Social Agency Paper
For my agency paper, I chose Adult Well Being Services in Detroit, Michigan. According to the website, the agency “works closely with some of our community's most vulnerable adults, their families and caregivers to provide them the support they need to live independently and with dignity” (awbs.org). Some of these issues involve mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, aging concerns, HIV/AIDS, other medical issues, grandparents raising grandchildren, and the need for guardianship and conservatorship for legally incapacitated adults.
The field of practice most closely related to our textbook is “Social Work with Older Adults.” According to Suppes and Wells, working with the elderly in institutions and their own homes “was not emphasized as a special field until the numbers of elderly people began to increase significantly” (Suppes and Wells, 2009, p. 363). The number of Americans age 65 and older is increasing rapidly and is “expected to reach 55 million by 2020” (Suppes and Wells, 2009, p. 363). According to AWBS social worker Rebecca Ikera, the growing numbers of the aging population present unique challenges and AWBS seeks to meet those needs. There are an unknown number of client’s in mental health/substance abuse, Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Aging programs but in the Guardianship Department alone there are approximately 300 clients served. This number changes daily as new appointments are taken and/or clients pass away. There is no cap on the number of clients accepted into the Guardianship Department.
Adult Well Being Services was founded by the Junior League of Detroit in 1953 and has been operating ever since. Originally it was a senior center that provided a social and recreation place for seniors. Currently, they have five locations in Wayne County. They also provide outreach services in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. (http://www.awbs.org/about_us/history.html).
Adult Well-Being Services is a non-profit charity and is not funded entirely by the local, state or federal government. They rely on donations to their Give to the Friends Campaign and Endowment Fund. Give to the Friends is an annual campaign that helps the agency to meet their unfunded needs. Individuals who commit to providing long-term support can become a Heritage Club Member. Contribution of $500 or more to the Endowment Fund ensures membership in the Heritage Club. Adult Well-Being Services also relies on the community to donate goods and services for their programs (awbs.org). There are also distinct funding sources for specific departments. For example, Gateway Community Health, Synergy, and the Department of Human Services (DHS) provide funding for the Guardianship program. According to Ms. Ikera, funding cuts at the state and local levels coupled with increasing need for services for older adults has proven to be the agency’s most difficult challenge.
The currents trends and issues facing the aging population are grandparents raising grandchildren, health concerns like HIV/AIDS and diabetes, clients having limited resources (to pay bills, remain independent, feed their families), lack of sufficient insurance coverage (due to cuts to Medicaid/Medicare) and access to reliable transportation.
According to AWBS’ Strategic Plan for 2008-2010, the agency has laid out some specific goals that they seek to achieve within these two years. Some key goals are: to increase financial support (by developing new public funding sources and explore funding from the private sector), to demonstrate progressive programs and processes that meet consumer needs, expand the use of technology, strategic alliances—by formalizing university relationships with staff—and the expansion of services and markets through identification of underserved areas and strategic marketing (awbs.org).
Social Worker Background
I met with Rebecca...
References: Suppes, Mary Ann., & Wells, Caroline Cressy., (2009). The social work experience: An introduction to social work and social welfare, 5th edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc.
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