Since 1977, schools and other community funders have supported a Case Coordinator function in Lane County, Oregon at Direction Service. The job of case coordinators has been to facilitate family-centered interagency collaboration and to support families and schools in preventing and resolving disagreements. Central to the work of Direction Service is the preservation of positive working relationships between families and schools and the engagement of nonschool community resources that can contribute to positive educational outcomes for children and youth.
System Oversight, Infrastructure and Organization: 

System Design/Management

Funding provided by local school districts, United Way, University Center on Excellence, Human Services Commission and local fundraising. 

Personnel

The program employs 3.75 full-time equivalent case coordinators. Average cost per family is $380. Some families cost considerably less;families with very complex needs can be considerably more expensive.

Practitioner Standards & Professional Development: 

Practitioner Qualifications

Excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills; Expertise in facilitation and collaborative problem-solving; Ability to be assertive without being abrasive; Ability to connect with people from very diverse backgrounds. Knowledge: Case Coordinators typically have a graduate degree in special education and broad cross-categorical knowledge of disability and special education issues. They possess a working knowledge of special education practices; disabling conditions; special education law; and existing services for children and young adults with disabilities.

Public Awareness & Outreach Activities: 

Availability/Accessing Services

The first step in accessing services at Direction Services is for parents to call and request assistance. Families hear about Direction Service from a wide variety of sources including other families, physicians, schools, counselors, shelter providers, and other agencies. At the initial intake meeting, which is scheduled at a time and location (throughout Lane County) that is convenient to the family, case coordinators clarify the needs families have. Case coordinators work with families to identify family strengths and assets, develop a plan for how needs can best be addressed and clarify responsibilities and timelines for needed activities. Case coordinators help families by: • assisting them to understand and access formal and informal services and supports to meet basic life needs such as food, housing, medical care, respite, and job placement; ensuring child and family needs are met in a timely manner, without costly duplication and confusion, and before more expensive services are required; arranging and, as necessary, attending school, medical, mental health, and other important meetings with families, ensuring that their voice is heard and promoting collaboration across providers; providing emotional support leading to families feeling less isolated and more in control of their lives. Case Coordinators frequently work with families and schools who have disagreements about student's special education programs. As part of that process, Case Coordinators assist families to: Review existing evaluation info; Identify areas of concern and prioritize issues; Effectively participate in meetings and communicate their concerns as well as understand the district's perspective; Facilitate and engage in collaborative problem-solving at meetings.

Materials/Activities

Staff need access to typical office equipment and supplies and dependable transportation. Access to current and accurate information on community resources.

Program Contact

Aimee Walsh
Direction Service/CADRE