This is the ninth in a series of stories about a day in the life of a Ranch Ehrlo employee.
Rachelle Lavoie-Stumpf has been at the Ranch for 22 years in a variety of roles.
She started as a casual employee, then moved to a position as an educational assistant but her goal was always to be a clinical caseworker (CC) at Ranch Ehrlo. She has been a caseworker for 13 years and is currently at Alex Guy House on the Buckland campus outside of Prince Albert where she is responsible for the therapy needs of the youth.
Working alongside the program staff in the home is critical for caseworkers. When Rachelle arrives in the morning, she meets with the program manager to discuss any updates and makes a plan going forward, which may involve speaking with a youth, staff training, discussing ongoing communication, or celebrating positive occurrences.
Once she has finished making notes regarding discussion topics with individual youth, she works on reports and casework, answers emails, plans conferences, plans youth visits, or works on any required communication with outside agencies.
She has once-per-week one-on-one counselling sessions with each youth in the house as well as regular group therapy sessions. She always leaves room in her schedule for youth to drop in and chat as needed. She enjoys building relationships with the youth by visiting them when they get home from school, playing games with them, and discussing their days.
“Being a CC is definitely not boring. It keeps me on my toes with the ability to have the clinical oversight. My role is not just counselling - I get to see the treatment plan all the way through, which is very rewarding,” she said.
“I think I’m lucky that my role allows me to give the youth my undivided attention, and it’s nice for them to have those needs met,” she said.
She said it’s beneficial for the youth to have her available in the home every day. She has access to their day-to-day lives which allows her to work with them consistently with an understanding of what’s actually going on for them.
“Sometimes if something happens then I’m able to work with them in the moment. That helps to build our relationships and trust which also gives me starting points for their casework,” she said.
She said that one of the most exciting things a staff can witness is to watch a child grow and develop.
“I have built many rewarding and lasting relationships as a result of working at the Ranch with both staff and youth. I love it when former youth keep in touch and update me on their lives. They’ll call and discuss new jobs, show me their children or new homes, and share other milestones - it’s wonderful,” she said.