determine and then provide the appropriate course of treatment and action that will enable individuals the ability to regain their whole health (pp 136 - 165).  The most important aspect is that in many cases, courses of action crucial in treating an individual cannot be labeled as belonging to one model or another; nor will we be able to stop our intervention and treatment with just one member of the family.  The majority of client problems that we will encounter will be accumulation, more than one cause (multi-causality) and will therefore require various approaches to achieve success.  In addition, it will be important to know when we can and cannot assist a client and their family – when the expectations of the clients are beyond our scope or ability to help.  At these times, we must look to the greater community for other professionals.  At all times it will be necessary to remember that the services we will provide are for the clients and that they must feel they are being heard and their needs are being addressed if we are to have a positive outcome.  Keeping a finger on the pulse of client satisfaction will be imperative.

Our number one concern as “helpers” will be the health of the individual, the family, and their supporting community.  In order to accomplish this task, it will be imperative that the persons who come on board the clinic will share in the vision; and that the mission and vision statement of the organization will be clear, timely, and implementable.  In addition to embracing the vision and having a desire to help, individuals on the team will need to have certain inherent, core values that, as described by Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002, 4th ed.), include but are not limited to “acceptance, tolerance, individuality, self-determination, and confidentiality” (p. 242).  It will also be important that the front-line team members be well versed in appropriate communication and interviewing techniques that will ensure the client is given factual and caring

assistance in a timely manner and that they are directed to the proper professional or professionals. 

Team members will also need to ensure that certain housekeeping fundamentals are handled in a manner and at a time that allows the client to receive full and informed help when seeing a professional.  A great suggestion by Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002, 4th ed.), is “the human service professional and the client set goals and determine how those goals will be reached to resolve the problem” (p. 286).  We will want to create an empowering environment that declares that it is not just the client’s right, but it is their paramount duty to be involved with the professionals in goal setting and other decision making processes for themselves and family members.  In working with a diverse population, we will be required to be vigilant at all times to ensure that no barriers are ever crossed that would bring rumors or charges of unethical behavior and/or improprieties against the professional or the clinic.  It will be of utmost importance that all team members attend in-service trainings, maintain certain organizational affiliations, and continually obtain and update professional competency credentials.  This, in addition to providing a team of highly skilled and educated staff, will ensure that team members will not succumb to burnout and disenchantment.  Only our best and our highest standards will be offered to the vulnerable who will seek our help.

References

On-line quote reference: http://www.quotelady.com/subjects/learning.html accessed 11/09/04.

Woodside, M. & McClam, T. (2002). An introduction to human services. (4th ed.).

Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.