2.5 Establishing a system for effective school case management.

1. Effective school case management is a process that is integral to a whole school approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention.

2. This approach is consistent with a Health Promoting Schools Framework which strives: (a) to create a school environment where students feel safe, valued, engaged, and purposeful; and (b) to support the school community to take positive action in creating and sustaining a climate of health and wellbeing.

 

3. Working within a Health Promoting Schools Framework, a school case management (SCM) team is established. This is usually an existing school team such as a student services or welfare team.

 

4. The establishment of the SCM team requires the strong support of the school executive and school community in general.

 

5. The main purpose of the SCM team is to offer a school-based system of care that is multi-disciplinary and collaborative and aims to achieve better mental health outcomes for students with support needs.

 

6. In partnership with the student, parents/carers, and community (eg. mental health services, child and family services, recreational services, education services, ethnic associations, juvenile justice) the SCM team is responsible for identifying or creating referral pathways which are comprehensive and inclusive processes of addressing the needs of students with support needs more successfully.

 

7. The SCM team adopts a "wrap-around" approach. This is a flexible system of pastoral care which is primarily concerned with collaboratively devising an integrated action plan for individual students with support needs. This involves actively engaging the student him/herself, parents/carers, and school community partners in planning and decision-making so that the needs of the student are adequately addressed within and beyond the school.

 

8. The membership of the SCM team will vary according to the main support needs of the school student population and individual students, and available resources.

 

9. The SCM team should ideally constitute a school administrator; a student services/pastoral care staff member; the school psychologist/counsellor and other allied heath services if appropriate (such as a local "Divisions of General Practice" G.P.; and specialist allied health providers such as a clinical psychologist, a chaplain, a social worker, and youth worker).

 

10. The roles and responsibilities of the members of the SCM team are determined and clearly understood. This includes identifying a coordinator of the team, establishing arrangements for meetings, deciding on an ongoing case manager, and instituting processes of accountability (i.e. clear line management).

 

11. The SCM team should ideally develop a shared vision by explicitly:

  • establishing shared goals;

  • determining the collective base of knowledge and skills that the team has;

  • recognising the interdependence of the team members;

  • establishing a shared understanding of student needs;

  • clarifying their criteria for offering a student case management processes;

  • identifying SCM team concerns;

  • establishing evaluation measures;

  • ensuring that power, decision-making, and accountability for outcomes are shared.

 

12. The SCM team becomes a coordinated team by:

  • establishing roles;

  • having regular meetings;

  • planning workloads;

  • discussing and sharing goals and interventions for individual students with support needs;

  • responding to critical incidents associated with students who have support needs;

  • planning preventative programs for students with support needs.

 

13. The SCM team have Professional Learning to assist in effective case management processes, content and coordination e.g. Brief Strategic/ Solution-focused Therapies; non-punitive counselling skills.

 

14. The SCM builds alliances and relationships with a range of agencies to facilitate their involvement in case management meetings.

 

15. The SCM team needs to be adequately resourced. On a basic level, this entails:

  • making sure that an appropriate meeting room is available (including maintenance of confidentiality);

  • staff are released when necessary;

  • the provision of back-up staff when team members are not available;

  • allocation of time for communication via phone, e-mail, and/or in person;

  • allocation of funding to support the work of the SCM team (eg. administrative costs, teacher relief).

 

16. The role of the SCM team is clearly communicated to the school community so that it is considered to be an accessible and valuable resource for all students who have support needs, and their families.

 

17. The SCM team should ensure that: (a) ideally all school staff understand that at some stage they may be involved in planning for and/or supporting an individual student with support needs (including teaching and learning adjustments, flexible programming, specific behavioural strategies); and (b) the school staff will be supported themselves in doing this effectively.