Case Compass Guide

Learn about case management

Learn about case management
Case management is a client-centered, goal-oriented process for assessing clients' needs for particular social services and facilitating tailored access to those services. In its most advanced form, when services are highly integrated, case management is considered a service in and of itself.

A social worker or an equivalent professional provides it to clients who need support in resolving a set of individual and/or family problems through an agreed-upon plan of action. It is a linking model that connects individuals and families to services.
“Case management services
don’t have to be complicated.”
Though it is a specialized service, case management has been implemented in a wide variety of contexts to serve a wide variety of population groups, with varying degrees of sophistication.

At its most general, it comprises a bundle of services that include information, orientation, counseling, intermediation, referrals, and more in-depth casework.
case management infographic
Case management interventions require tools that improve service delivery and facilitate social workers' tasks. Accordingly, a social worker’s main tasks consist of assessing the family's situation, then defining an intervention plan with results agreed upon by both the client and the social worker. The social worker then links the family to the services that best tackle those needs and conditions. Over time, the social worker periodically monitors and evaluates achievements and eventually closes the case.
These tools include:
Catalogues of available programs
Forms for assessment and designing intervention plans with families
Manuals to support each phase of the intervention cycle
Protocols and referral mechanisms to ensure successful linkages
Material supporting the daily practice of social work,
such as methodologies and self-care techniques
All these tools require information about the beneficiary, their context, and available benefits and services.
Information systems therefore become essential. They provide the information about the beneficiary, support all phases of the intervention, and detail the progress of any intervention or referral to internal or third-party services. CMISes are the systems that can readily provide this information.
What should I know to make use of this Guide?
The Case Compass framework
To think clearly about CMISes, it helps to be able to distinguish them based on their distinct features. The Case Compass team has developed a framework to make this easier. It includes three elements.
Target population group(s)
Low-income families
Families with children
Elderly
Level of case management
Information and orientation
Intermediation
Referrals
Case Work
Intake points
Direct intake
Indirect intake
These three elements combine to form the framework we use to classify the CMISes presented here. We think they're the three categories that set CMISes apart from each other.
When you view our CMIS cards, you'll see them categorized according to this framework.

Case management is a social protection strategy that can meet the needs of a wide variety of populations. In the CMIS cards, some commonly served populations are:
Low-income families
This population group is commonly served. Case management can also be used to meet the needs of other socioeconomic groups, though.
low income families
The unemployed, jobseekers, or other labor force populations
Countries have implemented case management in labor contexts with much success.
job seekers
Children
Child protective services and other social protection programs working with vulnerable children have used case management and CMISes to improve services and outcomes.
children
The elderly
As populations age, the needs of citizens become greater and more complex. Case management has been used to help provide social services to the elderly in many contexts.
the elderly

Case management can start small, and grow in complexity. Each level builds upon the previous level.
case management continuum
The case management continuum. Each increasing level of complexity builds on the previous one.
Information & Orientation
At this level, the individual or family is registered for case management or on a CMIS to access a service. The client receives general information and orientation about all the services and benefits available, without an in-depth assessment of needs.
Intermediation
Here, service providers or social workers register people for case management or on a CMIS to assess the specific situation of the client and to provide information, orientation and intermediation to services related with the results of the assessment process.
Referral
At this stage, service providers or social workers register people for case management or on a CMIS in order to assess the specific situation of the client. If the client meets requirements, social workers refer the beneficiary to another service. This level of integration involves neither a specific treatment nor follow-up once the client has been referred. Making an informed referral does require a quick screening or assessment of the person, as well as knowledge about available benefits and services. Any specific treatments are provided by the other service. This level of case management requires agreements (protocols) with the services where the client will be referred.
Casework
At this most advanced stage, people are registered for case management or on a CMIS where the interaction between the social worker and the client involves specific treatment (an intervention plan) and close monitoring and contact.

Beneficiaries can enter case management programs either directly or indirectly.
Direct intake
In direct intake, people are brought into case management directly at a front office. In countries with CMISes, social workers or operators record the data directly in the CMIS.
direct intake
Indirect intake
In indirect intake people are brought into case management when referred to it by another program. For instance, if a beneficiary receives case management as part of a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) scheme, registration in the GMI scheme is a required to receive case management. For countries with a CMIS, data about beneficiaries is sent to the CMIS from this other program. A social worker or operator cannot register a beneficiary directly for case management, or directly in the CMIS.
indirect intake