By Aaron L. Austin, Ed.D., Consultant, TNG Consulting, LLC
The NABITA Case Management Standards and Best Practices guides members and practitioners and provides a structure for case management delivery. The standards create consistency and equity in settings with decentralized case management responsibilities as well as institutions that employ dedicated case managers. This article is from our Tips of the Week: Case Management Standards series. Click to read parts 1 and 2.
Standard 3: Case management services have a clear mission statement which identifies the goals of case management services, balances the needs of the individual and the safety of the community, is aligned with the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT), and is connected to the overall mission of the institution.
A mission statement communicates the goals and scope of case management services while establishing a clear connection to the BIT and the institution’s mission. Mission statements often serve as a primary source of the function and purpose of case management. Therefore, case managers should aim to craft a mission statement that accurately represents their services and offers all parties an entry point to understanding the “who, what, why, and how” in a digestible and tangible way. My experience has led me to the following phrase, “If people don’t know what you do, they don’t think you’re doing anything.”
Although crafting a mission statement can be challenging, it becomes a practitioner’s north star in describing their role. First, it continually refocuses the case manager(s) and the institution on the mission. Secondly, it speaks to external audiences about case management and how it can support students. Finally, it indicates a commitment to ongoing and intentional service to students who are distressed, at-risk, or facing specific barriers to success.
As case management varies by institution, each mission statement must outline the school’s unique process, how it ties into the greater mission of the institution, and why these services are valuable. A case manager may even ask their constituents to weigh in on the language of the mission statement.
For example, many, if not all, higher education institutions are prioritizing enrollment and retention. By design, a BIT, and the associated case managers, promote student success and retention. Case managers’ roles are to keep students in school so the students grow with the institution and progress to graduation. Case management is about saying, “We understand that you are experiencing some difficulties, and we are here to help you address them so you can be the most successful student you can be.” The daily work of the case manager directly supports retention, and a good mission statement should highlight this connection.
Some people may undervalue case management and characterize it as consoling students when they feel bad. Indeed, providing support and advocating for students is a large part of the process, but case management is vital to maintaining a safe environment for the entire school. A mission statement reminds all parties of the connection between a student’s health, safety, and well-being and their likeliness to stay in school (persistence). Furthermore, since case management intervenes when a student moves toward violence to self or others and determines interventions that help lower their risk, case management helps keep that student in school, supporting enrollment retention and increasing campus safety.
If you need help drafting your institution’s case management mission statement, please get in touch with us. NABITA is dedicated to helping practitioners remove barriers and leverage resources to ensure safer schools, campuses, workplaces, and communities.
Eager to learn more about case management best practices? NABITA invites you to consider attending the two-day Case Management Standards & Best Practices training course. Click here for more information.