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September 2012 Observer

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Procedures For Local Chapters / Metropolises

Social Services

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RECOMMENDED POLICIES & PROCEDURES FOR METROPOLIS AND 
LOCAL PHILOPTOCHOS CHAPTERS WHEN ASSISTING INDIVIDUALS & FAMILIES
This document supplements “Social Services Administration” found in the 
2006 Guidelines of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc.


FRAMEWORK FOR ASSISTANCE – MISSION OF PHILOPTOCHOS
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc. founded in 1931, is the duly accredited women's philanthropic society of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Its mission is:

• To aid the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, the handicapped, the victims of disasters, to undertake the burial of impoverished persons and to offer assistance to anyone who may need the help of the Church through fund raising efforts; 
• To promote the charitable, benevolent, and philanthropic purposes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, through instructional programs, presentations, lectures, seminars and other educational resources; 
• To preserve and perpetuate Orthodox Christian concepts and the Orthodox Christian Family, and through them, to promote the Greek Orthodox Faith and traditions, in accordance with its doctrines, canons, discipline, divine worship, usages and customs; 
• To promote participation in the activities of the Greek Orthodox community, with the cooperation of the Parish Priest and the Parish Council.

The charitable work of the Society is performed with discretion, courtesy and kindness.

••••


GOAL: CONSISTENT, COMPASSIONATE AND ACCOUNTABLE SERVICES 
So that social service efforts performed at all levels of the Society are consistent, compassionate, accountable and transparent, National Philoptochos encourages Metropolis and local Philoptochos Chapters to implement the policies and procedures outlined below. Please review and discuss this document with your boards. At any point in time, feel free to contact your Metropolis and/or National’s Department of Social Work for assistance or guidance. You can refer the person (client) seeking help to us to supplement what you can do, or you can ask us to interview him / her on your behalf. We will notify you of our findings and recommendations; however, if you do so, please first obtain the person’s permission prior to contacting us.

Please direct questions about or requests for clarification concerning this document to:

Paulette Geanacopoulos, LMSW
National Philoptochos Department of Social Work
126 East 37th Street
New York, NY 10016
Email: PauletteG@philoptochos.org
Telephone: 1.212.977.7782

STEP ONE: OUTREACH TO INFORM OTHERS OF YOUR HELP 
• Philoptochos has existed for nearly 85 years; nevertheless, many people – even those within our own community - are unfamiliar with the depth and breadth of our services. Consequently, it is important to inform people what Philoptochos does, and to notify those in need that you stand ready to assist them as they face their challenges. 
• We recommend that you create an outreach flyer 
           -to insert in your Church bulletin
           -to post in a prominent location in your Church
           -to distribute, periodically, to the various organizations in your parish. 
• Some people may hesitate asking for your help as they may not want their neighbors or friends to know their problems. Thus, please include information about how to get in touch with National’s Social Work Office, or your Metropolis Philoptochos’ Philanthropy Chair, along with the local contact information for your chapter.
Suggested wording for an outreach flyer:

______________________________________________________________________________

PHILOPTOCHOS: RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF THE
GREEK ORTHODOX COMMUNITY FOR OVER 80 YEARS!

• Has a loss of employment put you behind with your rent, mortgage or utility bills?
• Are you swamped by out-of-pocket medical costs? 
• Do you need help finding homecare for your mom? 
• Do you know someone who needs help, a friendly call or visit?

CONFIDENTIAL ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE!

Contact Philoptochos:
(Insert name of person and how to reach her (phone #; email address)
or 
Contact National Philoptochos at 1.212.977.7782 or by email at socialwork@philoptochos.org
(Or contact – insert name of Metropolis Philoptochos Philanthropy Chair – and her phone number/ email)

The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc. assists Greek Orthodox and Orthodox Christian individuals and families throughout the United States, as well as Greek and Cypriot nationals, regardless of their immigration status, 
who are in the U.S.A. We welcome new members and your ideas.

_______________________________________________________________________________            

STEP TWO: CONFIDENTIALITY
• Those who seek our help should have the expectation that their information will remain private. Since people in parishes tend to know one another, even minimal information may be enough to identify them, so please respect their privacy. 
• That being said, it ALSO is important that those seeking help understand that confidentiality is not absolute. 
          -Those seeking help should be told who will know their name and situation, such as your president and treasurer – those who sign financial assistance checks. 
          -Note: The recommended outreach flyer asks you to insert the name of a local contact. This can be your “point person” (see below) – who also will know who is seeking help, your chapter president, or, it can be your priest who would serve as the first line of contact when assistance is being sought.

STEP THREE: SELECT YOUR SOCIAL SERVICE “POINT PERSON”
• Select one or two trusted members of your Chapter or Metropolis to be your Social Services “point person”, designated to interview those seeking help. This person can be your president or other member/officer. She is not expected to be a social worker, but rather, a Philoptochos representative who will fulfill – with sensitivity - the mission of Philoptochos. 
        -Note: If the size of your chapter makes it difficult for you to designate your own social services person or to conduct your own interviews and evaluations, please ask your Metropolis Philoptochos and/or National’s Social Work Office to do so on your behalf.

SKILLS TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR SOCIAL SERVICES ‘POINT PERSON’ 
The Ability to:

1. Maintain confidentiality.
2. Listen to and respond directly to the stated concerns of those seeking help.
3. Deal with difficult people and difficult situations with kindness and patience.
4. Understand that the person is under stress and coping with a range of emotions related both to their situation and needing to reach out to you for help.
5. Understand that part of our role in Philoptochos is to provide spiritual support – so that we ensure that those facing difficulties and seeking our help do not think that God has abandoned them, nor that is He punishing them.
6. Offer timely, clear and consistent information about what you can and cannot do.
7. Empower the person; offer a sense of control by encouraging him/her to participate in decision-making. For example, “Since our resources are limited, which of these bills do you think are most important for us to pay?”
8. Keep your own values in check – it is not helpful (for example) to say to a victim of domestic violence, “I would have left by now. What’s the matter with you?” or “Why didn’t you realize (x) would happen?”
9. Lay your sympathy feelings aside. (Show compassion and empathy rather than pity).
10. Be sensitive to our community’s cultural characteristics including cultural strengths and barriers. 
11. Recognize if the cumulative effect of listening to people’s problems is negatively impacting your own psychological, physical or spiritual well-being. (Vicarious trauma)
12. Know when you are over your head and need to ask for help from others.


STEP FOUR: CASE-BY-CASE RECORD KEEPING: 
• How do you maintain ‘case’ records? Do you create a file folder for each and assign a number coordinated with the year the case first became known to you that can be used to identify the case to your board and or members? 
• How do you cross-reference cases that carry over to another year or another administration?
• How do you track return “askers” so that you have a complete picture of help you and others have provided? 
• Where do you keep these case records?
          -Is there a secure file cabinet, locked closet or office at your church where your records can be kept? While many chapters keep files in the home of the president or treasurer, it is not a good practice since confidentiality can be a problem. As important, files can be misplaced at home, thus making the transition from one administration to the next difficult if not incomplete.

STEP FIVE:   THE INTERVIEW

  • Because cases that come before National are nationwide, we frequently conduct telephone interviews; however, for local cases, we recommend conducting a face-to-face interview – much can be revealed by a person’s physical and emotional state, neatness, condition of clothing, body language, eye contact, etc. 

     LOCATION OF INTERVIEW:  If there is no private location in your church, consider a local coffee shop, restaurant, or in good weather, perhaps a park. 

        • Do not invite people you do not know into your home, and, do not go to someone’s home by yourself.  (Even if you know the person / family, it is helpful to have a ‘second’ person with you – one person can ask the questions, and the second one can take notes).      

      DIAL *67:  If you telephone people from your own phone – whether home or cell phone, first dial * 67 to block your phone number from their Caller I.D.  

  • APPLICATION FOR ASSISTANCE FOR CHAPTERS AND METROPOLISES.

We recommend use of the “intake” form (Recommended Application for Metropolis and Local Chapters).  It can be completed by the person seeking help or by the person conducting the interview. 

The recommended application asks the following:

      • Identifying information:  full name of person seeking help, address, date and place of birth. Note: The form asks for citizenship status – not because we are concerned about immigration issues, but because eligibility for some public benefits requires recipients to be citizens or permanent residents.
      • Identifying information about others in household – name, relationship, date of birth.
      • Housing information – rental, privately owned, a shelter, undomiciled, name of landlord or mortgage holder; monthly amount of rent/ mortgage.
      • Household income and household expenses including amounts and sources.  (In addition to employment income there is a section on public and other benefits). 
      • How they heard about your help – outreach flyer, priest, hospital social worker, etc. and that person’s contact information.
      • It asks the person to sign the form certifying that the information provided is accurate. 

Note:  Some chapters / Metropolises ask those seeking help to submit a recent photo. 

If you do not use this form as written, please use it as a guide to obtain pertinent information.  

  • FINDING OUT THE ISSUE(S) TO BE ADDRESSES
    • What is the client’s primary “ask”?  And are there any underlying reasons? 
      • The interview lets us know their “ask”, gives them the opportunity to describe why they believe they are in their current situation and how they think the problem can be resolved. It also will reveal whether they have been in this or a similar situation before.
      • Sometimes, the conversation brings out other issues – for example, a woman may ask for help to relocate to another residence, and in the course of your interview, you find out she is a victim of domestic violence and her reason for wanting to move is that she needs to relocate to a safe environment.  She may have been too embarrassed to have said this to you from the onset. 
  • Have they been helped previously by Philoptochos at any level (National / Metropolis / Other Philoptochos chapters)?
  • Have they been helped previously by public, nonprofit or other religious groups?
  • Is help pending from other resources?    
  • These questions give us a view to what may have caused the situation:
    • RECESSION:  Loss of employment, underemployment, etc.
    • DISASTER:  Natural disasters – earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
    • FAMILY SITUATION: Divorce, abandonment, domestic violence, ‘dead-beat’ parent, death
    • HEALTH / MEDICAL: Illness of client or other person in family, etc.
    • PATTERN / HABITUAL “ASKER”:   Person who does not or cannot change their behavior and thus continues to fall into same / similar situation.  
    • JUDGMENT:  Sometimes, the path to good judgment is paved by a series of poor ones, and the “penalty” for poor judgment should not have to be homelessness. So, try not to judge people unfairly, or based on your own frames of reference.    
    • ENTITLEMENT:  People who seem to have a “sense of entitlement” and who believe they have a “right” to financial help from Philoptochos.  
  • Sample open ended questions:
    • What has brought you to us today?
      • Please remember that for many members of our community, they never thought they would need to ask anyone for help, let alone us. 
    • How long have you faced this setback?
    • Have you faced this type of situation before?
    • How have you managed until now? 
    • Do you have family or friends who can help, or who have helped you in the past?
    • Have you been helped by Philoptochos before?
    • What other organizations have you reached out to either now or in the past? Do you plan to seek help from these or other sources?  What response(s) did you receive?
    • Since we cannot help you on an ongoing basis, what steps can you take to manage on your own after our assistance ends?
    • How can we best help you? 
  • DOCUMENTATION OF INCOME AND EXPENSES (see Step Six below)
    • Please review with the person seeking help the policies and procedures regarding awarding of Philoptochos financial assistance –they are listed on the Application:  requirement to submit  documentation - of household income and expenses; copies of recent bills; benefit award or denial letters; eviction /other court letter; shut-off notice; etc.  And, point out that we pay bills directly and do not give open ended funds to people.
  • REFERRALS TO OTHER COMMUNITY RESOURCES
    • Philoptochos is not and cannot be the answer to all problems faced by people. To help you help members of your community as fully as possible, we recommend that you learn the resources available in your own community /county.  If such a ‘directory’ of services is not already available through a local organization, we suggest that you develop a flyer that lists other places people can go to for help, e.g. United Way, other churches, social service agencies, etc. 
    • The flyer can be given to clients at the end of your interview, or placed in public places within your church.  People who may be embarrassed to seek your help directly may take one privately, and thus benefit from such an informational flyer.

STEP SIX:  AWARDING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:

  • NOTE:  NATIONAL DOES NOT RECOMMEND UNCONDITIONAL OR UNLIMITED ONGOING FINANCIAL HELP 
  • PLEASE REVIEW WITH YOUR CHAPTER THE SECTION OF THE PHILOPTOCHOS MISSION STATEMENT THAT OUTLINES THE PURPOSE OF OUR SERVICES:
    • “To aid the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, the handicapped, the victims of disasters, to undertake the burial of impoverished persons and to offer assistance to anyone who may need the help of the Church through fund raising efforts.” 
  • Philoptochos financial assistance is awarded to Orthodox Christian individuals and families regardless of their immigration status as long as the service is provided in the United States. 
    • In general – but please know that this list is neither complete nor fixed in stone - financial grants  
      • Contribute to uncovered medical expenses of those who are uninsured, or those who have coverage but need help paying deductibles, co-payments, premiums, homecare, etc.  
      • Help prevent evictions and utility shut-offs by contributing to arrears
      • Ensure (for example) that victims of domestic violence can relocate to a safe environment by contributing to rents and security deposits
      • Contribute to funeral arrangements and burials so that low-income / indigent members of our community will receive an Orthodox Christian burial and,
      • Assist with other issues, such as some transportation and equipment needs. 
    • Please do not turn down a request solely based on the fact that its purpose is not listed herein.  
  • Referrals to the Metropolis Philoptochos and National Philoptochos:

In compelling cases where the “ask” is greater than your chapter’s capabilities, refer the case to your Metropolis Philoptochos and then to National Philoptochos so that all levels of the Society can take a collective approach to responding to our community’s needs.  

  • ISSUES TO CONSIDER:
    • Does your chapter have a “cap” (maximum amount) that it can award for each financial grant that you may award per case?
      • What process did you use to set this amount?
      • Note: Some chapters / Metropolises cap their awards at $500 / $750 / $1,000 / other regardless of the type of request. National’s cap (increased in 2012) is $7,500 – an amount that can be exceeded, if warranted, with approval by the Finance Committee).
    • Have you discussed how you will exceed the amount of your chapter’s cap if the compelling nature of the case so warrants?
    • Have you discussed whether your financial help, per case, will be a one-time grant, or will you give repeated help? If the latter, under what circumstances?
    • In cases where regular financial assistance is required, it may serve the person better to help him/ her apply for public benefits or to refer them to a local agency that can help them with this process.  
      • If the person’s command of the English language is limited and to ensure they apply for and obtain the benefits to which they are entitled, offer to accompany the person to the public benefits office or other social service agency to help them navigate and negotiate the systems, and/or to translate.    
      • While waiting for government benefits to “kick in”, your chapter may decide to provide a specified number of monthly assistance grants (and amount).
        • If the person, regardless of reason, is not eligible for government benefits (e.g. not a citizen), your chapter may decide to provide help.
        • In those situations, National recommends time limiting help to three to six months, after which time you revisit the case and decide whether and to what extent to continue.
    • To whom the check will be issued.
      • Checks should be made payable directly to the vendor such as in the name of the landlord, mortgage holder, utility company, medical provider, funeral home, etc.
        • If the need is for items such as food, clothing, etc., consider a supermarket or department store gift card.
    • Direct Cash Assistance
      • There may be times when cash may be the best way to help. Be prepared for such situations by establishing the criteria in advance.
        • HOWEVER:  Please note that if the person is applying for public benefits, your direct cash assistance may disqualify them for benefits or may delay their ability to receive them, so keep this at a minimum by giving a gift card or paying a bill directly. 
    • Help negotiating a bill:
      • It is appropriate for a chapter to ask the client to seek a discount or reduction of the bill or to negotiate a payment plan.  Frequently, medical providers will reduce their bill for a low-income person without insurance or with limited insurance, and oftentimes, funeral homes will discount their services too. 
        • If the person is unable to do this directly, the chapter representative or the priest can offer to help negotiate or make those calls.   

STEP SEVEN:  VERIFYING INFORMATION PROVIDED

  • We cannot state too often or too strongly that financial details of those seeking our help must be kept confidential. That being said, how do you verify need?  It is recommended that you
    • Document income through pay stubs, tax return, public benefit award/denial letter, etc.
    • Document expenses through items such as a current lease or rent receipts, mortgage bill, utility bills; arrears notice, eviction and/or shut-off notices; court papers; bill from a funeral home, etc. 
      • Note: As noted earlier, National’s Social Work Office or your Metropolis Philanthropy Chair, at your request, can conduct this task on your behalf and make a recommendation to you about what can / should (or should not) be paid.  If you ask this of us, please first obtain the person’s permission to contact us. 

STEP EIGHT:  APPROVAL FROM YOUR BOARD / MEMBERSHIP:

  • Your social services point person or chapter president should present requests to your board, including:  
    • Enough information to ensure that your board / membership can make an informed decision.  HOWEVER, do not present any facts that could reveal the identity of the person.
      • Even if people know who the client is, DO NOT under any circumstance confirm this. Your response should always be that the identity of the recipient is confidential.   
    • Report if help has been given by or requested of other organizations.
    • If the request is for someone you have assisted before, provide an outline of previous help without revealing identifying information that would make it easy to recognize the recipient.  (e.g. uncovered medical bills were paid in 2012 directly to the hospital)
    • Have copies of documentation on hand in case specific questions are raised.  These are not to be shared – just used as a reference by the case presenter if a question arises about a specific bill, for example).
  • We recommend you put the question to a vote, including a motion that is seconded and then voted upon.

STEP NINE:  EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:

  • In emergency situations where you cannot wait for approval by the board or general membership, have you established agreed upon procedures to provide emergency assistance?  
    • This should include who can make such decisions (generally, the president and treasurer), and the maximum amount for such an emergency grant. Always inform your membership about emergency help that was provided.  

STEP TEN:  COLLABORATING WITH YOUR PRIEST:

  • Our priests are the Spiritual Advisors of our local Philoptochos Chapters.  While you neither need a priest’s approval to provide services or financial assistance, nor must you inform him of the details of every case, priests can be an excellent resource to help you identify persons-in-need in your community.
  • If the referral to was made by your priest, follow your procedures and conduct an evaluation of the merits of the case so that you can respond accordingly.
  • If your chapter agrees (by vote) to give a certain amount of discretionary monies or supermarket gift cards to your priest to enable him to help people directly, ask him to give you an accounting of how the monies were spent, i.e. “x” amount to a homeless man, “y” in supermarket gift cards to a family of four, etc. before you replenish the fund.   
  • As noted, you may wish to have your priest as the contact on your outreach flyer, and depending on the sensitivity of the case, there may be times it will be appropriate to ask your priest to interview someone, or confirm what is being reported to you.

••••

A BRIEF GUIDE TO REFERRING MEMBERS OF YOUR COMMUNITY

TO LOCAL RESOURCES, PROGRAMS & SERVICES

 

TO REFER SOMEONE TO GENERAL SERVICES: 

  • 311/ 611

Many states and jurisdictions have a specialized phone number, e.g. “311” or “611” etc. for people to call for referrals to a wide range of local services and services.  

    • If no such service is provided in your community, contact your local United Way, YM/YWCA, hospital social work department, or public school social worker for a list of local government and nonprofit agencies, homeless and domestic violence shelters, food pantries, senior citizen centers, children and family resources, etc. 
  • Local Social Services Information Person at Your Government Center

Many towns / counties have a Social Services Office or Person at Borough Hall or Town Hall who assist in referring people to local programs.  Some have printed Directories of Local Services specific to your area listing government and nonprofit services for residents of all ages e.g. homecare, transportation, food pantries, shelters, etc.  

    • Call or go to your local government center to ask if such a directory or resource manual exists and obtain copies – both for your own information and to give to persons seeking your help.   

•••• 

TO REFER SOMEONE TO ALCOHOL OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMS & SERVICES: 

      FINDING LOCAL SERVICES – ALL AGES:

  • SAMHSA LOCATOR: 
    • You can search the on-line national databank of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Services for private and public alcohol and drug abuse treatment facilities that are licensed, certified, or otherwise approved for inclusion by their State substance abuse agency. 
    • THE SAMHSA LOCATOR CAN BE ACCESSED AT:     http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/quickSearch.jspx 
  • ADOLESCENTS:
    • For current information about adolescent alcohol and substance abuse go to the website NIDA FOR TEENS:  National Institute on Drug Abuse at http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts
      • Topics include Anabolic Steroids, Bath Salts, Brain and Addiction, Cocaine, Heroin, HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse, Inhalants, Marijuana, MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly), Methamphetamine (Meth), Prescription /Drugs, Salvia, Spice, Tobacco, Other drugs, and ‘Real questions from Teens’, 

12-STEP SUPPORT GROUPS:

  • ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (AA)

From its website:  Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. Following the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. 

  • AL-ANON / ALATEEN  
    • AL-ANON - From its website:  If you are troubled by someone’s drinking or if you grew up with a problem drinker, or if your life has been affected by someone else’s drinking, consider Al-Anon, a mutual support group of peers who share their experience in applying the Al-Anon principles to problems related to the effects of a problem drinker in their lives. It is not group therapy and is not led by a counselor or therapist.  This support network complements and supports professional treatment.  
    • Alateen is a peer support group for teens who are struggling with the effects of someone else’s problem drinking. Many Alateen groups meet at the same time and location as an Al-Anon group. Alateen meetings are open only to teenagers.   
    • To find out more about Al-Anon and Alateen and to locate nearby meetings go to  http://www.al-anon.org/ 
  • NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS (NA)  

     From its website: 

Narcotics Anonymous is a global, community-based organization with a multi-lingual and multicultural membership. NA was founded in 1953.  Today, NA members hold more than 58,000 meetings weekly in 131 countries. We offer recovery from the effects of addiction through working a twelve-step program, including regular attendance at group meetings. The group atmosphere provides help from peers and offers an ongoing support network for addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle. Our name, Narcotics Anonymous, is not meant to imply a focus on any particular drug; NA’s approach makes no distinction between drugs including alcohol. Membership is free, and we have no affiliation with any organizations outside of NA including governments, religions, law enforcement groups, or medical and psychiatric associations. Through all of our service efforts and our cooperation with others seeking to help addicts, we strive to reach a day when every addict in the world has an opportunity to experience our message of recovery in his or her own language and culture. 

 

  • FAMILIES ANONYMOUS is a 12 Step fellowship for the families and friends who have known a feeling of desperation concerning the destructive behavior of someone very near to them, whether caused by drugs, alcohol, or related behavioral problems. When you come into our rooms you are no longer alone, but among friends who have experienced similar problems.  Any concerned person is encouraged to attend our meetings, even if there is only a suspicion of a problem.

   

  • OTHER 12 STEP PEER SUPPORT GROUPS:  
    • There are 12 Step peer support groups that focus on a person’s specific drug of choice such as cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, smoking (nicotine), marijuana, prescription drugs, etc. 
    • There also are 12 Step peer support groups that address addiction issues of gambling, overeating, sex, co-dependence, online gaming & more 

••••

TO REFER TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES & PROGRAMS:

  • SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) also has created an on-line resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs.
    • THE LOCATOR lists public mental health facilities funded by a State mental health agency, another State agency or department; facilities administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs; private for-profit and non-profit mental health facilities licensed by the State or accredited by a national accreditation.

  • SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE1-800-273-talk (8255) 
    • Toll-free number available 24 hours / day /every day that will connect persons in crisis or in need of help to the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFLINE.  It is a service of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and is available to anyone. 
    • Calls to this hotline may be made by the person in crisis or by others concerned about a family member or friend.  All calls are confidential. 
    • The Suicide Prevention Lifeline also can be reached at the Lifeline’s website:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 

•••• 

TO FIND REFERRALS FOR OLDER ADULT SERVICES & PROGRAMS:

  • ELDERCARE LOCATOR:   

Local resources, programs and services for older people and their families can be found at the ”Eldercare Locator” a public service of the Administration on Aging, United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).  Information can be accessed by telephone at 1.800.677.1116 or online at: http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

Many adults over 55 need help paying for heating and energy costs, utilities and other basic needs. Although there are over 2,000 federal, state and private benefits programs available to help, many people don’t know these programs exist or how to apply. For persons over 55, there is an online screening tool available to help people identify these benefit programs – in the privacy of their own home, or with help from a trusted family member or friend.  It is called BenefitsCheckUp, a free service of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a nonprofit service and advocacy organization in Washington, DC.

        • BenefitsCheckUp asks a series of questions to help identify benefits that could save a person money and cover the costs of everyday expenses.  After answering the questions, the person will get a printout created just for him/her that describes the programs s/he may get help from. The person can apply for many of the programs online or s/he can print an application form and mail it to the appropriate agency. 

••••

 TO FIND REFERRALS FOR INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: 

If a situation is serious, threatening, or dangerous, call 911 or the local police for immediate help.

It is important to note that not just women are victims of domestic violence:  men are victims of intimate partner abuse as are partners in same-sex relationships. 

  • THE NATIONIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE (24 HOURS/ 7DAYS PER WEEK) 

1-800-799-SAFE (7223)            TTY:  1-800-787-3224          http://www.thehotline.org/ 

National Domestic Violence Hotline, PO Box 161810, Austin, Texas 78716, 1.512.453.8117 

    • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is staffed 24 hours / day, 7 days per week, by highly trained expert advocates who are available to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or who may be questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. 
    • Please post the hotline phone number in the women’s bathroom(s) of your church.
    • Please also post the contact information for your own State’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It can be found at The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website:  http://www.ncadv.org/resources/StateCoalitionList.php 

  • TEEN AND COLLEGE DATING VIOLENCE:
    • THE NATIONAL DATING ABUSE HELPLINE offers immediate and confidential support.  To contact the Helpline, call 1‑866‑331‑9474, text “loveis” to 22522, or visit www.LoveIsRespect.org. 
    • NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE - 1.800.656.HOPE 

Because many women do not realize they are victims of intimate partner abuse until they read about the behaviors exhibited, we ask that you post the flyer, “Does Your Partner . . .” (insert document link) in the women’s bathroom(s) of your church. 

The best way a non-mental health professional can help a victim of domestic violence is by helping her to ensure her own safety and that of her children.  Thus, we also ask you to post “Developing a Personalized Safety Plan” (insert document link) in the women’s bathroom(s) of your church.    

    • Periodically check the women’s rooms to see if these flyers are still there – hopefully, if they are missing, they were taken by a woman in need to follow-up on her own.  

••••

PROTECTIVE SERVICES (CHILDREN / ADULTS / OLDER ADULTS)

If the situation is serious, threatening, or dangerous, call 911 or the local police for immediate help. 

  • CHILDREN: 

FOR SUSPECTED ABUSE, NEGLECT, OR EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN

Each State has a system to receive and respond to reports of possible child abuse and neglect. Concerned citizens and professionals can call statewide hotlines, local child protective services, or law enforcement agencies to share their concerns. Reporting suspected or actual abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family—it may even save a child's life.  Certain professionals are mandated reporters:  school personnel, medical and mental health providers,

  • CHILDHELP NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) 

is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the United States, its territories, and Canada, the Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who, through interpreters, can provide assistance in 170 languages. The Hotline offers crisis intervention, information, literature, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.

  • PROTECTIVE SERVICES FOR ADULTS, PHYSICALLY &/or DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED INDIVIDUALS
    • There are Adult Protective Service (APS) agencies all over the nation, and more than likely there is one near your community. Issues, concerns or questions about someone you believe is being abused, neglected, financially exploited, or otherwise unsafe or poorly treated, can be referred to an APS office near you so that professionals can evaluate the situation.  Calls are always confidential. 
    • To locate the APS agency near you, go to the website of the National Adult Protective Services Association: http://www.napsa-now.org/get-help/help-in-your-area/
      • The APS map of the United States is designed to provide easy access to information on reporting suspected abuse nationwide. You will be asked to select the state for which you wish to obtain information.  You will be provided with contact information for both APS and long-term care ombudsman’s agencies in your area.  Many states also host 24-hour-a-day hotlines to accept reports of abuse or neglect. 

  • ELDER ABUSE:
    • THE NATIONAL CENTER ON ELDER ABUSE of the Administration on Aging (AoA), US Department of Health and Human Services has an online resource that provides state reporting numbers, government agencies, state laws, state-specific data and statistics, and other resources.  It can be accessed at:  http://ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx 

  • NURSING HOMES, BOARD & CARE HOMES AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES: 
    • LONG TERM CARE OMBUDSMEN PROGRAM

Administered by the Administration on Aging (AoA), long-term care ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. They are trained to resolve problems and can assist with complaints. However, unless you give the ombudsman permission to share your concerns, these matters are kept confidential. Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system.

      • For more information, go to the website of the National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center at:  http://www.ltcombudsman.org/about-ombudsmen
      • To find a local program, use the eldercare locator:  http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx 

••••

HOMELESSNESS / FOOD INSECURITY  

  • NATIONAL COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS 

http://nationalhomeless.org

From its website:  The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To prevent and end homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected.  

  • For more information about programs regarding homeless prevention and homeless services (individuals and families), food pantries, soup kitchens, drop-in centers, shower and clothing resources specific to your community, contact your local department of social services or if available, call 3-1-1 or 6-1-1. 

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We have tried to be as thorough and complete as possible in preparing this document, and hope the information is clear and helpful to you and your chapter.  If you have suggestions or ideas about how we can improve this document, or if you have updates or have found any errors in organizations’ contact information,

please contact Paulette Geanacopoulos at 212.977.7782 or by email at socialwork@philoptochos.org.

Thank you for all that you do! 

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