Referral to other agencies
From time to time in your work as a support worker you or your client will decide that they require additional or specialist support services which your organisation is unable to provide. This will require you to be involved in the process of referring your client onto another agency.
Justin, a young man on a Juvenile Justice order, is under your supervision. He tells you that he has a drug addiction problem.
As part of his case plan, you recommend he seek counselling from a drug and alcohol counsellor. You then become involved in his referral to the relevant agency.
The referral process
Each organisation will have clear guidelines on the particular process required by that agency and you will need to familiarise yourself with those, including whether a formal referral report is required.
It is important that the referral process is handled sensitively and effectively. While you may have built a good relationship with the client over time, the specialist or other service will be new to the person. Both parties may need to be supported to ensure that the referral process is comfortable and successful for the client.
Some major ways of supporting this process are:
- Ensure a referral letter or report accompanies the client. (Make sure you have the client's consent for any release of information).
- Arrange for an advocate (friend, elder, worker) to be present for the first interview.
- Ensure that an interpreter is made available if required.
- Arrange a meeting of appropriate people.
- Use augmentative communication systems or aids if required.