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What is a Case Navigator™?

Case Navigator™ helps you navigate the procedural and logistical 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/court 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 teach you about five key areas:

  • Terms and acronyms
  • Procedure
  • Logistics of going to court
  • Calendars and Deadlines
  • Expectations and Roles of Providers, as well as the expectations they have of you (i.e., “best practices” for parents)

When your case closes, your Case Navigator™ will have a wrap-up teaching 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.

The second thing your Case Navigator™ will do is send you a monthly task list and 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.

Third, is the technology that pulls everything together. The app (or web interface if you prefer) will have your upcoming court date and any upcoming Family Team Meeting dates on each page. There are three general areas after that: documents, contact information, and resources

The documents section includes things like your court orders, FTM notes, DHS case plans, and the all-important task list. The contacts section is where you can find your team’s phone and email information, as well as update your own contact information. Finally, the resources page provides helpful information, links to community resources, and an electronic copy of the binder you received at the first teaching meeting.

Case Navigator™ will also send push notification reminders to further help you stay on track with hearings. You will get a notification one week before your hearing (with a reminder to meet with your attorney prior to the hearing if you haven’t already), the day before the hearing, and the day of the hearing.

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 team 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 like that 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.