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Chapter Six: Structuring the Internal Agency Eco System

As we saw in the last Chapter, The primary function of the internal agency eco system is to produce interventions that achieve outcomes for agency clients. We also saw how to develop a working model for the delivery of those interventions. By implementing the working model the agency pursues its primary function. For the present purpose, let’s use a fictional, working model for providing interventions for clients. The actual working model we develop with our knowledge pool is likely much more complex, but here we keep it simple for the sake of clarity.

Let’s call our fictional agency Social Services, Inc. We refer to it as SSI. The core function of SSI is to provide an intervention array for its clients, with the primary outcome being clients cope better with the issues and difficulties included in SSI’s intervention focus. SSI’s potential clients are school-age children who reside within the county where SSI’s office is located and whose behavior and adjustment are seen either by parents or school officials as seriously problematic. The intervention array includes assessment, family counseling, and case management. The expected outcome of intervention is clients being seen by parents and school officials as behaving appropriately and adjusting adequately.

As the above paragraph explains, SSI provides three interventions in its intervention array – assessment, family counseling, and case management. Collectively, these interventions are the Service Function. The service function is the core function of the internal eco system. As Figure 5 illustrates, the internal eco system can be represented as a circle, with the Service Function at its center. All other functions are around the circle, with the Service Function in the center. Each of the other functions supports and sustains the Service Function. The Service Function is primary and all other functions are secondary to it. They are successful only to the extent the Service Function succeeds. As we focus below on the representative secondary functions – “A” … “F” – on the circle around the Service Function as seen in Figure 5, the relationships are easier to understand.

The three dots on the internal circle in Figure 5 represent the services (the intervention array) provided through the service function: assessment, family counseling, and case management. Let me note in passing the service function may itself change as a result of changes in the specific intervention array. The specific services SSI provides may change from time to time due to changes in internal or external resources, priorities, focus, or other planned or unplanned factors. Nonetheless, the services function remains the core function within the internal eco system as Figure 5 Illustrates.

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