Legal and Ethical Implications of Case Management in Career Development

Case management, depicted by note-taking on laptop

The practice of case management is a professional and collaborative process that assesses, plans, implements, and evaluates services required to meet a client’s career development needs and goals.

As a career professional, you play an active role in meeting the diverse and complex needs of your clients. Whether you are a coach, consultant, counsellor, or educator, you likely manage a caseload of clients. As such, you have a legal and ethical duty of care for your clients. Part of this duty of care involves careful, thorough, and effective case management.

Legal Implications of Case Management

Your case notes are legal documents. The records provide accountability and protection for you, your employer, and funders of the services you provide. These notes may be needed by clients, auditors, judges, lawyers, service providers and more. For this reason, it is especially important for you to carefully document and report on the progress of your cases.

The government of Canada has instituted many protections and safeguards for our clients. You must be aware of these standards as they apply to the work we do. Adhere to all legislation and regulations applicable to the delivery of services. Avoid any conflicts of interest which might influence your objectivity, decisions, or behaviours.

Ethical Principles for Case Management

Case management is guided by six fundamental ethical principles:

  • Beneficence means doing good.
  • Fidelity means being dependable and loyal and maintaining integrity in your relationships.
  • Nonmaleficence means doing no harm.
  • Autonomy means allowing others to have independence and self-determination.
  • Justice means being impartial and fair.
  • Societal interest means acting in the best interests of society.

These six principles are built into our profession’s ethical decision-making model and are essential to ethical case management. CPC’s Code of Professional Conduct also serves as a guide for case management.

Career Professionals of Canada’s Case Management Process

Career Professionals of Canada’s Case Management Process starts with client intake and ends when we achieve closure. There are four key phases within this process that lead to successful case management:

  • Assessing (screening client, gathering data, identifying challenges, determining risk)
  • Planning (prioritizing challenges, identifying goals, selecting interventions, informing providers)
  • Implementing (assigning tasks, performing interventions, following up, reassessing plan)
  • Evaluating (transitioning client, receiving feedback, communicating outcomes, closing case)

Although the process is presented in phases, it can be non-linear based on relationships, needs, and interactions. Often phases and the steps within them happen at the same time. There may also be a need to circle back and revisit phases or steps in the process.

As a career professional, you need to know and understand how to manage your client cases from intake to completion. CPC’s Case Management for Career Professionals course is designed to provide you with the skills required to coordinate cases for a range of clients. You will expand your practical knowledge about client advocacy, confidentiality, and empowerment that you can use to facilitate positive outcomes. You’ll also learn to manage key competencies including report writing, client interviewing, service planning, and records management. If you would like to manage client cases more effectively, this case management course will enable you to take your services to the next level.

Sharon Graham is founder and executive director of Career Professionals of Canada. Committed to setting the standard for excellence in the career development profession, Sharon has authored top selling paperback publications and textbooks, and has established a range of certificationprofessional developmentcommunity developmentmentoring, and award programs. As executive director of CPC, she provides foresight and leadership within the sector and ensures that the mandate of this national organization is upheld with integrity.

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Sharon, thank you for this informative summary of case management duties and responsibilities. I love that you pointed out the non-linear process of case management. As our clients’ goals change depending on their challenges, so does our support process. I am thrilled for the participants taking CPC’s new course on case management – I know the course will fundamentally transform their approach to working with clients!