HOWTO: Answer the phone

created: 2017-10-17; modified: 2018-01-09; status: in process; tagged: orientation

The phone at Pear Blossom Place is the 24/7 coordinated entry hotline for Thurston county. Here’s advice for answering.

Determine who is calling.

Ask clarifying questions.

We want to make sure that we support the caller, understand their needs, and give meaningful and helpful referrals. (I have admittedly made useless referrals to Aberdeen—it’s a shelter for women and children, but I often forget and refer families with males.)

When we don’t have shelter space, be creative.

Refer to coordinated entry the following morning.

In Thurston County, the Family Support Center runs coordinated entry for families with children and expectant parents. We also work with a small group of single adults in special circumstances.

Three different agencies provide coordinated entry for singles, families, and youth:

Protect client confientiality.

Do not disclose if someone is (or is not) staying in shelter.

For example

Remind clients in shelter and folks calling in that our services are confidential.

Again, from Model Protocol on Confidentiality

Requests for information by any third party (e.g., [school administrators,] child protective services, prosecutors, mental health providers, friends or family), including the program participant’s attorney, will not be honored without express written permission (or verbal consent in person, depending) from the program participant, with the exception of mandatory reporting of child abuse/neglect or a “duty to warn” circumstance.

All communications are confidential, even when shared by the program participant in the presence of [staff] and any third parties who are working on behalf of the program participant.