Partnership And Collaboration
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This article is intended to highlight and stress the importance along with benefits of partnership and collaboration in the human service field. The goal is to inform all human service professionals of the positive impact that the agencies can have in their efforts to assist those in need. A helper is only as good as their resources and their knowledge of other feasible and appropriate resources. In order for any human service professional or agency to be effective and efficient in assisting those in need, they must first be aware of their limitations and how to overcome them.

This article contains no hypothesis only facts with examples making it easy for the (HSP) to understand the importance of integration. Partnership and collaboration is not only done through agencies, as this writing will show and prove that the world is an open arena for partnership and collaboration. Human services are no different than the doctor who realizes his medical constraints when trying to heal the sick. A well equipped doctor reaches out to other medical institutions for assistance in aiding the individual in need.

Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of human service constraints. However, once the leaders understood their limitation they reached out world wide in order to address the needs of those suffering and that is what human services is all about. Helping those in need address their hierarchal needs before tackling the more severe long-term issues. Upon concluding your read, hopefully you will be better equiped to prepare the aspiring human service professional to act sooner rather than later. Because a prompt response to the lacking needs of people always make for a better and measurable outcome.

Human services has always been in existence since the beginning of time and can easily be traced or linked as far back to slavery if not further. When I think of human service I always find the non-complex clarity in the words itself. Providing assistance to those human beings who are either unable or incapable of providing their own needs of survival and daily living. Such as Harriett Tubman, the people wanted to escape bondage but allowed feared to keep them complacent.

Therefore, she empowered them with her words and implemented a guaranteed plan of escape thus giving them hope for a better tomorrow. Empowerment is what human services is all about; it’s the core principle in which keeps various agencies active. Until the 1500’s, the Catholic Church accepted responsibility for those in need. Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that religious traditions formed the earliest foundation for the concept of human services.

The following are just a few of those concepts, Tzedakeh in Judaism, Waqfs in Islam and the teachings of the Gospels in Christianity. Later during the evolution of human services the responsibility was also assumed by feudal lords until a new economy evolved. The bardening system was negated and the less fortunate could no longer survive by numerous contributing factors. The poor were unable to compete in the workforce due to lack of education.

In 1601, two English documents codified the necessity of addressing the needs of the poor: Statute of Charitable Uses and Elizabethan Poor Law. The two prominent religious figures associated with (HS) are Saint Thomas and Saint Francis. The (EPL) was a law passed due to the high level of poverty in England and the US for the next 350 years. The earliest notable human service organizations are dated back to 1751. In 1751 Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin collaborated with the community to open Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, then in 1813 Quakers found first private psychiatric hospital in the US, the Asylum for Persons Deprived of The Use of Their Reason.

During this era there were three major areas of human service activity: public education, slavery and abolitionism and health care/institutionalization for the insane, blind deaf, etc. Key figures in these areas are; Dorethea Lynde Dix, Frederick Douglass, Samuel Gridley Howe and Horace Mann. All of the previous named pioneers are linked to the antebellum activity of human services. As the reconstruction and reform of human services began two significant changes marked the beginning of a new era in the delivery of social services.

“Jim crow” laws existed in most southern states by 1880. However, in 1883, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the Civil Rights Act of 1875, in effect legalizing segregation and discrimination against blacks. An economic depression in 1873, combined with the end of the Freedman’s’ Bureau had created a wasteful and inefficient system of relief and aid societies that were wholly unable to handle the demands of the needy. As human services moved into the 19th century, changing times and the beginning of change in human service and welfare became confusing but clear of the mission and goal. Those who possessed the power to control all assistance associated various terms and principles with their duty to aid those in need.

Industrialization and immigration became widespread and increased the poverty level. Being poor were viewed as the fault of the individual himself and getting aid from the government was encouraging them to stay poor. Social philosophies emerged to include; individualism which meant that “hard work was the key to success".Individualism hypothesize that everyone was responsible for their own well being and poverty was a sign of their spiritual weakness”.

The second philosophy is laissez-faire. This focused on social responsibility rather than individual and was implemented to negate the responsibility of the government to assist the less fortunate and let the poor live as they please “live and let Live”. Finally, social Darwinism which is based on the clich� that “only the strong survive.” The 20th century-new direction towards new government legislation was interesting.

This era was considered the era of real social reform. Charity organization employee became known as social workers which were people who had to have specific skills, knowledge and understanding to work with the poor. However, unknown to anyone, it would be several Presidents who would play key roles in bringing human services into the new millennium. Each President approached human services from different perspectives, their acknowledgment regarding the government as it played a major role in the social demise of the people was unique and controversy.

In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt came into office during the great depression which involved vast unemployment, falling business ventures and the collapse of banks. It’s because of his understanding of human services and concern for all human kind that he advocated for those suffering from poverty by signing the federal legislation to include the work progress administration and the civilian conservation corps which provided short term aid to those unemployed. Lyndon Johnson would follow Roosevelt lead by declaring war on poverty in 1965. President Johnson war on poverty consisted of him developing programs that focused on the root of poverty.

Both of the previous presidents approached the hierarchy needs of the people as primary and vital to the country and their survival. History of both Presidents shows the benefits of partnership and collaborated for the good of those in need. As human services became important to the nation it became more important to government officials. However, the governments approach was with concern of how to save money and force people to provide for their own needs rather than at the expense of political officials.

President Nixon had a conservative approach to human services and implemented the new federalism which focused on individuals being responsible for their own situations. Thus this approach reverts back to the early 19th century. In 1978 president Ronald Regan signed the proposition 13 and this was in effort of terminating a number of social programs. In 1988 Bush Sr. continued the human service demise of those suffering from poverty by continuing policies like Reagan and focusing on how to keep the government from financially investing in the people.Bill Clinton took a humanistic approach similar to Johnson and Roosevelt by changing the welfare system to focus on education, training, short term support and personal responsibility.

This was the personality responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act. This legislation would empower the people, increase the number of families who are employed and instill self-sufficiency in the individuals and groups. These changes would forever affect human service agencies being able to meet the needs of the people. Over time the needs of the people have escalated and now require more than just a single entity of assistance.

Addressing the needs of the people isn’t a job or success of one modality, instead it requires multifaceted personnel input. Therefore, it’s important for agencies to partnership and collaborates with other professionals, agencies, companies and the community in order to be effective in assisting the individual or group in need (Online Theractice of Leadshit). All human service agencies have a purpose which is reflected in their mission statement. The mission of any human service agency is their summary and identification of the population in which it seeks to serve along with goals, funding along with reflection of the values which influence decision making.

For instance, the mission of GSAP is to develop and provide safe, effective and comprehensive treatment services to the citizens of Maryland. Whenever human service professionals engage with individuals in need of assistance, they are required to be prepared to address their needs in full “whole”. Sometimes in order to be successful and effective in aiding those in need, the agency or human service professional must network and request assistance. The assistance can prove more effective if human service professionals and agencies partnership and collaborate.

Partnership is vital to the effectiveness of human service agencies because it’s a relationship where people work together to achieve goals meaningful to all parties involved. Partnerships often result from collaborative efforts. Collaboration is a process where people with diverse interests share knowledge and resources to improve outcomes and enhance decisions (The American Heritage “College Dictionary,” 3rd ed). During my interview with substance abuse advocate Nick Usher, he reports “I don’t think my agency would be successful if we didn’t partnership & collaborate.”

According to N. Usher, due to his agency ability to partnership and collaborate, they have been able to receive federal, state and BSAS grants for their non-profit organization. The funding in which his organization receives allows them to pay staff salaries along with provide effective and efficient assistance to those in need. The funding in which his agency receives also allows them to keep the variety of assistant departments active. The Baltimore Healthcare Access organization offers a variety of assistance programs for clients such as but not limited to the following; Maternal & Infant Care, Foster Care: Department of Juvenile Justice, Baltimore Health Department and Advocate for the Homeless Shelter.

The vast human service in this country undoubtedly provides services to virtually all Americans at sometime in their lives. While these services are typically taken for granted on an individual level, they are often vociferously attacked on an institutional and policy level. There is great concern that many of the human service organizations have failed to provide measurable outcomes and service to the population in which it serves. It’s for that reason that “codes of ethics” were put in place. Because of the service provision dilemmas and inadequacy of some human service agencies, partnership and collaboration proves effective in assisting those in need.

According to Kimball, organizational effectiveness is a company’s long-term ability to consistently achieve its strategic and operational goals as stated in the mission and goal statement. The goal approach is the oldest and most widely used evaluation approach for measuring organizational effectiveness. However, it is by no means the only method. There’s at least three working definitions of organizational effectiveness that appear to be appropriate.

First, organizational effectiveness can be measured by the ability of an organization to acquire needed resources to accomplish or achieve its desired goals. Secondly, organizational effectiveness can be defined in terms of how smoothly the organization functions, especially the degree or absence of internal strain within the organization. More importantly, organizational effectiveness can be determined by the extent to which the organization itself is able to satisfy both the internal and external clients’ needs. Human service agencies shouldn’t be complacently concerned with effectiveness with its external clients, but equally eager to be effective with employees, managers, executives and other in-house agency colleagues.

Things to be considered when seeking effectiveness internally are: loyalty, motivation, teamwork and promptness. Organizations have been compared to human organisms. Just as humans have digestive, circulatory, skeletal and nervous systems, organizations have similar subsystems that enable them to remain alive. Effective partnership and collaboration within an agency allows measurable human service agency performance and can be viewed as the agencies lifeline. The performance measurement involves four key components, input, process, outputs and feedback.

Efficiency is the link between any human service agency ability to weigh or measure their output or production along with individual level of competence with regard to their mission and goal objective. It should be clear as to all program investments in relation to meeting the needs according to the modality of treatment or assistance offered. Is the program investing equal funds in comparison to the cost of services offered and received? If the agency is grant funded, are they properly managing the funds allotted for the said purpose or are they wasting resources?

More importantly, does the agency have sufficient funding to meet the needs of those they seek to assist? According to professor John L. Hudgins, the fundamental questions will continue to be whether or not the greater good yielded is worth the cost relative to other possible utilization of the resources. Human services have evolved over the years and with trial and error it has been discovered that there needs to be written rules to govern the human service professionals behavior. All professionals should be ethically grounded in their everyday life, but especially their professional life.

Ensuring that the rights of all persons are protected there’s codes of ethics that all human service professionals must adhere to. The code of ethics outline the human service agency principles and standards, they also act as a guide which governs our responses to all clients as not to violate their rights. The code of ethics also highlights the professional responsibility to the client. To what extent do the program and their efforts reflect the personal and professional ethics?

The behavior of all human service professionals should always maximize the good towards clients and minimize hurt and harm “nonmaleficience” First do No Harm. Human services are based on improving and individuals well-being. If so then the fundamental question should be; to what degree are our efforts (individual and collective) contributing to the client’s well-being? Therefore, if the goal is to seek the maximum results of positive outcome, then it proves beneficial for human service agencies to partnership and collaborate.

No one entity has ever brought about significant and measurable change. However, teams and groups have proven to make a memorable difference in the lives of those which they aid in their time of need. When organizations reach out for assistance they bring diverse insight to the table along with new ideas that other wise might not have been brought to the surface. Most agencies are unclear about how to partnership and collaborate, but there’s five basic and easy ways to increase the effectiveness of your agency.

Third party mediators, a lot of business use consultants and other forms of business advisors and they are merely arbitration between two other parties. The Baltimore City Family Courts use mediators all the time for conflict resolution and problem solving. If child protective services (CPS) remove a child from his/her parents the child is appointed a child advocate (CA), the parents have an attorney and there’s the judge. The (CA) is responsible for expressing the child’s rights and desires to the court and the parents and the parents aren’t allowed to speak to the child during the court proceedings. In this case the child is being protected and their right to representation is implemented.

The goal of any human service agency is to help the individual problem solve and offer conflict resolution and that’s exactly what a mediator would do. The effective mediator is an individual who is trained in conflict resolution. The most effective skill a mediator will have is the ability to encourage all parties to think outside of the box. More importantly, a third party is neutral and they never take sides, they merely provide counsel and advise the agency what to do.

Universities are another way to partnership and collaborate for the benefit of individuals. During my first semester as a graduate student I benefited form the partnership and collaboration of the University of Baltimore with Coppin State University as I earned my Master’s in Human Service Administration. The University of Baltimore and Coppin State University have teamed up to give (HSA) students a dual campus study experience with multiple professors and flexible course schedules, and endless available resources for its students.The human service field has a professional shortage and the Maryland Higher Education Commission offers a workforce shortage scholarship for the following majors (nursing, social work psychology and counseling).

Coppin State University has partnered up with Good Samaritan Hospital to increase their registered nurse staff. Senior nursing student Jovan Crocker, attends the Coppin Academy of Pre nursing Studies (CAPS) program. With this collaboration Good Samaritan Hospital pays 100% of his nursing tuition including textbook cost. However, upon graduation he must accept full time employment for 2 years.

If Jovan decides not to accept the partnership deal, then he must pay back the full amount of tuition paid on his behalf including book cost which range from $65,000 to $80,000. Collaborating is essential with regards to funding or financial constraints. Other ways of partnership and collaborating is, partnership guides, friend groups/websites, training or seminars, parties and other events that allow professional networking. The lifeline of human service agencies consist of three important components.

Awareness, stay up to date with resources, this includes available funding. An effective human service professional should know when resources have been cancelled and when new resources are available. Never make the mistake of referring or encouraging a client to seek assistance from a resource that no longer exists. Brainstorm; never be afraid to share ideas/interventions with colleagues or other human service professionals.

Newer and fresher ideas can sometimes prove to be rewarding in seeking conflict resolution. According to Wimpfheimer, an organization is a group of people associated for business, political, professional, religious, athletic, social, or other purposes. Its activities require human beings to interact; they exchanged information, ideas, plans, make decisions, rules, proposals, contracts, and agreements. Communication is the “lifeblood” of every organization.

Effective communication is therefore critical to the success of an organization because organizations today are becoming more complex both in structure and technology. Economic conditions are forcing greater efficiency and quality at maximum cost in services and government legislation requires agency managers to interpret the changing implications for policies and practices of their organization. Therefore, when we look at the changes that are taking place in organizations today, it is clear that managers, to be effective, require communication performance at high levels of excellence. Human service agencies would prove to be more effective and efficient in their efforts to assist those in need if they incorporate partnership and collaboration in their daily function.

Teaming up with the community, various companies, different websites, politicians and other human service agencies or professionals would be beneficial to all parties involved. The helpers receive leverage in conflict resolution, problem solving, they meet the individual agencies mission and goal objective and they build support for the client. Understanding the importance of partnership and collaboration makes the task of measuring outcomes easier. The individual agency creates human service relationships for both current and future clients while increasing longevity or desire to thrive within the individual.

Teaming up also promotes successful treatment and goal planning while meeting the basic needs of the individual or group regardless if they are short term or long term. Maslow states, individuals are unable to focus on the long term goals if their basic needs are unmet. The old saying is “it takes a village to raise a child.” Therefore, it will take a village to assist an individual, partnership and collaborate and empower someone.


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