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Last call for your input on renaming “Calls” features

Calls

Back in October we noted that we are considering a change to the names and labels used for certain features of iCarol, in order to more accurately and inclusively reflect how these features are being used, and recognize the diverse services being offered by our users. We’ve gotten a lot of responses. Here’s just a glimpse at the results of our survey so far:




    Question 1: If we were to rename the “Calls” page to better describe how you use that area of iCarol, what word would you use?
    Top three choices:
    Contacts, Conversations, Interactions

    Question 2: If we were to rename “Caller Profiles” to also better describe the people who regularly use your service, what should we call it?
    Top three choices:
    Profiles, Clients, Familiar Users

    Question 3: Would you be interested in providing more product feedback to us while we work to improve iCarol? What is the best way to invite your feedback?
    Top three choices:
    Email, In-app pop-up surveys, Dashboard

There’s still a little time left to give your input before we close this survey on December 7th so our team can take the next steps to analyze your responses, discuss, and make our own recommendation to move forward. Don’t miss your chance to give your valuable input to this discussion!

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iCarol helps you promote your Giving Tuesday messages

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Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday and we know many of you have some great campaigns in the works to generate awareness about your organization, which will hopefully result in donations as well.

We’re extending the offer to help you boost the signal on your Giving Tuesday tweets. Here’s how you can help us retweet you and generate more views for your tweets:

    1. Follow us on Twitter
    2. We’ll follow you back
    3. Be sure to use the official #GivingTuesday hashtag in your tweets
    4. Throughout the day we’ll retweet you to our followers

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to get the word out about your organization and get noticed during this season of charitable giving. We’re looking forward to reading all your great tweets sharing information about the valuable work of your organizations and wish you all lots of success generating interest, awareness, and monetary support for your agency!

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Career Opportunity at Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is currently seeking a Bilingual Helpline Social Worker/Addiction Specialist.

Below are the details about the position responsibilities and qualifications. Should you want more information about this opportunity, or if you’d like to apply, please reach out directly to Partnership for Drug-Free kids at the email listed below.

    Helpline Social Worker/Addiction Specialist – Bilingual

    Partnership for Drug-Free Kids helps families impacted by adolescent substance abuse and addiction. We are seeking a bilingual (English/Spanish) individual with a master’s degree in social work or a related field, and a background in addiction treatment for a grant-funded long term consulting assignment (approximately 3-4 months in length). This consulting role is an integral part of our Parent Support Network, with primarily responsibility for handling our toll-free telephone Helpline for parents and caregivers of kids involved with drugs and alcohol.

    In addition to the Helpline, the Parent Support Network is composed of extensive, science-based resources for parents and families at www.drugfree.org and a new system of peer-to-peer parent coaching, which pairs trained parents who have experienced a child’s substance use disorder with parents whose kids are struggling now. The Parent Support Network relies heavily on the principles of Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), which has been shown to be effective in helping the family members of someone involved with substance use in ways that produce positive outcomes for the person using, and for the family as well.

    This consulting role will focus on the Helpline, answering the phones, documenting all call reports within the iCarol data collection/reporting system and directing families to services within their communities as well as Partnership if and when appropriate.

    Major Responsibilities

  • Answer and document all helpline calls. We are seeking an individual to work a part-time (30 hours per week) evening and weekend schedule – onsite or from home – but can be flexible and consider a variety of schedule options in terms of the number of days per week, hours available, etc.
  • Support parents / caregivers by: providing science-based information about teen substance use; helping parents understand their child’s problem and make a plan to address it; employing CRAFT principles of listening, communication and support; directing to appropriate services / resources as necessary
  • Collect and record caller data, and handling after call follow-up
  • Refer where appropriate to the Network’s parent coaching system
  • Contribute clinical expertise to other members of the Partnership team as needed
  • Respond to e-mails and electronic messages from Parents and Caregivers
  • Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in counseling, social work, human services, or any closely related field — and a background in addiction treatment (substance abuse assessment and counseling)
  • Ability to speak, read and write in English and Spanish
  • Has experience in crisis intervention and aware of best practices in assessing for suicidality, homicidality as well as child neglect and abuse
  • 2 years minimum of direct clinical or telephone helpline experience
  • Prior experience in the substance abuse field
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills with the ability to convey empathy and understanding to those in need
  • Cultural awareness, sensitivity and counseling competency
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Additional Preferred Assets:

  • Knowledge of iCarol reporting system
  • Knowledge of CRAFT, familial interventions and/or motivational interviewing for substance use disorders.
  • Familial/adolescent counseling experience a major plus
  • Strong writing skills for answering emails, blog posts and parent follow-up.
  • Crisis intervention/helpline/hotline/telephonic care experience
  • How to Apply:

    The Partnership values diversity in our workforce and encourages candidates of diverse backgrounds to apply. Please send your resume, cover letter and salary history to jobs@drugfree.org No phone calls, please.

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Information and Referral Day

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Beginning in 2011, when the United States Senate first recognized Information and Referral Services Day, November 16th was designated to raise public awareness and recognize the critical importance of the I&R field.

Every day thousands of people find the help they need quickly, conveniently and free of charge because of Information and Referral (I&R) services. I&R services come in all shapes and sizes, from crisis lines that provide their local community with a core set of human service referrals, to larger scale 2-1-1 centers and statewide 2-1-1 networks providing comprehensive Information and Referral services to entire states or provinces covering many different topics and types of services.

Information and Referral is the art, science and practice of bringing people and services together and is an integral component of the health and human services sector. People in search of critical services such as shelter, financial assistance, food, jobs, or mental health support often do not know where to begin to get help, or they get overwhelmed trying to find what they need. I&R services recognize that when people in need are more easily connected to the services that will help them, thanks to knowledgeable I&R professionals, it reduces frustration and ensures that people reach the proper services quickly and efficiently.

The people who work these lines are consummate professionals who are often times like living, breathing encyclopedias; providing answers to questions ranging from, “Where can I get a free meal for my family” to “There’s a horse running loose in my neighborhood, who do I call?” We at iCarol are really honored to have so many Information and Referral services all across the world use our software to help provide these services to people who reach them via phone, chat, or text.

If you’d like to learn more about what iCarol does to support efficient referral management so you can better connect your clients with resources, check out this page of our website that goes over some of those features. You can also click here to read all of our blogs relevant to I&R and 2-1-1 helplines.

Happy I & R Day, everyone, and kudos on the awesome work you do connecting people with the services they need!

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iCarol Webinar: Introduction to Calculating Social Return on Investment

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Do you want to write more compelling reports for funders and investors? One way to do that is to turn intangible outcomes into measurable financial quantities so they can learn what kind of return they can expect to get for their investment.

To learn more on this topic, you’re invited to attend an upcoming free webinar, “Introduction to Calculating Social Return on Investment” on November 15th at 1pm EDT.

We’re delighted to welcome Dustin MacDonald as our presenter. Dustin is a Registered Social Service Worker (RSSW) who has been involved with helplines including Distress Centre Durham for the previous 5 years, as well as performing quality assurance, producing analytics and forecasting for the Ontario Online & Text Crisis Services program of Distress and Crisis Ontario. He brings to these roles an understanding of statistics and experience performing a variety of program evaluations and assessments.

Space is limited — register today!

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“The Listeners” screened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Listeners Still 9

I had a great time attending the screening for The Listeners hosted by Crisis Intervention Center. I got to see several of my former coworkers and it was so nice to catch up with them and then see such a great film. Audience members for the special screening included current and former volunteers for CIC, as well as board members, and students of an LSU Crisis Intervention Class.

The audience of current and former volunteers for CIC, board members, and students excited to screen the film
The Listeners screening Baton Rouge audience
Based on my experience working at the Crisis Intervention Center (formerly Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center), “The Listeners” is an accurate portrayal of the effort it takes to screen, train, and support volunteer crisis workers. Those in this business of telephone based crisis intervention know all too well the initial anxiety a crisis worker feels during their first shift, and “The Listeners” does a good job of capturing that feeling on film. As the film progresses though, it becomes clear that as a crisis worker learns to cope with that anxiety, they begin to realize that they are in fact making a difference in the lives of the people they speak with. Certainly not all calls that come into a crisis center are about suicide, and “The Listeners” demonstrates well that some callers just need a caring and empathetic person with whom they can unload all of their current thoughts and emotions onto.

Aaron Blackledge, Executive Director of CIC, welcomes audience to special screening of The Listeners
The Listeners screening Aaron Blackledge
In the film, they explored funding issues that crisis centers across the country are faced with, which in my opinion, highlighted the need for crisis centers to use their data to make their case for funding. Specifically, it is important for crisis centers to make requests for financial contributions by using data to demonstrate their community’s return on investment in their crisis services. Simply put – a crisis center must use data to express their ability to save the community money by averting unnecessary Emergency Department admissions through their de-escalation techniques (SAMHSA, 2014). In my own experience, without the use of iCarol, it would have been nearly impossible to calculate the number of times crisis workers did and did not send at-risk callers to the emergency room. However, because the Crisis Intervention Center uses iCarol to document all calls, chats, and texts, reporting on this data each month was quick, easy, and accurate and provided community leaders with information regarding the cost-benefit of crisis services.

I definitely encourage those in the nonprofit helpline field to see “The Listeners” because it gives a very real, very raw look at the challenges and successes crisis workers and crisis centers of all kinds face on a daily basis. I’m truly grateful for crisis workers that take calls, chats, and texts from people in need of help. While their work may be anonymous and confidential, the results of their work is felt in the individuals, families, and communities that benefit every day from these vital services.

Wendy Bookman (CIC), Christa Knox (iCarol), & Rick Jackson (CIC)
The Listeners screening

Citation:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Crisis Services: Effectiveness, Cost-effectiveness, and Funding Strategies. HHS Publication No. (SMA)-14-4848. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.

More about The Listeners:
Watch the trailer
Host a screening (it’s easy!) in a theater or college campus or community center near you.

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A Call with President Obama on ACA Open Enrollment

White House Logo

We’ve been made aware of the following information that will likely be of interest to helplines across the US, and wanted to pass this information along to you:

You are invited to join a conference call on Thursday, October 27th at 4:30 PM ET with President Barack Obama and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell to discuss the upcoming open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. We encourage you to circulate this invitation to all of your members, volunteers, and partners who will engage in enrollment efforts during the open enrollment period from November 1st to January 31st.

    Call Details
    Date: Thursday, October 27th
    Time: 4:30 PM ET, please join 5-7 minutes early to avoid connection delays
    RSVP: To receive the dial-in information, click HERE. Once you RSVP, a dial-in, participant code, and individual pin will be provided via e-mail.
    This call is off the record and not for press purposes. We look forward to speaking with you on Thursday. Champion for Coverage | Champion@cms.hhs.gov | Centers for Medicare and Medicaid | 200 Independence Ave. SW | Washington, DC 20201

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Five Tips for Working With Callers or Chat Visitors Who Have an Intellectual/Developmental Disability

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Guest blogger Brenda Patterson is the Executive Director of CONTACT the Crisis Line in Jackson, Mississippi, and serves on the Board of Directors for CONTACT USA.

With all callers/chat visitors we practice active listening and unconditional acceptance. We try to use open ended questions when facilitating conversations and summarize the caller/chat visitor’s plan as we close the conversation. When talking to an individual with an intellectual/developmental disability there can be additional considerations. Let’s look at five:

  • Person first language is a topic all by itself. Whether or not you know at the beginning of a call or chat if the individual has a disability using person first language in any conversation is important. Person first language emphasizes the person, not the disability. By placing the person first, the disability is no longer primary, but one of several aspects of the whole person. Examples include: “person with an intellectual disability,” “person who has autism,” “person who is blind,” rather than “the mentally retarded,” “the autistic,” or “the blind.” Also consider how you refer to their challenge and devices that help them adapt. Using phrases such as “person with an addiction/mental health concern” “one who uses a wheelchair” instead of “mental patient,” “drunk,” “druggie,” “invalid,” or “wheelchair bound” is preferable.

  • Consider that people with intellectual/developmental disabilities often share the following thought processes:

      - Difficulty with fluidity and flexibility of thinking

      - A dislike of ambiguity (black and white thinking)

      - Difficulty prioritizing and breaking down tasks into manageable projects

      - A tendency for poor generalization skills (a person belongs in one and only one
      environment and utilization of a skill in one situation but not others)

  • Recognize that individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability may think logically about concrete events, but have difficulty understanding abstract or hypothetical concepts. The use concrete examples when facilitating problem solving is helpful.

  • It’s important to dispel the myth that people with intellectual/developmental disabilities cannot benefit from therapy. In reality many different types of therapy have been found to be effective in treating people with developmental disabilities. Do not hesitate to mention therapy as an option. Although it generally takes longer for people with developmental challenges to make changes, those changes are stable once made.

  • Because there are higher incidents of abuse in people with any disability, the likelihood of trauma related symptoms occurring are greatly increased, which can be mistakenly attributed to the person’s developmental disability or pre-existing mental illness. Trauma responses generally represent a change from the person’s normal level of functioning.

While there are a number of additional tips to consider when talking to an individual with an intellectual/developmental disability, and there are tips which are specific to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder these are primary and apply to all individuals with a developmental disability.

With all callers we want to empower them to advocate for themselves and to generate their own solutions, as well as connecting them with services that can further assist them. Whether you are talking to the individual with an intellectual/developmental disability or their family, it’s important to ask if they are receiving Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) as provided in the state they live in. HCBS provide opportunities for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services in their own home and community. While waiting lists can be long, the services provided are invaluable and making application early in the individual’s life is important. It can mean they will have the support they need to be independent in adulthood and be happy and content in the life choices they have made.

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