Application: Formal and Informal Networks
Subject: General Questions    / College life
Question

Application: Formal and Informal Networks

Human services is about collaboration and cooperation. For human services to be successful, many different systems and agencies need to work together to ensure that clients’ needs are met. The working relationships that are formed as a result can be considered networks, and are classified as either formal or informal. On a formal level, administrators of a shelter may work hand-in-hand with a job placement center to help clients find employment. This formal network involves connections with government agencies, schools, businesses, and other human services agencies. An informal network, by contrast, is maintained not by official policy but by personal and preexisting relationships that professionals and agencies have built over time. For instance, a case manager may use his or her influence to help a client get an extra bus ticket to attend church on Wednesdays. By working together effectively, these formal and informal human services networks can form a cohesive unit that benefits both clients and human services professionals.

To prepare for this assignment:

Review Chapter 8 in your course text, An Introduction to Human Services, paying particular attention to the ways in which human services professionals work within formal and informal networks and how these networks work together within and among agencies.

Review the article, “Building a Coalition of Non-Profit Agencies to Collaborate with a County Health and Human Services Agency: The Napa County Behavioral Health Committee of the Napa Coalition of Non-Profits.” Think about the formal and informal networks the Napa County agencies are using collaboratively to provide comprehensive human services to county residents.

Read the case study of Helping Hands, provided in the Learning Resources for this week. Identify the formal and informal networks within this agency and among the other agencies and systems that CASA would work with. Also think about how these two types of networks would work together in the human services delivery system.

The assignment: (2–3 pages)

Based on the case study provided, briefly describe the formal and informal networks within the CASA agency and among other agencies and systems that CASA would engage with.

Then explain how these two types of networks, formal and informal, work together in human services delivery. Be specific and provide examples to illustrate.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course.

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