2016 Annual Report - Page 18

CSF Casework Support provided Volunteer Caseworker Meredith McHugh RMIT Masters Social Work student Of the 24 clients receiving casework services, 67% (16 clients) received some form of financial support as a component of casework. Individual financial brokerage ranged from $5 to $1818, totalling $5164 total financial brokerage across 16 clients. Figure 1 provides an overview of types of financial brokerage provided. Most (60%) financial support was provided in the form of food vouchers, followed by utility bills (14%) and child care or school-related expenses (13%). Figure 1: CSF Caseworker Financial Brokerage (Total $5,164) Overview This year we were able to re-establish temporarily the CSF Caseworker role by taking on a masters level social work student, Meredith McHugh, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Meredith worked at CSF two days per week from October 2015 to July 2016 to fulfil the field education requirements of her masters course. Because Meredith arrived at CSF with an abundance of experience in mental health research and policy as well as a capacity to work effectively with complex clients, she was able to take on the role of CSF Caseworker relatively quickly. During her time as CSF caseworker Meredith received 36 referrals for casework. Of these, 12 clients (33%) refused casework or could not be followed-up. The current report thus reflects the remaining 24 clients who Meredith engaged with in a casework capacity. The number of sessions and weeks that clients worked with Meredith varied substantially, ranging from 1 to 9 total casework sessions over a period of 1 to 32 weeks, with a median of 3 casework sessions over 6 weeks. On average, clients received their first casework session within 8 days of referral. Table 1 summarises the outcomes from casework for these 24 clients. A positive outcome was indication that client needs and casework goals were met, or they were successfully referred to a service that would have the capacity to address client needs/goals. A partial positive outcome refers to casework where clients’ stated goals and needs were only partially met. Early disengagement reflects cases where clients disengaged from the casework service prior to any successful efforts to address their needs or goals. 18 In addition to financial brokerage, casework also involved advocacy with support and consumer services, budgeting, supportive listening and collaborative goal setting, practical assistance with barriers to employment, referral and followup with referral services. Table 2 outlines the proportion of clients who received these different forms of support. Casework client characteristics Figure 2 provides an overview of the issues commonly experienced by clients who accessed the CSF casework service. Table 3 provides a breakdown of type of income received by casework clients. As indicated, 79% of casework clients were experiencing mental health issues that impacted their capacity to work. Of these, 37% were receiving a Disability Support Pension (DSP), whereas 42% were receiving NewStart Allowance (NS), 11% were receiving a parenting payment, 5% were receiving income for part-time employment and 5% were receiving no income. Almost 80% of casework clients with mental health issues were either currently homeless or at risk of homelessness. The measure of a community is how it treats its most vulnerable members