Services Are On Hold

Today I finally got the meeting I had requested nearly two weeks ago when I contacted the supervisor of the Job Coaching services.

When I met with the Job Coach alone with my son, this past Monday, she provided a lot of double talk and dressed me down. I'm not sure why I allowed that, I think because I was a bit stunned and taken aback by her attitude. I felt attacked. After she and I met, she called me from her cell phone and told me she was asking her supervisor for a meeting with everyone.

Today she arrived nearly 10 minutes early for the meeting and sat in her car in front of our house talking on her cell phone. When she finally came up on the deck it was because her supervisor and the waiver coordinator had arrived. They came in together. The waiver coordinator sat down next to me, the supervisor on my other side and the job coach across the room.

Just before my husband got home we started the meeting. I explained why I had asked for a meeting in the first place. The new fiscal year had begun and his hours had decreased by half. I wanted to know what kind of a schedule he could expect with only 6 hours of job coaching available to him. I thought we should develop a strategy as to how we could best use those hours.

The job coach interrupted me and started her sentence with "Mrs. M______ told me that Shannon said I should already have him (my son) employed, shouldn't be using his hours for volunteering." I corrected her explaining that Shannon had told me that typically job coaching services are delivered by placing the person in the job and working on the job with the individual to develop the skills they need to work independently, not volunteering until the person has learned the skills and is independent then finding them a job to be placed in. Shannon who was present (waiver coordinator) agreed that was exactly what she had told me. The job coach stopped us and said she was unaware that was the way the service was to be delivered, as they don't do things that way with most other clients who are 'contracted' to work with them.

At one point, she rolled her eyes when I was speaking and I stopped everything, told her not to roll her eyes, I find it disrespectful and I don't appreciate it. She denied having done it, though she had gone so far as to make a face.

The supervisor indicated that there were a number of options available to us, they could hire someone to work with their waiver clients which would allow them to set a specific schedule, so someone like my son would know what to expect, could have the routine he thrives on and is necessary for success; we could take a break from these services and allow my son time to establish a relationship and routine with his new habilitation aide (to reduce his stress); or we could use another agency.

We more or less decided to take a break, wait for them to hire a person who could deliver his services with some consistency. Shannon had to go and told me she thought I should share with the supervisor what had transpired on Monday when the job coach had come to the house, so I explained that I have been very angry over the way I was treated, the things that were said and as I explained what had happened, I began to cry as I said, "I can't believe I couldn't get a little understanding, seeing as how I was running an errand using my power chair, for crying out loud."

Suddenly the job coach starts crying and says she wants to take herself out of the equation, she will remove herself from my son's services and literally begs her supervisor to allow her to leave the house and meeting, which she does.

After she was gone the supervisor asked me to go into more detail about some of my concerns and I learned all kinds of things I should have known or at the very least suspected, such as the fact that my son should not have been detailing her filthy car, he should not have been cleaning the fire hall where she volunteers as an EMT, (both of these jobs should have been approved by her supervisor which she indicated she would never have approved), the job coach was constantly on her cell phone, taking calls from her adult daughter while she was in meetings with us and working with my son on accessing the internet to look for jobs when in fact policy dictates that her cell phone should have been turned off, she had tried to convince me to hire her daughter to be my son's habilitation aide which she should not have done while on the clock especially since the agency she works for offers those services, was 'assessing' him on the job indicating that he was 'challenged' by 'needing supervision' even though she had told me she sat in another room doing paperwork while he was working because he had told her she made him nervous watching him. We talked about how she had wanted us to name places we thought he could work, but that I had expressed how ridiculous it was for her to expect us to do that, seeing as how I've never seen him working outside the home and don't have the knowledge to evaluate his skills and how could he tell her where he wanted to work because he's not familiar with many jobs or what they entail. I expressed that my understanding was that it was the job coach's job to line up possible employment contacts, take my son to different jobs and let him try them to assess what his skills are and to find him suitable employment based on his skills, then she would stay with him on the job learning the specifics of the position until he was comfortable working on his own.

The more the supervisor and I talked the more I realized there had been so many procedural rules and policies violated by this woman, I really should have voiced my concerns much earlier on.

The supervisor instructed me not to take any calls from the job coach, should she try to make contact with me, that she was going to be addressing all these things in a professional manner and that she really needed to know these things so she can 'manage' her staff. She indicated that it was not an excuse, but this particular job coach was not trained by her, so she didn't know how she was providing services and apologized several times, indicating that I was only trying to do what was best for my son and that my concerns were 'spot on', that I had every right to question what was being done and in the future she would like me to call her with any concerns, questions or suggestions regarding procedures, services, etc.

So, we are taking a break from these services while they hire a suitable staff person and train them. This will give him time to get settled in with his new Hab aide and for us to get some sort of 'normalcy' restored to our household schedule. She indicated that it might take up to two months to interview, hire and train someone. That's okay with me, because that takes us into September when it will be cooler, my husband's overtime schedule will have ended and things will be slowing down a bit for us.

I feel badly that I lost control of my emotions, I feel badly that the job coach cried and left the house, but ultimately, as the supervisor reminded me, my only concern needs to be my son. I can't really worry about anyone else when it comes to his services. If she's unable to properly do her job, then perhaps she needs to reconsider her career choice.
rollingwithhusky rollingwithhusky
46-50, F
7 Responses Jul 16, 2010

sorry to hear you went through all this , and yes you are so right your son should be your number one priority !

Just meeka..LOL that's what I was going to say. Don't hide the tape recorder. Tell them up front everything will be recorded. they will tend to mind their p's and q's if you do that. In most states, the law has changed regarding recording though. In most states, as long as one party knows they are being recorded it's legal.

FNB,<br />
I watched the video... it reminded me of what Medicare recently did to me with regard to servicing and maintaining my power chair. I had anxiety attacks, panic attacks, I shook and cried, whenever I had to interact with these people who treated me with such utter contempt. I already had a pre-existing diagnosis of PTSD, so they triggered me, terribly. I felt I was being abused all over again and again and again. <br />
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I'm glad to see someone acknowledging this form of abuse. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Thanks FNB and BD. I greatly appreciate the concern and suggestions.<br />
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I usually keep social service folks on their toes by sharing with them that I worked in the field for a number of years and I know how the system is supposed to work, I know how the services are to be delivered and in the case of this waiver service, I took workshops and seminars on it, so I'm quite educated. They tend to find that intimidating, but every now and then I run across someone, as you've described, that gets some sort of a power rush out of pushing around the people they are supposed to be serving. <br />
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In PA, I've been told you can't record someone without their prior consent, otherwise it's useless because it's not admissible in a court action and I could get into trouble for recording someone without their knowledge. <br />
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If things don't improve, I'll place a complaint with the Office of Developmental Programs (the funding source for these services) and I'll let them sort out the agency that's not providing services in an appropriate manner. I had to have representatives of ODP come to my home when we first qualified for the waiver funding because the local service providers couldn't even start services in a professional and appropriate manner. <br />
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As an aside:<br />
When I was working in a disability related organization, I developed an understanding for why so many social service providers appear to be inept and unprofessional... the agency I worked for was always looking for new funding sources, they had a "Program Developer" who looked for new funding they might be able to bring into the agency. They would go to a brief service provider training on the new program and come back to the office, give us a synopsis of what was expected to qualify for payment under the new program and then tell us to implement it. <br />
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One example would be Social Security's "Ticket to Work" program. The government paid providers to set employment goals for persons receiving SSDI and SSI who wanted to work in the hopes of getting them permanent full time employment so they would no longer require their benefits. The provider had to help them develop job skills,search for a job, determine whether they were employable, etc. NO ONE in our agency had any job development training, NO ONE had any skills as a job coach or experience in work readiness assessments. We weren't even required to obtain a release from the beneficiary's physician as to whether it was advisable to work.<br />
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The agency accepted the funding and participation in the program solely because of the possible income it would bring into the agency. The staff was not prepared to implement the program. <br />
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I think there are a lot of factors for why things go so, so wrong.

I can't even watch the video or read the page the entire way through. I'm glad it's being recognised though. I just gave up my rights to SSI because I can't hack it in court. I can't even open their letters. I have nobody here who can read the letters for me and I asked for them to send someone and they refused. I am being discriminated against for the same disability I was granted SSI for in the first place.

I agree with flowers. Record everything. I've got a digital recorder and my pentax will take video and record sound so it looks like an innocent camera sitting on the table. Public servants of any kind scare the begeesis out of me. There does seem to be a majority of inept and discourteous "professionals" in the field. It's not about helping anymore, it's about having power over those less fortunate than you are.

That's the thing, "already burdened with disability and then having to be treated unprofessionally and discourteously" is so frustrating and insulting. I agree with you that some providers seem to 'get their rocks off emotionally' by throwing their weight around with people with disabilities. <br />
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What a world! is right!!!! Thanks for your suggestions and understanding. <br />
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