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What is a Case Navigator™?
Case Navigator™ helps you navigate the procedural aspects of your case. Your Case Navigator™ helps you understand the terms and acronyms you may come across, what the courts or your attorney may ask you to do (and why), and helps you stay on track with those requests/orders. This leads to reduced stress, better-informed decisions, and better outcomes.
Will the Case Navigator™ give me legal advice?
No. That is the role of your attorney. Case Navigator™ helps you navigate the process.
Why do I need a Case Navigator™?
Attorneys and DHS have incredibly full schedules. They may not always have the time to fully explain the process to you. Because your Case Navigator™ does not have the “practice of law” time constraints or the caseload/paperwork requirements of DHS, she is more accessible and has more time to spend on the procedure.
Shouldn’t my attorney/DHS be doing these things?
They could do these things, and often do. However, again because of the time constraints, the information is sometimes presented in piecemeal ways (e.g., explaining only the hearing that’s coming up) rather than a comprehensive way that provides context. When Case Navigator™ picks up the procedural pieces, it leaves more time for your attorney and caseworker to work with you on the substantive aspects of your case.
How does the process work?
Your Case Navigator™ will spend an hour with you at the outset of your case. S/he will cover five key areas:
- Terms and acronyms
- Logistics of going to court
- Calendars and Deadlines
- Expectations and Roles of Providers, as well as the expectations they have of you
Additionally, your Case Navigator™ will set up your client portal and show you how to use it. You will also be provided with a hard copy of this information where appropriate.
The second thing your Case Navigator™ will do is send you a monthly checklist (via yourMyCase portal), and will provide a follow-up phone call designed to help you comply with any requests, requirements or orders that DHS, the court, or your attorney may have for you. Case Navigator™ is also looking into text notification reminders to further help you stay on track with hearings and Family Team Meetings (“FTMs”).
Third, your Case Navigator™ will serve as your first contact resource. If it is a procedural type of question, your Case Navigator™ will answer it. If it’s a legal question, s/he will forward that to your attorney with a request that he follow up with you. And if it’s for something else, your Case Navigator™ will help you get to the right person quickly.
Finally, when your case closes, your Case Navigator™ will have a wrap-up session with you to help strategize services that might be available should you need them after the case closes, as well as help you think through the ways you might continue the good habits you developed during the case.
What if I lose the documents you give me?
General information documents, templates, and public record court documents (e.g., orders, etc.) will be available on your client portal so you can retrieve them independently.
Additionally, the home page of your portal will be updated with hearing and family team meeting dates as I am made aware of them, so if you need to look up the date of your hearing, you can go there.
Of course, you are always welcome to call your Case Navigator™ if that’s more convenient.
How might having a Case Navigator™ help me?
Often in life, it’s the little stressors that cause us the most trouble. Whether it’s because we don’t understand what is going on, don’t know what’s expected of us, or fear of the unknown, those things take up emotional and cognitive “bandwidth,” giving us less brainpower to focus on the bigger issues. For most people, being in court is a new and foreign experience, similar in some respects to “new kid in school” feelings, but with the potential for significantly worse outcomes. When you combine these procedural stressors with the substantive, legal ones, you may feel overwhelmed.
Your Case Navigator™ will help relieve the procedural stresses by helping you understand the terms and acronyms, as well as the process of being in court. When you know what to expect procedurally, you can focus your attention on the substantive issues. You will better understand what goes on in a hearing, and what you are being asked to do. This leads to better decisions and ultimately a better outcome.
Additionally, your Case Navigator™ partners with your attorney to help keep you on track with the sometimes numerous things you are asked to do in the course of a juvenile CINA proceeding, again leading to a better outcome. It’s a team effort, and you are the most important player. In no other area of litigation does the client have so much control over the outcome. It may not feel that way, because many people are asking you to do a lot of things. But if you do the things the court and DHS are asking you to do, you will almost always be able to have your children returned to your care.