Scenario: Abraham, an eighteen year-old NMD, has a lot of questions about dating, sex and birth control methods for his social worker, Mark. Mark does not always know the correct or appropriate answers to Abraham’s questions and it makes him nervous or anxious. Mark feels he has to know how to respond to all of Abraham’s questions immediately.
What is the Case Manager required to do? The case manager is not expected to automatically know the answers to all questions that a youth may have. Depending on the youth’s questions or needs, there may be some situations where gathering the answers should happen very quickly, like when the youth is in crisis and experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, when the youth needs treatment for an STI or when a youth is in a dangerous, unhealthy relationship. However, it is ok to not have all the answers on the spot. The case manager in this scenario can let Abraham know that he will look into his concerns and provide him with the appropriate resources that address his questions regarding dating, sex and birth control.
What are some best practices for the case manager in this scenario? Case managers are advised to take a breath before answering a youth’s questions, to use active listening and rephrase the youth’s questions back to them, to ensure the case manager understands what the youth is asking. The case manager should then be clear with the youth and honest about what they do not know. Case managers should let youth know that they will research their questions and concerns and get back to them with the answers, or explore with the youth to find the answers.
Additionally, making time to speak with a supervisor to staff the case and speaking with other staff may assist the case manager with working with youth who have lots of questions. Case managers should also familiarize themselves with county resources and online resources to provide youth with questions regarding sexual and reproductive health issues.