Meet Irene: Senior Care Coordinator Specialist
My name is Irene and I have been working at 211 LA County for 13 years. My current position is Sr. Care Coordinator Specialist. I have been fortunate enough to have worked in several different positions. I started as a Community Resource Advisor, and sequentially grew into positions with the PEDS Department and Care Coordination.
What’s the Job?
My day-to-day work varies as I provide support to multiple programs. The first program I work with is focused on early identification of developmental delays and connection to needed services such as Regional Centers, Mental Health, School District assessments, and Early Education Programs. Clients, families with children ages 0-5, are referred to this program from faith based organizations, Department of Children and Family Services, community clinics, and other partners. When a new client is referred to this program I conduct developmental screenings, using evidence based screening tools, over the phone. Once the screening has been conducted, I determine what referrals need to be made for this client, I do the Care Coordination needed in order for the client to be enrolled, or receive necessary assessments in order to obtain services.
I also work with a program called Parents as Partners. This program has been created in partnership with Harbor Regional Center. In this program, the focus is to work with families that already have children or adults with disabilities as clients of Harbor Regional Center. Yet they may not be utilizing the services that the Regional Center offers, or other generic services. My role in this program as a Care Coordinator is to conduct assessments, read IPP's, (Individual Program Plan), IEPs (Individual Education Plans), and to create a Family Mentoring Plan. The Family Mentoring Plan is a document that discusses what referrals are being made for the family as well as outlining what the goals are for this family. These plans are then agreed upon by the parent, Parent Peer Mentor, and the Service Coordinators at the Regional Center. Once everyone is on board, our Parent Peer Mentors ensure the parents get these services. A big difference in this program is that I also get to work with these families in person.
My favorite aspect of working here is the confirmation that families get these needed services that help them with their day-to-day. Especially because these services help them better understand their children's disabilities or areas where they as caregivers need help. Our approach in all the programs that we are currently working on is to focus not just on the client but on the families, because we know that if the parents are not doing well and they are feeling overwhelmed, then they might not be able to move forward or even know where to start to help their child with obtaining services.
I have always felt proud of working here at 211 LA, I actually prayed at the time to get a job where I can really help people and shortly after I was called in for an interview. But if I had to select a specific time I felt proud of my work here, I would say it was when I went to a church event at Faith and Hope Community Church, one of our partner agencies that have sent us many families to screen for developmental delays or disabilities. At this event, the Pastor asked his congregation to please stand if they have been helped by 211 Developmental Screening Program, and at least 9 different families stood up. These families have been assisted by our program with basic needs, housing, and of course developmental Screening. This was not rehearsed, families had not been coached. They were speaking up about individual times they had been helped. It was truly a heartfelt moment.