What resources and
opportunities do potential clients have for coping with the needs, problems,
and vulnerabilities in their lives?
There is auspices and authorization for the agency to help a
specific client group with the issues and difficulties identified in the
intervention focus. In order to determine the specific types of help the agency
should provide, understanding the strengths and limitations of the potential
clients is essential. What can they
handle on their own and with what do they need help?
The automatic response might be each person is an individual and
has his (or her) unique strengths and limitations, opportunities and deficits.
This is unarguably true. At the same time, people in a group or community have
many traits and characteristics, abilities and disabilities, resources and
deficits in common. The people in the client profiles developed above similarly
have shared issues and challenges, resources and opportunities. Among the
common elements in their situations and circumstances, many of them struggle
with the concerns and difficulties seen in the intervention focus.
Given this common experience for potential clients, we turn our
attention to their opportunities and limitations with respect to the
intervention focus. Most people neither need nor use human services agencies.
They use family, friend, neighbor, community, and other personal resources to
manage and cope with the needs, problems, and vulnerabilities in their lives.
It is important to emphasize they do not take care of themselves or go it
alone. They require help with their life difficulties. For them, though,
the supports and resources are there for them. These people are adequately supported. They may
experience the difficulties included in the intervention focus; but when they
do, the help they need is either already there for them or personally
accessible by them. They can and do get what they need.
Just as some people are adequately supported, others are inadequately supported. They require
help with their life difficulties; but unlike those who are adequately
supported, the supports and resources they need are not there for them. The
adequacy of supports available to people range from inadequate to adequate, as
illustrated in Figure 4.
There is an important, additional dimension as also illustrated in
Figure 4. Coping difficulties experienced by people range from more serious to
less serious. Seriousness is a
measure of how bad it would be if the need were not met, the problem not
resolved, the vulnerability not reduced. Peoples difficulties can be
understood as more serious with inadequate supports,
more serious with adequate supports, less serious with inadequate supports, and
less serious with adequate supports.
Figure 4 assists our understanding of the resources and
opportunities potential clients have to cope with the difficulties identified
in the intervention focus. First, human services agencies usually receive
authorization public or private – to help with more serious difficulties and
issues in peoples lives. Second, this authorization is typically limited to situations
where there are inadequate supports. If people can personally arrange for part
but not all of the resources they need, the authorization may only include
the portion of resources for which they cannot make adequate arrangements.
Whether the Authorization is full or proportional, people are experiencing
serious issues and are also experiencing significant difficulty coping with
Limiting our attention to the difficulties and issues in the
intervention focus, Figure 4 shows us some people have adequate supports for
coping with those serious issues and others do not. If we identify the
resources and opportunities those with adequate supports use to cope, we
understand what is missing for those who are not coping as successfully. An
inability to cope reflects a deficit and not some trait or characteristic of
the individual. The deficit is an absence or limited access to particular
resources or opportunities available to others. Developing a human services
agency is based on the premise making those resources and opportunities
available to potential clients leads to their coping more successfully.
Return focus to the client profiles developed earlier. The
potential clients represented in the profiles have limited access to needed
resources and opportunities to cope successfully with the issues and
difficulties in the intervention focus. We next determine what resources and
opportunities people have who successfully cope with those issues and
difficulties. The agency eco system makes those opportunities and resources
sufficiently available to and accessible by agency clients to enable them to
better cope with the issues and difficulties included in the intervention
focus. Those opportunities and resources are available to and accessible by
some people on a private, self-directed basis, but not to potential clients.
The human services agency simply equalizes availability and access for