Every person from time to time needs a little bit of extra assistance. While money alone is helpful to some, genuine care and intentional contributions to their well-being have the same or better results. You might be a care provider, counselor or local official. Whatever your title, you made it your job to care for people in need.
You may be with someone’s uncle a couple of years past 60 who needs a pair of eyes watching him just to make sure he’s okay. Maybe part of your job is helping with food and rent for a young person who’s only just making ends meet. Or maybe you’re offering a positive home to a child in need.
These situations are normal, but it’s your actions that make the days a little brighter for your local community. Sometimes the assistance we need can’t be provided by friends and family. In this case, we must seek out external help. Thankfully, county assistance agencies like yours ensure the people in our community are safe and sound. That said, it’s just as important that people working within your agency prioritize their safety.
What Do County Assistance Agencies Do?
County assistance agencies hold themselves responsible for getting the necessary resources to those who require it. Through the funding of grants, taxes, donations and through the individuals employed in actionable, empathetic work, these assistance programs supply a variety of support systems that focus on the overall well-being of children and families.
The specific programs county assistance agencies facilitate are dependent on the location in question, but they generally include the following categories:
Children and Youth
Children benefit from consistent care and supportive role models. In the event that parents or guardians cannot provide this for children in their own homes, county assistance agencies protect the welfare of the children by offering alternative options. A county assistance agency’s first goal is to reinforce the family structure as is. Whenever possible, assistance programs seek to keep children with their own families.
Having a system to take care of children who are unable to live in their own homes is important to county assistance agencies, as well. If neglect and abuse in the home are confirmed, the agency will focus on finding a permanent home for the child or providing temporary foster care. Keeping children safe is always a priority.
Elderly and Aging
The family of older relatives — those typically aged 60 and over — frequently enlist the help of a professional caregiver to run errands and give a helping hand around the elderly’s homes. County assistance agencies can coordinate the details of a new caregiver. Families can opt for senior centers, too.
Certain services are also provided for the elderly, such as discounted prescription programs, employment opportunities, meal service, healthcare at a reduced cost and more. The elderly are more likely to be left vulnerable and home alone. Assistance agencies work to keep the elderly living happy, productive lives.
Financial assistance is one of the more pervasive needs of all people. At some point, we’ve all faced financial struggles — and that’s okay. Specialized programs account for food, but rent, utilities, gas and holiday budgets are only a few of the exorbitant comforts that would cause a wallet to diminish.
Programs akin to this exist in place of or combined with financial assistance. County assistance agencies hone in on specific domestic issues, like rent increases or foreclosure. Other agencies have financial counselors and accountants that volunteer their professional knowledge during tax time or any high stakes financial crises.
Concentrated programs help to finance or make suggestions for undesirable housing outcomes. In addition to these services, county assistance agencies manage housing that is reserved for low-income families. For example, an apartment complex can put aside units for those within a particular set of income ranges. A single person with a small income could qualify. Yet a two-person family likely brings in more net income.
Fortunately, housing managers understand that providing for two people can make expenses similarly difficult in spite of having a larger income than the one individual. Thus, depending on their combined household income, they could qualify for a spot. Families with children have a good chance of securing a spot in a low-income unit. Housing aid almost always is defined by a diverse state of affairs that is open to adjustments.
Health and Medical
Being in good health is vital to leading a content life. Health is defined as many things and is subjective to the individual. Eating nutritious foods is a piece of the puzzle. Staying active is a well-researched method to increase life longevity. Emotional well-being, though often dismissed, is essential to being a complete and fulfilled person. Assistance agencies endeavor to reinforce the importance of healthy living with nutritional programs, fitness centers, and mental health clinics.
Agencies also work on the underside of things in the case that someone’s health is deteriorating. Again, concentrated forms of financial assistance can supplement medical bills for expensive surgeries or testing.
Food Voucher Programs
Shelter and food come at the top of the list of basic commodities needed to survive. Even with a home, proper nourishment is crucial to livelihood. But when money is tight, either because of a low-paying job or some other trouble that has appeared at the worst possible time, getting food on the table is nearly impossible. County assistance agencies extend food voucher programs which utilize stamps or electronic benefits representative of money, but specially allocated for food.
Alternatively, agencies can maintain a food bank. Food banks work like grocery stores, but you don’t have to pay for the items. They also pay special attention that the food they give out is nutritionally balanced. Farm-grown produce is routinely encouraged. Whichever way, county assistance agencies want to rest assured that the community is nurtured.
What Are Lone Workers?
Safety for government workers is paramount. In order to properly advocate for the community, county assistance agencies are inclined to employ people who face non-standard challenges in their average workday. Such challenges lead to unsafe situations. In particular, lone workers are left to confront either hazardous or precarious conditions during their daily routine.
By definition, lone workers are those who work alone with no close contact or supervision. This means that in the event of an emergency or the oncoming of sudden illness, it would be difficult for them to get help. Lone workers partake in various occupations. People who work in small premises where only one person is required per location are lone workers. Those who work outside of business hours like cleaners and security personnel can be characterized as lone workers.
Service workers like counselors, in-home nurses or public welfare workers, for example, could be described as lone workers. Within the context of county assistance agencies, a number of distinct positions fit the description of a lone worker as well.
Some common examples of lone workers include:
As part of their job, social workers travel home to home to evaluate community locals. This can be useful to investigate a child in an abused home or check on someone who needs to get back on their feet. The level of safety that a pedestrian feels throughout the day differs drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood. At night, fears are heightened.
Some neighborhoods don’t meet their reputations, but others surely do. Even on the road, over 37, 000 people die annually from road accidents. Social workers must keep doing their work, despite the threat to their own safety.
Direct Support Professionals
Direct support professionals work with people with physical or intellectual disabilities. Their primary goal is to enable their patients to be well-adjusted. Well-adjusted in this scenario means to be relatively independent and to assimilate with the community. Some direct support professionals work through a rehabilitation center, while others assist in most or all activities of their patients’ daily lives.
Needs might be communicated at work, home, school or during some other standardized procedure for the patient. Being alone with a patient, while necessary, is risky for direct support professionals who could find themselves in an emergency. Neither the direct support professional nor the patient may be capable of communicating urgent needs effectively.
Home Health Aides or Nurses
Home health aides and nurses are similar to direct support professionals, but their duties are more medical and domestic in nature, rather than advisory. Home health aides and registered nurses can be live-in or come in for an extended block of the day. They are usually hired to assist with somebody who is suffering from a medical ailment, either temporary or chronic. These attendants generally are responsible for maintaining the household.
Shopping, making meals, running errands, and bathing and dressing the patient are some of the functions of home care workers. Care providers have one of the highest rates of work-related injuries and illness than in any other industry, with over half a million cases in 2017. Anything from an accidental fall to a stray needle can pose as a vulnerability.
Parks and Recreation Workers
Those who work with parks and recreation protect and care for the local environment. They impose regulations to sustain community parks and endorse a family-friendly climate. For recreational purposes, these officers may organize and manage events in and around the park, welcoming visitors to experience the many benefits and uses of the nature around them.
Park rangers also educate patrons on conservatory measures for the parks’ prosperity. Roaming in wooded areas subjects parks and recreation officers to a particular set of risks. Deep water, rough foliage, sharp branches or insect bites, among other things, put those working outside at an additional disadvantage than other types of lone workers.
Community Outreach Organizers
Like social workers, community outreach organizers go from door to door, but for different reasons. Community organizers have countless roles, but their main objective is to better the community. The roles that bear that weight can range from engaging with local policy to offering free career help to running volunteer services.
To better the community, organizers must know and empathize with the members that belong to the community. In other words, community outreach organizers literally must reach out to the community. Doing this, unfortunately, involves the same risks that social workers meet. What’s more, unlike with social workers, there are no limitations on the people community organizers come across. Everybody has the same access to an organizer.
How Can You Help?
In 1970, the United States government established a set of standards for the workplace, known as the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The Congress, along with President Nixon, realized that employers had an opportunity to look after their employers. Legal reasons aside, county assistance agencies strive to help people every day. Your participation in a system that optimizes care is enough reason to conceive that you care for others working in the same system.
Therefore, keeping them safe is a matter of significance. Here are some tips that’ll uphold your efforts:
- Training requirements: Instill training, so workers know the proper procedure that takes place when emergencies happen or to prevent an emergency in the first place. Code words for violent engagements or first-aide kit exercises could be part of this training.
- Assess risk: Do risk assessments before entering any situation that can be potentially unsafe. This will better prepare lone workers for any negative conditions that could arise unexpectedly.
- Communication device: Have a means of communication for lone workers at all times. Make sure there is a functional method of contacting support in case of an emergency.
- Check-ins: Using the communication device the worker has handy, ask the worker to check-in at certain intervals negotiated beforehand. If a lone worker doesn’t check-in at the appropriate time, then something has likely gone wrong.
- Monitor location: Implement a device that can track the location of a lone worker. Lone workers may be able to check-in, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe. Lone workers who aren’t able to check-in should be sought out.
- Warning device: If possible, utilize a gadget that can give automatic warnings when danger is near. To illustrate, the warning could be for a storm in the area or an alert for lone workers who haven’t checked in for a long period of time.
- Accessible software: The software for any tracking tool needs to be easy to access. In the event of an injury or accident, it shouldn’t be difficult for the lone worker to navigate through the software and call for help.
- First-aid kit: Digital appliances aren’t always helpful or immediately available. Lone workers should have resources on hand to take care of themselves. Waiting for medical care could be dangerous, and knowing how to work with a first-aid kit should be part of training.
- Incident reports: When incidents do occur, taking an account of the events that transpired is strongly recommended. The report can be used to assess risk in the future and hinder further incidents of the same kind.
- Counseling: Suggest or provide counseling to lone workers who have been victimized in the past — this is critical to moving forward.
Want to Learn More?
County assistance agencies are held accountable both for the people within the communities they manage and for those who work within the agency itself. This authority comes with a sense of reliability and trustworthiness for those inside and outside local boundaries. Lone workers working for county assistance agencies rely on their employers to supply them with equipment that is just as dependable in times of adversity. Towne Tracking proposes a plethora of solutions for county lone worker safety issues.
The StaySafe application from Towne Tracking Service features timed sessions, audible alerts, multiple panic buttons for different scenarios, a false pin reactor and more. All these features are collected in a simple, easy-to-use smartphone app. Check out Towne Tracking now, and let your lone workers check-in.