In this discussion, students will review a case scenario and consider how the organization might empower the client. Please review the case example detailing the experiences of Yoko with the local Department of Social Services, and answer the questions posed in an initial discussion post. In addition, please respond to the posts of at least two peers.
Yoko is furious. She is the single mother of three young children and a client at Penniless County Department of Social Services. She is currently receiving public assistance and is enrolled in a work preparation program teaching her skills in food preparation.
She has tried to see her assigned social worker Gunter eight times without success. The man is simply never there. Twice she’s tried to complain to a supervisor, but was cut off at the pass by secretarial sentries who adamantly declared that all supervisors were busy at the moment. They added she could make an appointment in three weeks or so.
Yoko’s problem is that she discovered she hates food preparation and the training program in which she was arbitrarily placed. She wants to work and needs training, but couldn’t it involve office or sales or anything but food preparation? She has little time to make a change. She will only qualify for a few more months of assistance before she is required to work and her assistance is terminated.
Yoko doesn’t know who she can turn to. The agency has no client advisory group or formal appeal process for clients to use. Clients must work through their designated worker. Yoko feels frustrated, angry, and powerless.
Considering the textbook’s discussion of Client System Empowerment by Management, identify factors working against client empowerment experienced by Yoko. From an empowerment perspective, how might the DSS management team improve the “system” to include procedures and opportunities that empower clients? Connect your suggestions to those organizational conditions that enhance client empowerment discussed in the text. What opportunities would allow Yoko and other clients to: Voice their opinions and feel heard? Be involved in the decision-making process? Have direct access to those in power that make decisions about clients?
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