Ask a Mentor: Sources of Case Information

Volunteer Question

I need some suggestions about reaching my dependency case manager (DCM). It has been several weeks since I've had an update from her on my 7-year-old "Sally." Sally was having some school problems the last time I talked to the DCM. Likewise, she told me that the therapist had only seen Sally twice. She also said that daycare where Sally stays after school had some concerns. I need to find out about these things. How can I get the DCM to return my calls?

Mentor: Are you counting on the DCM to provide you with all the information regarding Sally?

Yes, I figured one source is the most efficient way.

Mentor Answer

As guardians and advocates for these children, we should be going directly to the various persons who are providing services or information and not relying on the DCM for our information. We stay in contact with the DCM to get information not otherwise available and to check our observations and assessment with what the DCM is seeing.

It is really important that we directly talk with parents, caregivers, teachers, therapists, daycare staff and any other collateral contacts pertinent to our cases. Sometimes we can get in touch and obtain information by email or phone. If we do some of our child visits at the daycare or at school, then that gives a good opportunity to talk directly with the teacher or daycare staff working with the child. And of course, we always maintain regular contact with the caregiver.

Judges need our recommendations that come from an independent perspective—not based on information filtered through a third person. Staying in contact with significant persons in a case is the only way we can really do a good job advocating for our children.

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