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How Social Workers Support Youth at Covenant House Vancouver
The Integrated Case Management Team (“ICMT”) at Covenant House Vancouver is made up of registered Social Workers who provide youth-focused, coordinated, and all-encompassing services to young people experiencing homelessness. One of the Social Workers, Sunnie, shared this story as an example of how the team was able to support a young person named Matthew:
Matthew is someone with the brightest smile I have ever seen. If you ever see him react to something funny, his whole face just lights up in genuine delight. When he first came to the Crisis Program at Covenant House Vancouver, he introduced himself as Matt and wanted everyone to call him that.
We got the sense that he was running away from something. There was a lot in his past that was painful to him, and he was very brave to leave the situation he was in. It took him a little while to settle in and get used to the rhythms of Vancouver and being in our Crisis Program. He applied for, and got accepted to, many jobs; but it was difficult to find one that fit his strengths and skills. Time and time again, he would become discouraged as he found himself in a work environment that was too stimulating for him.
With encouragement and support from his youth workers, his clinical counsellor, and his social worker, he gradually became more comfortable exploring his strengths. He ended up getting his dream job with a retail company, and even won a top sales award during a busy shift!
One of Matt’s goals has always been to find acceptance and community. When he became more confident with his job, he also became more comfortable with the way he dressed and carried himself.
After many weeks of planning on how he would do it, he reached out to his extended family, who were really glad to hear from him. When he left the Crisis Program, he wanted to be known as Matthew. He told staff that he is now more confident and has a stronger sense of self.
Matthew learned how to set boundaries, and is leaving with an open heart, to a family that loves him and cares about him.
More About Integrated Case Management at Covenant House Vancouver
Integrated Case Management may include:
- Assessments of overall health (mental, physical, and spiritual)
- Creation and implementation of weekly case plans
- Short and long-term goal setting
- Referrals to, and coordination of, specialized services like psychiatrists and other medical professionals
Covenant House Vancouver takes a Trauma-Informed approach to caring for young people. This involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma-Informed care also emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety and helps youth rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. Social Workers seek to focus and build upon the unique gifts and strengths that each individual young person possesses.
Covenant House Vancouver’s Integrated Case Management process is based on the following principles:
- Youth-centered services
- Cultivating relationships of trust and mutual respect
- Realistic plans
- Youth participation and self-determination
- A holistic approach that addresses physical, mental, social, and spiritual health
- An ease of transition between programs along a continuum of care
- Focusing on resilience
- Celebration of diversity
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Accountability and responsibility
To learn more about Covenant House Vancouver and the programs they offer to homeless and at-risk youth, visit their website. Follow Covenant House on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more info.
Since 1997, Covenant House Vancouver has been providing love and hope to youth experiencing homelessness. They are the premiere service provider of residential and outreach services for homeless and at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 in Vancouver.