The human service field has many different moving parts. Along with heavy caseloads, there is a substantial amount of paperwork that must be completed to provide services. Before a client can begin to get services, an intake evaluation must be completed. The intake evaluation is the initial meeting between the client and human service worker. This process is meant to gather information to address the immediate needs of the client and to facilitate services. It is important that all pertinent information is included in this evaluation. A client’s basic information is documented by using their previous issues experienced by the client, age, date of birth, family background, religion, and strengths and weaknesses to name but a few (Summers, 2012). It is also important to note who referred the client, what the underlying problem is, as well as a history of previous evaluations, services, and treatment.
There should be no blank spaces on the intake evaluation and very rarely should there be an N/A (non-applicable). Some forms are more in-depth than others and include family history and allow for an evaluation of the client’s strengths and weaknesses. All information included in the intake evaluation is confidential to ensure the client’s privacy. Some intake evaluations are conducted over the phone while others are completed face to face. With the consent of the client, information gathered during the intake evaluation should be shared with other providers so services can be coordinated. Human service workers charged with the intake process should be skilled interviewers. The client will be more forthcoming and share more pertinent information if they are comfortable and at ease.
It is important for the interviewer to be non-judgmental and to ask open-ended questions so they can elicit more information. The intake evaluation provides a foundation for services and supports for the client. So the more in-depth the evaluation, the closer the human service worker will be at successfully providing help. The information provided must be truthful and as detailed as possible. The intake evaluation should not be rushed. The human service worker should take the time necessary to extract detailed information that can help the client in the future. The intake evaluation process may be one of the most important steps in the helping field. This evaluation is the beginning of the process for someone to ask for help. The client may not know how to get help, but with the intake evaluation, the human service worker is better equipped to point them in the right direction.
Summers. N. (2012). Fundamentals of case management practice: Skills for the human services (4th ed.). Belmont. CA: Brooks/Cole. Cengage Learning