After we have discovered the gaps and needs, we can begin to recommend strategies and supports aimed at eliminating the gap between the current, “what is”, and the desired, “what should or could be.”
At this time, it is also important to determine if Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) services are appropriate for the learner. Is the client eligible? Is the learner suitable? Does your agency have the capacity or is there a wait list? The Iroquois Falls Adult Learning Centre created an Eligibility and Suitability Form to help them establish if a learner is right for their program. You can find a copy in the Sample Forms section of this module.
The needs determination may establish that other services would best assist the clients/learners to reach their goals. In these cases, we should take care that we match clients with the service and provider that best meet their needs in the fewest possible steps. Referrals to other services need not happen in isolation from LBS learning. By providing supported access to other services we can all help learners achieve their goals.
LBS learners, as do other adults, have many issues, pressures and responsibilities in their lives. Balancing these against the demands of learning is often difficult. It doesn’t take very long in the LBS field for practitioners to know that many literacy learners face challenges beyond the mandate and funding of LBS services. In fact, most literacy learners need some supports other than quality literacy instruction in order to succeed. If learners do not have the time, energy or focus for their learning activities, they will not make the progress required to reach their goals. Personal worries and challenges can divert a learner’s efforts from their LBS learning.
OALCF Supporting Learners through Service Coordination and Referrals reports that research has identified fifteen supports, falling into five categories, which are important for learner success.
- Financial/Material Supports
- Income Support
- Academic Supports
- Learning Disability Assessment/Programming
- Monitoring/Support of program participation
- Employment Supports
- Job Search
- Monitoring and support for entry or re-entry into the workforce (e.g., orientation to workplace, work experience and job coaching, motivation/attitude regarding employment)
- Social Service Supports
- Housing Assistance
- Legal Assistance (including parole, pardon, custody, Children’s’ Aid)
- Personal/Family Counselling (including Anger Management/Stress Management Groups)
- Life/Social Skills (e.g., time management, interpersonal skills, assertiveness, problem solving, conflict resolution)
- Health Supports
- Mental Health Assessment/Support
- Addiction/Substance Abuse Counselling or Program
It is not possible for LBS programs and practitioners to develop the skills and expertise to help learners with all the issues that may be overwhelming them. Instead, by using service coordination and referral, we can link learners to the non-instructional supports they need. To do this we must have the knowledge, partnerships and tools that enable us to provide timely access to the required supports and services within our communities, over the Internet, etc.
For example, John is a learner at your program. He has always been a happy, energetic and motivated participant. You notice he is tired and fidgety and not applying himself. You sit down with him and tell him how you have noticed a difference. You ask if there is something troubling him that you could help with. He advises that his wife has been laid-off from her job, so now he doesn’t know how they are going to feed their family. If you do not know already, you research where there is a local food bank. You obtain an application (or let John do this if he is able) and help him to fill it out, if necessary. You check with John in few days to ensure he was able to go to the food bank and get support.
Using 211 Ontario
An excellent source for information about services is 211 Ontario. According to their website, through their telephone hotline (dial 211) and their website search tools, 211:
- provides a gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and related government services.
- helps to navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 150 languages.
- connects people to the right information and services.
|211’s customer satisfaction tool showed that:
2016 Survey Results http://211Ontario.ca
For information on how to search for information using 211 Ontario, check out their video How To Search 211 Ontario on YouTube.
There is an expression, “If you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen.” That may be true if you don’t record your information and referral activities and that isn’t to your advantage. Service Coordination in the form of referrals in and out of your program is a significant factor in MTCU’s rating of your LBS service provision. In fact, to meet your LBS Service Quality, Service Coordination targets, 50% of your exited learners need to have had either a referral in from or a referral out to an education, training, employment or other community resource.
MTCU tracks our referrals through what gets recorded in EOIS-CaMS.
We need to place “referral in” and “referral out” information in the EOIS-CaMS learner plans (service plans), as well as in our hard copy learner files. When a learner first registers with us, they are asked how they were referred to our program. This information is recorded on the Employment Ontario Participant Registration – LBS form and entered into the EOIS-CaMS database along with other initial data. Not all referral options are counted in the calculation of our Service Coordination, in Report 64. For example, the following three Referred-in options are not included:
- EO – Literacy and Basic Skills Service Provider
- Informal Word-of-Mouth/Media Referral
- No Response
Outgoing referrals are entered into EOIS-CaMS as sub-goals of the learner plan (service plan) whenever they occur: at intake, throughout the training or at exit. As in the referrals-in, not all Referred-Out selections in EOIS-CaMS are included in the calculations for Service Coordination. For specific referral options that are included in this calculation, refer to Employment Ontario Information System (EOIS) Case Management System Service Provider User Guide: Reporting.
An up-to-date learner plan is a good place to track these referrals. This practice also provides learners with a broader view of their plans and the supports they need in order to help them to reach their goals.
In CaMS, we also input our monthly Information and Referral statistics under two headings:
- Resource and Information for Information Sessions provided to various audiences
- Participation for referrals to other LBS programs or other services
1. Think of a past or present learner, or another person you know that faces challenges that could stop him or her from moving ahead. Which of the 15 supports mentioned might help this person address his/her challenges?
2. Look over the list of 15 supports again. Do you know where and how you would refer a client/learner to each of these supports? If you are unsure, do some research. Talk to others at your agency or in your community who are knowledgeable about community resources; check the Internet, newspaper or phone book, or use the 211 telephone helpline or 211Ontario.ca.
3. Take some time to review your agency’s client/learner needs determination process. Compare it to the steps listed under LBS Practitioner Responsibilities. (If your agency doesn’t yet have a formalized process, just use the list of Responsibilities.) Which step or steps in the process do you think might need to be strengthened? What could your agency do to strengthen this area?
4. How are you presently keeping track of your information and referrals? How do you ensure that they are recorded monthly in EOIS-CaMS?
5. How do you track referrals out to other programs and services?
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