I've probably talked about this a little bit before. I'm talking about it again though because it came up again this week.
I'm an Intake Coordinator at work. The main parts of my job, are bringing clients onto the program and either helping to stabilize them in the community, or get the services set up for them upon their community discharge to ensure they will remain stable in the community.
Because I work at a for-profit, the bottom line is to make money. Since my agency wants to make $$$$, we often will take on clients that no other provider wants to touch, especially if a large amount of billable service hours come with the case.
Since we are so large, and take on so many needy clients, we can also afford to have a lot of highly dedicated, educated, qualified staff who are great at what they do, and who can handle some of the tough ones.
However, on occasion, a client will come along who is just not safe to serve in the community, no matter how many hours come with the case. When this happens, I am the one who generally has to be the bad guy, telling them that our agency cannot service them.
If I feel they are actively using drugs, have a lot of skilled home care needs that surpass the level of care we can provide, have a bunch of recent felonies that would make it almost impossible to secure them needed things like housing or if they let me know right off the bat they are not going to accept the services or supports I feel they need to ensure their (and staffs'!) health and safety ........I have to be the bad guy.
We've also had a lot go on lately with some cases we already serve, where one or two people end up sucking the life out of their staff (to the point they neglect their OTHER cases) so because of that, I am needing to start to get a little bit discretionary in who I choose to bring into our agency for care.
However, in all seriousness though, it sucks all around because as a social worker, I feel that everyone should be given a chance, and that often when a potential client is in the midst of a crisis
It also is bad because I KNOW that it's very difficult to find these types of clients the help they need in the community, and if they are continually turned down for a program, it makes their situation even worse.
I also am sure that some of these people who are turned down for support are the one's we also read about in the media.
I am grateful that the decision is not only on me though. I usually consult with my supervisor and one of the nurses before I tell someone no.
I wish I could wave my Social Worker Magic Wand and instantly fill in the gaps in our program that make it impossible to serve everyone.
At the end of the day, I still need to remind myself that I can't save everyone, even if magic WAS involved.