Over 70 years ago, when the field of social work was at its beginnings, Mary Richmond (perhaps the founder of the common definition) spoke of being a "friendly neighbor" to the poor. As she spoke of "activities that affected the adjustment between an individual and the social environment", she was describing "Case Management".
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administartion) generally describes the concept as a "coordinated approach to the delivery of health, substance abuse, mental health, and social services, linking clients with appropriate services to address specific needs and achieve stated goals".
Case Management services are integrated into multiple fields and implemented through a variety of methods and agencies such as:
- Department of Children and Family Services,
- Criminal Justice System,
- Mental Health providers,
- Substance Abuse Treatment providers
- Health Care providers
- Special Needs based agencies
These agencies either provide case management services to their clients within their agencies or will outsource it to another provider. Given the wide span of needs a case management worker can address with a family, there has become a need to better define the levels within case management work.