My job is to be a part of the team with the court administration department within the Maricopa County Superior Court for juveniles . I have to act as a centralized point of communication between the mental health service delivery system and the courts. I work with judges, commissioners, public defenders, prosecutors, probation officers, and CPS workers on behalf of Magellan in cooperation with the assigned PNO in order to ensure continuity of care and timely service delivery for children as applicable to delinquency and dependency issues. Basically-Magellan is responsible for providing mental health services for the kids in Maricopa county and we contract out to 3 different networks who actually provide the counseling, case management, or other needed services to the kids. My job is to make sure that they are doing this-specifically for the kids who are involved with the court system because they are on probation, have broken the law, or about to break the law . For example, kids who runaway. I get notified by the judge, probation, and/or lawyers about a case where the kid is getting services from one of these providers but not getting what they need or they are not getting mental health services but need to. Therefore I step in to make sure that this happens and have to answer to the court about their services and the progress that is being made. Everyone (judges, lawyers, family, ) is usually wanting to place the child in a treatment facility but that is not appropriate at times. They have to get other services first before they can get that higher level of care. I also like to give the example of anyone of us needing an operation but just like with our insurance-we have to get a battery of tests done, see the doctors more than once before we go straight to having surgery to make sure we actually need it. The kids have to be on medicaid to get our services unless they want to pay out of pocket.
My daily activities are attending court hearings, staffings at different agencies, making tons of phone calls and emails to make sure things are getting done.
My challenges are getting everyone together, getting people to answer my calls, and making sure that they did what the court ask them to-basically gather information. I have to do all these before the next court hearing because although it is the provider that is giving them the services-the court looks at me for the answers. I have to make sure I have an answer before I get in that court room. It is difficult at times because as we all know not everyone does their job and if I have to I call their supervisors or the head of the networks. My position lets me do that and when I have to call the higher ups-things do get done so that is great. I let them know that I am on their side and I use “us” and not “you” when I work with each team because when I go to court the judge does not care if I tell them nothing is being done or if I blame anyone. I think that is why I get a great deal of cooperation from the different agencies because I do what they do too. For example, I attend staffings,but also I schedule them if I have to. I do not just ask them to do something and not do it myself. Another important aspect of my responsibility is that I stand up for the providers when we are getting verbally attacked by the lawyers, etc. The biggest challenge I faced in this job was that it was a new position. As a result, my bosses did not know what exactly I was going to be doing day to day. I was just put in an office in the court and that is all the direction they gave me. I had to find ways as to how I can be productive and useful to the court.
I have a master’s degree but you do not have to have a masters for this job because a bachelors in the field of mental health or social services will be fine. However you have to know how the system works, be able to remember little details so you can follow up with people in a timely manner, be on time, multitask, have good communication skills, and be able to motivate people to get things done. If I do not hear from someone within 24 hrs I will call the next person in charge and I have to do this because I am in a time crunch to report to the court. You cannot be the type of person who waits for someone else to do it because then you will not be good at your job. Anyhow-it will only take one time for you to get yelled at by a judge in front of everyone for you to do your job better. It has not happened to me but I have seen it happen to others. I take pride in my word and when I say I am going to do something I do it. Our word is the only thing we have and if you do not keep your word then no one will think you are competent. I am an extrovert and an introvert but I definitely have to use my people skills in this job just like most of the jobs. You also have to be a go getter and not someone who needs a supervisor to hold their hand every step of the way. You have to be able to work independently.The bottom line as to why I am persistent and make sure things get done is because I believe that the kid and his/her family need the help and that is the reason I do it.