The purpose of a case plan is to drive behavior change. It sounds simple, but it’s not. In addition to focusing on the client, your case plan also must address criminogenic needs, meet court-ordered conditions, be realistic and manageable for both the client and the supervision professional, and any number of other competing priorities.
As the complexity of your job grows, so does the potential for your team to make some common case planning mistakes. Here are the Top 3 challenges we see among supervision professionals today:
1. Not fully connecting the dots. When your team sees assessment results, do they know how to use them to inform case planning? Are they able to dig into the results and have meaningful conversations with their clients about their motivations and goals? Can they truly connect the dots between assessment results and an effective case plan?
If you’re shaking your head, then it’s time to start up-skilling your team on how to use assessment tools. Being able to make sense of the output is good, but if your team isn’t able to translate that output into action, more training may be needed.
2. Focusing too narrowly. When teams are effectively connecting the dots and using assessment results to meaningfully inform case plans, the next most common mistake we see is focusing too narrowly on the Top 4 criminogenic needs. This not only creates cookie-cutter case plans that lack the individualization needed for each client, it also misses key needs that, if addressed, could help clients be more successful at overcoming the Top 4.
This fundamentally comes down to a need for greater client focus and collaboration. Case plans should be developed with the client, for the client, and focused on the client – the whole client – to affect behavior change on an individual level. Work with your team to look at all criminogenic needs and prioritize them on an individual basis.
3. Failing to revisit and revise. When a case plan meets all agency criteria, meets all court-ordered conditions, and is mutually agreed upon by the supervision professional and client, it’s tempting to call it done and file it away. The relief is real, but the finality of “finishing” a case plan is a myth. Case plans need to be dynamic, changing, growing documents that adapt as the client’s needs and accomplishments change. Sticking the “final” copy in a drawer and never revisiting it does your client a disservice.
Setting up processes in your agency to help your team regularly revisit case plans and revise (as needed) will help everyone be more intentional about making sure clients’ ongoing needs are met.
If any of these common challenges rings true for you, or if you’re looking for fresh ways to keep your case planning client-centered, we can help. Our decades of practitioner experience plus years of working directly with agencies like yours means we have seen it all, and we know how to help your team achieve your goals. Give us a call today.