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A Day in the Life of a Children’s Case Manager

July 13, 2022

The Children’s Case Management team is made up of Olivia Knieff, who is the Lead Case Manager for the team and supervises the Children Case Managers – Kristine Escamilla, Jeneen Viens, Genevieve Marmaduke and Dani Murdock. Together they support countless families to navigate three different programs. CHCBS (Children’s Home and Community Based Services) which is for children with significant medical needs and is unique in that a child does not require an Intellectual or Developmental Disability to receive this support, CHRP – Children’s Habilitation Residential Program Waiver is for children who have an I/DD and very high needs who are at risk of out of home placement and FSSP -Family Support Services Program which provides support, funding and coordination for families with one or more family member with an I/DD.

What does a typical day look like?

Jeneen shared that she likes to work a typical 9-5 so that she is always ready for dinner with her children. She starts her day by getting organized, going through emails and determining what she’d like to prioritize that day. She spends a majority of her time responding and connecting with families. After that, she’ll complete things like service plans or 100.2 assessments. Kristine shares that she likes to be very flexible with her day and prefers not to work a typical 9-5. Genevieve states, “Lots of meetings and emails!” Genevieve also adds that she spends most of her days on teams meetings, “sometimes for six hours a day!” so it’s important for her to take breaks and get outside. Olivia reports that they spend a lot of time following up on receipts with families that are supported through FSSP, which allows families to turn in receipts for things like respite for reimbursement. Helping families problem solve and ensure they are getting everything they need through these different programs and waivers is a big part of the day-to-day.

What is your favorite part about being a Children’s Case Manager?

Dani says that she enjoys working with the families on her caseload and that the best part is meeting the children during meetings. That doesn’t always happen, especially with the younger children, since so much is supporting parents. Dani says that it’s really fun when you get to see the kids and celebrate when successes happen, big or small, it’s always great to share in that excitement with them. Kristine echoes how wonderful it is to work with families and children. Kristine shared a fun story about a little boy that read her a book three times, it was short, but he loved reading it to her over and over. “I love the little ones and being there for them all the way until they transition to adult services, and everything in between” says Kristine. Jeneen loves sharing resources with families and seeing how the different opportunities in the community can really impact families. “I recently had a resource go out for the Special Olympics track team. My son wanted to go, and I saw two of my families there. It was so great to be able to provide that to them and meet them in person.” Being part of these families’ lives is huge and the Children’s Case Management team plays such a vital part in that. Genevieve says, “It’s such an honor to play a small part in a child’s life and be able to contribute to their support network. I’ve watched kids on my caseload walk across the stage for graduation, make new friends, and go on trips around the world.” “I love having the opportunity to watch their children grow and hit milestones. I’ve been here long enough now to see children go from early childhood to adolescence.” – Olivia.

What are some of the challenges you face?

Children’s Case Management is not without its fair share of challenges. Everything from families in crisis, lack of providers and navigating the ever-changing rules of waivers and programs and supporting families through them. CHRP is very challenging because families are going through a crisis, and it can be hard to find them the supports they need due to a lack of providers available. “The waiver and services are there but there aren’t always providers” Jeneen said. “We are bringing in children who aged out of Early Intervention which involves a very comprehensive support as compared to FSSP, which is just financial reimbursement. That change can be challenging for families and in turn it’s hard at times to help those families build up that level of support again.” Olivia shared. Olivia goes on to say, “we are often working with families who are in the process of getting a diagnosis for their child and recognizing that their life isn’t going to be what they imagined and supporting families though that grief and acceptance process. I wasn’t anticipating that challenge.” The Children’s Case Management team may be small, but their reach is far and wide. Genevieve said that her team is always sharing resources with one another, emailing and being there for each other. Olivia loves that about her team as well, they can all really depend on one another. Olivia also made sure to acknowledge the amount of support that Wanda Wold and Colin Kenzlo provide to the FSSP families and the team. The IT Department has also supported the FSSP program with a portal that allows families to have a lot of participation. It’s amazing to see how hard everyone from many different departments works to ensure that the families in our community have the support, technology, and knowledge they need to see their children live the best lives possible.

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