SSW311 - Service Coordination

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 11:54:46.947
Last review date 2018-07-20 11:54:58.803

Subject Title
Service Coordination

Subject Description

This course is designed to provide students with and introduction to both, traditional case management skills and empowerment-oriented service coordination skills. Both perspectives and skill types are utilized in the helping professions when performing case work services for clients/allies and communities.  Service Coordinators are often required to: 
a) identify client strengths and needs,
b) develop goals and a plan with the client,
c) identify available resources for which the client is eligible, 
d) link and coordinate services, 
e) monitor client progress, close or discharge files, and 
f) provide direct services to diverse populations in a variety of agency settings with limited resources. 
Both traditional ?case management? and empowerment ?service coordinator? models are developed and practiced.  Students will compare and contrast each approach over the course semester. Understanding what the roles and responsibilities of a case worker will be explored in a variety of organizational contexts. Skills such as; information gathering, strengths identification, the use of the industries? common tools of assessment and service requests, completing common forms, client-directed goal setting and planning from a holistic approach will be introduced. The use of empowerment-oriented ?inclusive? language will be developed while learning critical documentation skills from an anti-oppressive framework.
This course draws heavily from the skills and concepts learned in SSW101, 102, 147, 212, 206 and 312. It is assumed that students will recall these concepts and skills applying them regularly to this course. This course works more effectively with students who are currently in placements (357) but, students can draw from 247 placement experiences, if needed. Intake & Informed Consent [Engagement] (101 & 212) interviewing and recording skills along with the application of developing a [biography] or psychosocial assessment (312). Students will identify internal [personal] and external [structural] barriers confronting their clients while learning to develop a comprehensive client-directed service plan [service planning]. Students will develop their skills in making referrals [connecting to the community] & monitoring plans [linking & monitoring]. The final part of this course will allow students to learn methods of evaluating the progress of clients [evaluation], and the procedure for closing a case file or discharging a client [reflection] will be practiced. Students will always adhere to the legislation around keeping and protecting the confidentiality of files and client/ally information [PHIPA/FIPPA] (147).  
As this is often a stressful occupation with on-going funding constraints, frequent ethical dilemmas, multiple clients in distress facing insurmountable barriers, and mountains of paperwork, students will be provided with strategies for coping with the challenges service coordinators are faced with daily. Finally, students will learn a more inclusive, anti-oppressive language with which to work when documenting and communicating with clients, their families and other professionals. The theories behind this new empowerment approach will be discussed reviewed (102, 206)

Credit Status
One Credit

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Conduct an accurate assessment of client/ally needs and goals identifying strengths and barriers from an empowerment approach using evidence-based tools in the field and common forms. This will be practiced in class and online and will be evaluated in both the case file project and a series of quizzes
  2. Develop a client-directed service plan identifying client goals and prioritizing needs from a client-directed empowerment approach. This will be practiced in class or online and evaluated in the case file project.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of at least 3 contemporary theories in which case work operates under various organizational settings by applying them to the phases of service coordination [engagement>service planning>connecting to community>linking and monitoring>evaluation>reflection/closure] . This will be discussed in class and evaluated through the Case File Project and tests.
  4. Identify and contrast traditional approaches of Case Management with the contemporary approaches of Service Coordination currently used in the field in Canada. This will be discussed in class and evaluated through the Case File Project and tests.
  5. Demonstrate proficiency in professional documentation skills expected by the field with respect to recording, organizing, transferring, and storing client information in hard copy and digital settings which follow the privacy legislation of Ontario.  Students will Practice using empowering language and identifying oppressive language and processes that undermine the goals of the client.  This will be practiced in class and evaluated in tests and quizzes.
  6. Develop and maintain a professional case file in a variety of social service settings adhering to the current federal and provincial legislative expectations of the field.  This will be discussed in class and online and will be evaluated by the Case File Project and tests/quizzes.
  7. Identify appropriate services and resources (formal and informal supports) to meet a diverse set of clients’ needs through in class case studies and the student’s field practice settings.  This will be evaluated through the case file project.
  8. Identify the precursors and symptoms of stress and develop a variety of strategies to prevent and reduce the effects of stress e.g. case load issues, work-life imbalance, client-system confrontations, client confrontations, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and client-agency expectations. This will be discussed online and in class, skills will be practiced in class and online.  This will be evaluated through the group Stress Buster Presentations.
  9. Identify and resolve ethical dilemmas and challenges that face case workers in Service Coordination drawing on case problems, in-class discussions, field experiences and adhering to the current legislation and OCSWSSW Code of Ethics.  This will be discussed in class, case studies will be presented that students will have the opportunity to discuss. This will be evaluated through tests and quizzes.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

  1. Historical perspectives                  
  2. Introduction to case management           
  3. Models of case management                         
  4. Assessment phase                                         
  5. Stress management                                                                      
  6. Surviving as a case manager                       
  7. Service delivery planning                                      
  8. Case notes                                                     
  9. Building a case file                                       
  10. Ethical and legal issues                                 
  11. Service coordination                                     
  12. Working within the organizational context   

Mode of Instruction
Lectures, readings, small group discussion, role play, and assignments.

Prescribed Texts
Case Management from an Empowerment Perspective, 2nd edition, 2013.
Patricia Spindel, Spindel and Associate Inc. ISBN#0-980-924-812 (13 digit: 9780980924817)

Reference Material
1. OCSWSSW Code of Ethics
2. Canadian Case Managers Standards of Practice

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Term Work and Final Examination Requirements:

Students must attain a grade of at least 50% to pass the course.

If you are unable to complete the Final Exam/Assignment in this subject, you must provide documentation to support the absence to the instructor within one week.  If necessary, this information will be presented at the promotion meeting for consideration in determining and recommending the final grade.


All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final examination. Unless students have been granted an extension in advance, late assignments will be penalized accordingly. There is no provision for rewriting late assignments, regardless of the grade awarded.  Students must contact faculty in advance of due date to discuss extensions.

All assignments must be correctly documented using APA and follow the criteria established by the instructor, unless otherwise noted.

If an assignment is missed due to class absence, any official documentation that might be grounds for arranging a make-up opportunity must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class.  Make-up opportunities do not apply to all graded assignments.


Test and Exam dates have been pre-arranged and are non-negotiable.  If a test/exam is missed, the student must provide official documentation to support the reason for the absence within one week to the instructor.  Make-up tests or exams will be granted for extenuating circumstances only and at the discretion of the faculty.

For further information on evaluation and academic standing, please refer to the Seneca College Academic Policy

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:  

Assignment 10%
Group Assignment/Presentation 30%
Mid-Term Exam 25%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

Student Success:
Please come prepared to participate in class.  Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time and attend each and every class.  Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.


Approved by: Sandra Noble