Sunday, October 22, 2017

Woman removed from her social network by a caseworker

Well it happened again...
A woman who attended our Light & Power Company ministry, living in a local group home was moved by her case worker to a different group home about 20 miles away. The woman who was moved was very sweet and very connected to a variety of people at church. I have mentioned her in the past in this blog as someone who I could count on to pray for me. Although she had severe intellectual disabilities, we were beginning to teach her to use her gifts of praying which brought her great delight.

When we asked the group home owner why she moved, the response was basically just that her caseworker decided to move her to a different home in another city. I will be attempting to contact the caseworker to inform her that if she was actually interested in the welfare of those she claims to serve, she should take notice of the social supports someone has developed rather than just unilaterally moving someone.

This happened once before to a dear friend who was moved to a different apartment. His caseworker once again just moved him without any effort to interact with his social network in the community or the church. He was cut off from people who loved him and enjoyed being with him. For him to interact with those folks changed from a walk down the street to a long walk to public transportation leading to several hours of travel if he wanted to meet with friends.

If you are a social worker or some other caseworker for persons with disabilities who are attending a church, you should talk to the people in the social network. Persons with intellectual disabilities like my friend who just moved can be very easily led but those who really know them will have a better understanding of their likes and dislikes.  The gal who was moved loved going to church, loved the women's activities she participated in as well as the other parties and activities we facilitate with our group. I am confident in her new placement there will none of these options if only because of the somewhat limited opportunities for persons with severe disabilities to attend church. I am confident she will experience the social isolation that comes from living in a typical group home.

This points out potential problems with human services where they can be absolutely out of touch with the social network benefits of church participation. Church participation should actually be a significant aspect of what they are trying to facilitate in the lives of persons with disabilities rather than short circuiting it as was done in this case.



  1. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Moving to a different city is hard for anyone, I can only imagine the difficulties this woman will face. I remembered when I first moved to a new city, I had difficulties meeting new people because I was reluctant to branch out of my own comfort zone and take that step to join a community group. It took me months to finally join a local church and be an active participant. I finally felt like a was a part of something bigger or having a sense of belonging, when I joined that church. Being a part of something and having that sense of belonging is what made me feel like I had finally found home. I agree with you when you suggest that caseworkers should make an effort to really get to know their clients and see what community groups they are involved in. Humans in general are social creatures and we long to be a part of something bigger. Caseworkers must understand that their clients are individuals with needs, wants, and a desire to have those social interactions with people that truly care about them. I understand that caseworkers need to relocate an individual because of circumstances out of their control, but they need to place them in group homes within the same city limits. This will help these individuals to maintain a sense of belonging, which is our natural human desire. Having to move to another home is a drastic change for any person, just imagine having to relocate to a different city where no one knows your name. Caseworkers must help their clients maintain a sense of normalcy by getting to know what they are involved in (community groups, friends, hobbies, ect.), and if the clients must move to a different group home, they must try to place them in a group home that is located within the same city limits. This woman, along with all the other individuals that have been moved to a different city overnight, must not be treated this way. Caseworkers must provide safety, security, and most importantly a sense of belonging to all the individuals they serve.

  2. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I agree that social workers or anyone should communicate with the person before moving them to a whole new location. I understand if they were moving rooms is one thing but this is another city. It saddens me that people do not have a heart and think they can do what they want because it will benefit themselves more. Also, the social worker should be able to provide and answer and not just "because". They should be a formal document on why that person is leaving and both parties should have to sign. I hope you friend is able to find that same love as she did at the last place. I pray to God in hopes caseworkers understand what they are doing and give strength to the friends with intellectual disabilities to find the same love and joy in their new place.

  3. Anonymous8:23 PM

    I can't even imagine being uprooted from my community, let alone if I had a disability. The social challenges that many individuals with disabilities face make it so hard to find a new circle of friends or caring community members to interact with. I can only imagine the pain and suffering this individual might be facing in this transition. I have to believe that god has a plan for this individual, and I have to believe that God gave this individual the strength to survive and prosper in this transition. After all god gives us problems and situations that he knows we have the strength to survive. As for the case manager I am curious to their reasoning for changing this person's life. Was the case manager worried at the social success of the individual, or what was the underlying cause for the change of placement. God bless your friend who has had to move. I pray that this individual is able to thrive in this new environment like they were able to thrive in the environment the light and power ministry was able to provide this individual.

  4. I couldn't imagine what this poor woman is going through. This reminds me of the foster system, the moment a child gets acquainted and feels safe in a home the state moves the poor child to another place. This woman just began to to grow attachments and become part of the community when they yanked her to new community. It's not fair to the woman and for those around her that just go to know her. I feel like they're many glitches in the system and someone needs to amend this problem.

  5. Anonymous5:15 PM

    I agree with your frustration with this social worker’s decision to uproot your friend. After having established community, friendship, and routines, your friend was taken away and moved to another home. This situation would be difficult and unfair for anyone, much less one with disabilities. Those whom have disabilities I believe struggle most with establishing those genuine relationship and becoming apart of a community. This does not merely mean for one to become another name or member of the church but having that feeling that people enjoy your company and depend on you. It sounds like this is what that woman had in her home yet, the social services woman somehow failed and neglected to acknowledge this. Instead of looking at all of the components in her life and truly looking for the best interest of her livelihood, the social services’ person simply removed her, Caseworks, please must realize how important community is in benefiting one’s livelihood. In doing so they would understand the importance of a person’s, much less a person with disabilities’ need for a sense of belonging is in order to thrive in their home.

  6. Polly Cochran9:55 PM

    Wow, this is very sad. It seemed interesting to me that her "social" worker did not understand the social aspect of this woman's life. I guess this is just irony in the words. However, it seems as though a person who studies social work is also taught to look into the life of the person and study what would be best in their situation. I wonder if there was something in this caseworker's mind that made sense. I hope she truly felt as though she was helping this woman, rather than only moving her for convenience's sake.