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Bowery Resident Committee, Inc.: Continuing Day Treatment, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Currently I am in my second year internship at The Bowery Resident Committee (BRC), Incorporated.  BRC is a human services organization serving downtown Manhattan since 1971. My employment with this organization has been for the past six years. BRC presented the opportunity to complete my social work internship at the Continuing Day Treatment (CDT) Program. At CDT we assist clients who are seriously and persistently mentally ill by offering the opportunity to learn methods to maintain sobriety and other problems associated with mental health. The CDT also provides a safe haven for them to go every weekday and most evenings. Here at BRC the clients gain insight into their own mental illness problems by participating in skills development activities, treatment planning, socialization skills, symptom management and learn the skills necessary to develop social support networks.

Mission Statement

The Bowery Resident Committee, Incorporated is an integrated network that services the community and extends social support and cultural opportunities to residents within the five boroughs. At BRC/CDT, we are an agency that provides services to people of diversity, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds residing within the neighborhood and the agency. We bring together a range of programs that combine educational, social services, arts, and recreation which nourishes the total person, strengthens families and builds inclusive communities.

History, Environment and Staff

The history, environment and setting of the BRC programs are interesting and diverse. In 1971, The BRC was founded by down-and-out lodgers of the Bowery’s infamous ‘flophouses.’ The lodgers sought to overcome alcoholism and drug addiction in order to improve their living conditions and find a higher quality of life. BRC is a leading non-profit organization serving a population of 6,000 homeless and at risk men and women in New York on an annual basis. The organization addresses the needs of people with limited resources. This population includes individuals on parole, mandated probation, and homeless, chemically dependent and psychiatrically disabled individuals. The population also includes elderly individuals and people who are HIV/AIDS positive.

BRC provides a variety of services including housing, meals, detoxification, mental health and addiction services along with health care and vocational rehabilitation. Additionally there is help provided for AIDS awareness, community education and advocacy. The services provided by BRC enables the clients to participate and function successfully in the community and in society; improving quality of life. BRC and the staff realize the potential in each individual it serves and works to provide every opportunity available. BRC is notable for the friendly and structured environment consisting of ten front line staff including a vocational counselor, medical and psychiatric personnel, social workers and mental health clinicians.

Bowery Resident Committee Profile

The BRC agency is a large and complex heterogeneous agency decided to functioning and operating financially sound, outcome oriented programs. In FY08 the total revenues increased from $2,177,000 to $35,859,000; reflecting an expansion to help more people in need of these types of services. The BRC has a seven year history of operating in surplus; up to $489,000. After calculations for depreciation, capital grants, and the disposal of certain fixed assets, the net assets declined by $311,000 to a total of $3,726,000. For the past two years the organization has been in balance. The BRC employees over 500 employees with 400 volunteers working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; tirelessly never giving up.

The BRC operates 24 programs within the five boroughs in different areas and provides services to include a Chemical Dependency Crisis Center and Medical Respite Program. There is an Outpatient Treatment Program and a Blended Case Management Service. The BRC provides a Drop-In Center and Safe Haven. Jail and Prison Discharge Planning Program with transitional and permanent housing service are available. The BRC also has a Homeless Outreach program with employment services. For the elderly they provide a Senior Center.

Philosophy

One of the philosophies of BRC is to meet the client at the place they are in their lives.

“We who have come from hell seek to deliver ourselves from a life of misery and contempt, into an existence of happiness within ourselves and others. To know that, within us, we who once understand no salvation have come to know the ways of the self-fulfilled. A goal in which we much accept ourselves for what we are, leaving room for change towards what we shall be. Goals, in which we shall receive responsibility, endure pain, overcome obstacles, achieve self-respect, appreciate love, face reality and denounce all evil. To accomplish this task of becoming men and women, we search the help of our brothers and sisters through the unity of a family. A family set in aiding one another. For together we stand strong and divided we stand alone.”

Program Overview

CDT is an outpatient program for the mentally ill and chemically addicted (MICA) individuals over the age of 18. The services provided include individual and group counseling, relapse prevention, healthy lifestyles, gender specific groups, anger management, domestic violence, parole and probation programs, socialization and recreational activities. The CDT also offers early recovery groups and educational services teaching basic education and high school competency course for VESID and GED courses.

The overall treatment process of BRC begins with the clients completing various treatment goals and objectives. The majority of clients begin to address similar treatment plans and goals. These include maintaining substance abstinence, psychiatric stabilization, housing needs, education, and job placement and re-entering society. Each goal takes approximately one year or longer to accomplish; if the client is learning how to maintain a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. Staff will begin the process of transitioning the clients into other CDT programs or social clubs upon discharge services planning.

Client Struggles

The client population at BRC is a diverse community consisting of people from various social class, cultures, race, age, religion preference, gender and sexual orientation problems. This diversity tends to bring several dynamics into the forefront; especially when this varied group is expected to acclimate to the program protocol. All clients are expected to learn and adhere to all of the rules and regulations, policies, and procedures of the program. This can be problematic as most clients are entering the program with a host of substance abuse problems and a multicultural understanding. Zastrow (2005) states “Multicultural group work involves strategies that cultivate understanding and appreciation of diversity in such areas as culture, ethnicity, race, gender, class, region and sexual orientation (p. 298).

The objective is for them to obtain a better understanding of the impact of culture, race, and gender in social change. Another aim of the program is assist in helping the clients to think critically and creatively in organizing for social change, and to communicate effectively when advocating for social change. The clients enter with many struggles and the program is also to assist in teaching them to work collaboratively, embrace diversity, and to value fairness and equity. The BRC advocates the clients to imagine new possibilities and to accomplish positive change in the workplace and in the community.

Client’s not only struggle with aspects surrounding their diversity but also with a lack of consequential thinking, impulse control, goal setting relapse, prevention skills and anger management. Identifying the client’s struggles is helpful in addressing their expression of feelings which result in behavior acting out or the use of drugs and alcohol to repress feelings and emotions. Jacobs in Group Counseling (2009) describes Yalom’s Curative Factors as a therapeutic theory used in group therapy to address: (1) instillation of  hope, (2) universality, (3) imparting of information, (4) altruism, (5) corrective recapitulation of the primary family group, (6) development of socialization techniques, (7) imitative behavior, (8) interpersonal learning, (9) group cohesiveness, (10) catharsis, and (11) existential factors (p. 40).

Stakeholders

The New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) presented to CDT a grant to upgrade the facilities at the new location at West 25th Street. The new facility is currently under construction. The official opening date is anticipated to occur in June 2010.

BRC/CDT has demonstrated a good record in acquiring public funds for various projects. Of 45 proposals submitted to the Federal State and City governments in 2006, 30 were granted; a ratio of two out of three.  JP Morgan Chase foundation continues to be a major stakeholder in the program; donating funds over $1,600,000 in 2007-08. The board members of JP Morgan are major stakeholders contributing close to $420,000 in 2007-08; the minimum gift per board member is approximately $20,000. Fundraising from organizations and private individuals account for about $155,000 of the total agency revenue. The JP Morgan donors are comprised of regular individuals, professionally staffed foundations, and government agencies. The legal system of parole and probation along with the families and communities are also stakeholders in the program.

Stakeholders Agenda

The mission of the OASAS is to improve the lives of New Yorkers through a premier system of addition services geared at prevention, treatment and recovery. This organization plans, develops and regulates the state’s system of chemical dependence and gambling treatment agencies. The alliance board members work to fund and help govern the various programs for success.

The New York State Parole promotes public safety by preparing inmates for release and supervising parolees through the completion of their sentences. Parole mandates that parolee’s attended a program and receive treatment and education for the diagnosis of substance abuse. Rehabilitating the client is done in an effort to get the client clean and sober for returning to society as productive citizens.

The New York Department of Probation (NYDP) states a mission statement as “The business of the NYDP is protecting the community by intervening in the lives of offenders, holding them accountable and serving as a catalyst for positive change. We act in collaboration with the community and other justice partners.”  The NYDP also provides information and services to the court system by giving victims a voice in the justice system and help to strengthen families. A small percentage of the clients are required to attend the program by the Office of Probation. Probation allows the client to avoid going to jail by requiring them to do works for the community instead of going to prison.

The Families and Communities agency provides support to the family unit. Clients with family support do better in recovery. The involvement of the family is beneficial when addressing the healing process from both perspectives. The communities housing the program use the program as a resource for people in the community who suffer a substance abuse problem. They provide support to both the family and the community in order to help clients work through the recovery approach; strengthening diverse families and communities.

Organizational Efficiency

The BRC is able to effectively satisfy the stakeholders while delivering quality and productive services. The organization promotes recovery programs following the therapeutic community model geared for the treatment of addiction. “A therapeutic community is a drug-free environment in which people with addictions and other problems live together in an organized and structural way in order to promote change and make possible a drug free life in the outside world. The therapeutic community forms a miniature society in which residents and staff in the role of facilitators fulfill distinctive roles and adhere to clean rules, all designed to promote the transitional process of the residents” (Ottenberg, 1993 in Broekaert, 2009:29).

Residents remain in the program from three to 24 months. By complying with house rules and program requirements they can gradually earn privileges such as weekend passes and family visits. They are also offered vocational and educational opportunities. A professional staff of case works and counselors are on duty 24 hours a day. These individuals are trained to facilitate the groups and provide individual counseling sessions along with crisis intervention.

The program uses peer community to facilitate psychological and social changes in the individuals. Individuals are held accountable for themselves as well as the entire group. They undergo training programs and group related activities to foster the change out of the cycle of addition, incarceration, poverty and homelessness. Twelve step recovery groups are offered as well as vocational training such as carpentry, computer skills, general maintenance and clerical skills. The individuals can attend college courses or work towards a GED for those without a high school degree. Empowering the client through these programs is important in breaking the cycle of dependency as it relates to substance abuse problems.

Clients are assigned various job functions within the program. All individuals must attend community meetings every Friday. This setting is developed for the clients and staff members to come together and resolve any issues and to structure routines that are an integral part of the client’s daily routine. This practice is to incorporate a philosophy of discipline, independent/community accountability and develop coping skills and provide support.

Conclusion

The BRC/CDT operates in twenty-five programs catering to an array of treatment services to all clientele. I was fortunate to intern at the CDT.  This program has a positive fiscal and human services impact on the program. Substance abuse services provide a significant source of financial support and community commitment to the agency. The BRC/CDT is an outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment model that has provided a high-quality service to the community, funding services, legal system and agency as a whole. Organizational effectiveness is based program functionality and stakeholder satisfaction. As a social worker intern it has been a good experience to have worked in the field of substance abuse. I have had the opportunity to be a part of a staff which facilitates to the needs of a diverse population. I am truly grateful for this experience and to help the needs of this population and stakeholders served through the individual agendas.

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