Managing the Challenges of Social Work Case Management

Social Solutions Blog

Managing the Challenges of Social Work Case Management

Social Work Case Management

Social work case management is a particularly challenging field. It requires as understanding of many different types of case management all rolled together in one. As a result, many social workers complain about the amount of time they have to spend properly handling the documentation and management of their cases, and they lament how this takes them away from spending adequate time with their clients. As a result, this can be an incredibly frustrating model under which to operate.

However, with the advent of new programs and services to help ease the burden of client tracking, social work case management no longer has to be so challenging. Read on to learn how you can integrate a new system in order to lighten your case management load this year.

Social Work Case Management: An Overview

Social workers have a tremendous challenge because they have to handle their clients’ cases across a wide array of services, often acting as the point person for a dozen or more different service providers, organizations and agencies. They need to be able to effectively meet client tracking standards for all of these diverse stakeholders, and they need to maintain a high level of accuracy in their data collection. Although the National Association of Social Workers provides standards for case management, this is just one more thing for social workers to keep in mind, rather than a definitive guide.

The areas social work case managers are often responsible for can include:

  • Medical Care
  • Psychological Care
  • Substance Abuse Treatment/Counseling
  • Housing
  • Employment Services
  • Child Care
  • And many more

Furthermore, with funders focusing more and more on evidence and outcomes, many social work case managers feel pressured to show clear results in a field where “results” may not always truly be cut and dried.

With so many responsibilities, it is no wonder that one additional case management need or responsibility can often be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Social Work Case Management: Resources

The good news is that there are solutions available. New software tools can ease the client tracking process, allowing social workers to focus on quality improvement in their actual service delivery and resulting in better outcomes from clients. Programs such as Social Solutions ETO software can help improve social work case management processes by simplifying the data collection and entry process as well as managing much of the back-end reporting which used to fall either to the case managers themselves or an administrative team member.

The Centers for Working Families (CWF) provides one example of how Social Solutions can help. Because their goal is to provide a comprehensive approach to help low-income families reach financial stability and success, their programs are integrated with a number of various community organizations, and they work in a wide variety of social service sectors. By using a solution from Social Solutions, CWF was able to move beyond case management in order to efficiently identify target populations and assist the families in reaching greater financial stability, independence and success.


Social work case management has traditionally been fraught with challenges and complexities with few good solutions. However, the era of technology has changed all that. Utilizing software and programs to help with client tracking frees up social workers to focus on what is truly important: serving their clients and communities. Without the administrative burden of managing copious amounts of data, social services organizations are able to move beyond social work case management and can focus on continuous quality improvement of their services.

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