Advocacy for Equity: Getting Access to Services Upon Return

In a society fueled by division, Case Managers exemplify the power of unity and equity. Collaboration is fundamental to case managers’ empowering their clients to achieve the best possible outcome. They devise a plan together with their client to support their best interest and wishes. Case managers recognize offering support demands personalized strategies and solutions. While each client’s needs may differ, they are all cared for with equal respect and consideration.  Delivering equal access to resources in every case is essential for empowering clients. In order to achieve equity, case managers are knowledgeable about what services their clients have access to and their ability to advocate for themselves to obtain those services.  Case managers also engage with professionals to ensure that all concerned understand what is being sought and how to obtain these services. If advocacy is needed, case managers advocate for their clients to help them remove barriers to accessing needed services and promote further understanding between their clients and service providers. One good example of how case management exemplifies equity is best told through Austin Glover*.

Austin Glover is a 44-year-old U.S citizen and was incarcerated in a British psychiatric prison.  ISS was contacted to provide assistance in his return to a stable environment in the U.S. Glover’s doctors recommended he receive regular psychiatric attention and medication throughout his repatriation and reintegration. A Case Manager at ISS referred Glover’s case to Adult Protective Services to plan for Glover’s reintegration in the U.S and find a suitable arrangement for his residential and mental health needs. Finding suitable housing and care was not easy to do.  There was some resistance on behalf of the state to find and pay for these services. Despite the barriers to these resources, the case manager was persistent to ensure Glover received equitable treatment. 

The ISS-USA case manager not only explained how the program worked, but also advocated for Glover, who was unable to advocate for himself while still in the psychiatric prison in the UK.  There were other challenges that the case manager and partners at the port of entry needed to overcome, including coordinating travel with an escort and finding appropriate services that could be organized upon arrival, as Mr. Glover was arriving late in the evening. At one point, the state of final destination did not want to provide Mr. Glover services, stating that he would be better off relocating to another state.  ISS-USA case managers advocated for Glover to be given access to the same services as any person currently living in the state would be. In the end, through many conversations, advocacy, and overcoming barriers, the state was willing to develop a plan for Mr. Glover’s arrival and provide a psychiatric evaluation and temporary housing until a long term solution could be found.

While still in the U.K., Mr. Glover, after learning about what would take place during his return to the U.S., gave his consent for the repatriation process to proceed. Even with Glover’s mental health struggles, he was able to provide informed consent, which meant that he was now in charge of what happened to him. Upon arrival, Mr. Glover was given another chance to participate in reintegration services, and he again, provided consent.

After weeks of negotiations, advocacy, planning, and consent, Mr. Glover arrived to his state of final destination on February 20, 2020. Glover’s Case Manager met him at the airport, organized for a medical transportation service to help him from the airport to the prearranged residential facility. There, he received housing, a mental health evaluation and ongoing treatment, and case management services, which assisted him in applying for local and federal benefits.  ISS-USA case managers bring people together for a shared purpose of safe return and reintegration.  By working together with local providers in the state of destination as well as the foreign service and other state department partners facilitating the person’s return, case managers ensure equity in access to services for which the person is eligible to receive.

*names and places and all identifying details have been completely sanitized to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of the people served by ISS-USA and the people we work with