"Do Dream!" Community Support Case Management System
Suseong District, Daegu Metropolitan City, Republic of Korea

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Although widely recognized as the latest great economic success story of Asia, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) suffers from growing pains as society rapidly adjusts from a communitarian (family and neighbors) approach to post-modern relations. Many of the challenges in Korean society derive from the shift from a communitarian/agrarian society with strong sense of familial obligation to a post-modern system with stronger individualistic tendencies. The traditional "safety net" has broken down. The chronic-poor, the elderly and infirm, and the suddenly-poor are no longer supported by the traditional care-giving networks of an agrarian society. In fact, today Korea has one of the world's worst income disparity problems amongst OECD member states. The "Asian Economic Crisis" of the late 1990s, an aging society and low birth rate, and climbing unemployment rates exacerbate the problems. Symptoms include skyrocketing scores on the worst of the globe's social indicators: alcohol consumption, divorce, teen suicide, and others. Suseong District, a local autonomous governmental area within Daegu Metropolitan City, is no exception to this problem. A significant number of residents of Suseong District, generally considered a "high income" municipality, suffer from poverty while surrounded by high-income neighbors. These poor, particularly families and the elderly, may go unnoticed as they attempt to hide their economic situation – a "blind spot" for traditional welfare services provision. Changes in income due to unemployment, departure of the wage-earner, sudden catastrophic expenses, etc., may result in severe sudden need. Older citizens may see their life's savings erode as lifespans are extended – modern Koreans have among the longest life-expectancies world-wide. Korea's economic safety net is not yet well developed, and for those public support mechanisms that may be available, too often the poor are unaware of their options, and perhaps ashamed to ask. It is a sudden and severe fall from working-class to poverty in 21st century South Korea. The traditional approach to government services has not been very effective. Service provision was not integrated, nor well-publicized, neither comprehensive nor sufficient. Furthermore, social stigma prevents many from inquiring about possible services. Financial support from government for the elderly is minimal (approximately US$200/month, less than one-third the poverty guidelines), and similarly inadequate for the poor. Health insurance is not all-inclusive, which may create huge debts for long-term illnesses such as cancer, while the unemployed or under-employed cannot afford health insurance. Youth may go to school hungry, or quit schooling due to costs for school uniforms, books, tuition, or the need to support the family. Cases of spousal and child abuse and neglect have increased due to a sense of hopelessness and despair. Minor health issues, such as dental fillings, have been ignored, later becoming significant (and expensive) health concerns.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
(1)Filling in the gaps of the social welfare system through establishment of a human welfare safety network which includes volunteers and community leaders to identify and resolve blind spots and bringing case management to the local community (sub-metropolitan) level. (2)Supplementation of limited public resources through cultivation and networking of broad community-based resources, including cash, goods, services, and volunteerism. (3)Training systems to enhance expertise and supervision (coordination) for case management of impoverished citizens.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
An initial case management services system integrating existing Suseong District facilities and staff, new case managers, and locally-developed non-governmental resources was first initiated in late 2010. This case management system was placed within the new "Hope Welfare Support Group" as human services were re-organized in 2012, with an aim to preemptively respond to the changing welfare environment, provide early detection of welfare blind spots, and offer tailor-made services to meet diverse and complex needs. Active participation of community leaders and knowledgeable others since 2013 has led to continuous enhancements as the government authorities recognized the limits of their own perspectives. The name of this project (in Korean) sets out clearly the approach: the alliterative "Do Dream" sounds like the term for "knocking at the door" (in Korean language), but in this case it is the volunteer-enhanced project team who are knocking on doors to realize the clients' dreams. The Do Dream concept has generated a philosophical change in how government approaches community needs. City staff are no longer expected to sit in their local Community Center offices, waiting for requests for paperwork services, but instead make visits to households in need. Neighborhood leaders have been empowered and requested to address systemic "blind spots" by bringing specific cases of need to the awareness of local government staff, who arrange for the Do Dream project Case Managers to handle the situation. This is accomplished through several mutually-supporting streams: designated social welfare neighborhood leaders report to local government service Community Centers contact information for those who may be in need; more than 600 volunteers coordinate their own awareness of needs through a social media app ("BAND"), and government actively encourages other needs-spotting through post cards and personal visits. Case management is more than casual "counseling" and referrals. Governmental and non-governmental resources are being coordinated, with new donations solicited continuously. Welfare organizations, national, metropolitan, and district-level welfare funds, employment centers, mental health promotion centers, religious organizations, and NGOs have been brought into the government-led case management process, which has expanded the types, quantity, and quality of services, while various health and professional services are being donated. Registered volunteers assist the needy to access the needed service. Inclusion of representatives from local service providers in the advisory teams for each Community Center and the District-wide office re-inforce relations in referral agencies and ensure awareness of the latest policy or service changes. The private sector have been particular generous, once they became aware of the pockets of need amongst their own neighbors. Social clubs, businesses, and medical providers have donated cash, goods, and services that were previously simply not available in the traditional social services case management system. Educational activities in the Do Dream program assist not only inform needy clients of their options and rights, but train volunteers and staff, and encourage the community to develop and maintain a mutually supportive system. The needs of the most needy -- such as those with neglected or abused women and children, the unemployable, and those with family members suffering from psychological or health issues -- are not short-term solutions, but assistance in accessing long-term solutions while overcoming immediate needs. The Do Dream project enables the poorest and neediest to dream of their successful future.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Korea, like many Asian nations, has always had very fixed roles for government and residents, with civil society primarily focused on public policy. "Do Dream" has changed all that. No longer do city staff ignore issues that are "not part of my job." No longer are governmental resource systems considered separate from private donations, NGO programs, and higher-government programs, instead these resources are interwoven to maximize benefits to the needy. No longer do citizens consider the socio-economic status of others as simply "that other family's concern." Instead neighbors are encouraged to help government identify those in need, to address the "blind spots" in traditional welfare service delivery systems. The Do Dream Project staff work through a two-track service system, through the local strengths of the Community Centers alongside more-skilled intensive services provided by the specialized case managers. Integrated with pre-existing government operations and community networks and new private-sector donations, Do Dream reaches out to offer solutions through coordinated services to those poorest and neediest who are unaware, or afraid, of these benefits. Case management is no longer an excuse for more paperwork, it is proactive and pre-emptive arrangement of networked public-private services for the benefit of the most needy.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Korea, like many Asian nations, has always had very fixed roles for government and residents, with civil society primarily focused on public policy. "Do Dream" has changed all that. No longer do city staff ignore issues that are "not part of my job." No longer are governmental resource systems considered separate from private donations, NGO programs, and higher-government programs, instead these resources are interwoven to maximize benefits to the needy. No longer do citizens consider the socio-economic status of others as simply "that other family's concern." Instead neighbors are encouraged to help government identify those in need, to address the "blind spots" in traditional welfare service delivery systems. The Do Dream Project staff work through a two-track service system, through the local strengths of the Community Centers alongside more-skilled intensive services provided by the specialized case managers. Integrated with pre-existing government operations and community networks and new private-sector donations, Do Dream reaches out to offer solutions through coordinated services to those poorest and neediest who are unaware, or afraid, of these benefits. Case management is no longer an excuse for more paperwork, it is proactive and pre-emptive arrangement of networked public-private services for the benefit of the most needy.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Case management, in itself, is not a new idea. Traditionally, a government welfare case agent, or NGO agency, guided clients to various goods and services that might be of aid. The Do Dream project amplifies the advantages of case management by integrating public and private resources, and by proactively and pre-emptively identifying families and individuals in need through neighborhood leaders and volunteer reporters. The Do Dream project is the result of much reflection and consultation over a number of years. Case management began in Suseong District in 2010, although various community support services were available prior to that date. Previously, applicants had needed to apply for each service directly, after which there was an investigation of need and eligibility. Those who failed to find the government services were not served. With initiation of case management, services could be packaged to fit unmet needs; neighborhood leaders were recruited to assist in identifying those in need. Case management was delivered through 23 local Community Centers, as well as by newly recruited professional staff at the central District office. The latest enhancements came in 2016, following consultations for establishing a new Community Welfare Plan, when the new Danubi service team added home repair services, and volunteers extended both services and awareness of need. The Do Dream project is directly supervised by the District’s Social Welfare Department Director, and receives the active review of the Volunteer-based Hope Sharing Committee, as well as an advisory group for each Community Center and the central office, along with the Community Security Representative Council and Community Security Working Group. Members of these groups include governmental officials from many levels of government and branches of service, professors and researchers, and leaders from local service NGOs and counseling centers. Case management is provided through a two-track system. General (basic) services are coordinated through the pre-existing Community Centers, where typically two or three professional civil servants provide a wide range of traditional governmental services alongside the new case management service. New case management training and referral data creates services beyond clerical referral. Higher-level case management services, for those with greater need, are provided through the six specialized central case managers. Suseong District allocates 275.6 billion KRW (~US$250 million) to welfare services, roughly 58.5% of the total governmental budget. One aim of the Do Dream project is to extend that investment. Case managers have access to 8 million KRW (~US$7,300) for immediate cash assistance to the needy from the District budget. Private sector support complements this with over 230 million KRW (~US$200,000) cash and goods. Over US$1 million in cash, goods, and services have been contributed to the needy by the private sector, NGOs, and individuals through Do Dream, this includes more than 27,000kg of rice donated, more than 4,000 meals served, and roughly US$30,000 in cash gifts, plus innumerable informal discounts or free services. Organizations such as Daegu Dongshin Church, Lions International (local club), and employees' social service clubs contribute cash or goods (such as rice), medical centers donate free health and dental care, private schools donate tuition-waivers. Volunteers donate time to visit homes, to escort needy to various service providers, and to offer childcare or elderly day-care while other family members are cared for. Over 600 volunteers participate directly in the project, many through the BAND social media application, these include visiting nurses and general home support volunteers. In addition are a dozen who assist with home repairs, and hundreds of others who participate in neighborhood projects, such as the 920 people and 32 organizations (including schools, churches, etc) in the Bum-dong Hope project.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The Suseong District Hope Welfare Support Group, a department of the government, is the mandated "control tower" for local services of this type in Korea, under the direction of the multi-agency Community Security Council. With the direction from the national government to move towards a case management system, Suseong District, through experiments led by the Hope Welfare Group, have developed this Do Dream proactive and pre-emptive community-based project. Advisory groups supplementing the mandated council are many, and active. Suseong District was the first to develop advisory groups for each of the Community Centers, along with a central office advisory group. Along with integration of neighborhood social services leaders and the 600+ volunteer reporters using the social media app, Do Dream case managers and leadership receive frequent and detailed reports of unmet need, allowing for frequent internal review of operations, and improvements to meet those needs.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Do Dream project has made a material impact in how social welfare services are delivered not only in Suseong District, but how municipalities across Korea view delivery of care. The neighborhood leaders and social media app mean we can be proactive in discovering and addressing the poorest and neediest in our communities, rather than waiting for them to (sooner or later) hopefully find care. The Public-Private partnership networking of individuals, social groups, private businesses and services, with local and national government services, increases the availability of resources to meet these needs, resulting in more customized and holistic care options. The incorporation of volunteers as caregivers and reporters of need has resulted in a new social awareness of the poorest and neediest in what is generally considered as an affluent society.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The greatest problem in service delivery is identifying those in need, the poorest of the poor. The role of "face" in Asia discourages those in need from inquiring about public services, and discourages neighbors from inquiring about what are perceived to be "private family matters." The re-assignment of a traditional village "neighborhood leader" to a community services coordinator, and then the use of social media to promote "group encouragement" of volunteers to document and report needs, has resulted in a significant decrease of the "blind spot" in social welfare services provision. Similarly, there is always more need than resources in social welfare service, but actively encouraging private sector participation has greatly increased the resources available to the needy. The other challenge was to encourage both citizens and government employees to re-evaluate the role of the government employee from one who simply makes a referral to active and pre-emptive case management. Active leadership by high-level government officials and quality training have facilitated this change.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Proactive. Pre-emptive. These are not words the typical bureaucrat uses to describe their own work. The Do Dream project has created a change in philosophy for public servants used to sitting in their desks, awaiting requests from clients who queue for services in the governmental offices. Instead, now, public servants in the Community Centers understand that their job is not only to handle requests as they enter, but to seek-out need in the community, to solicit reports from neighbors and community leaders, to assist residents to access needed services from national, local, NGO, and private donations. Needy citizens are receiving benefits they were unaware of, perhaps because these benefits are not publicized, perhaps because these benefits did not exist before the Do Dream project solicited resources from the private sector. Children are attending school because they have the requisite uniform and books and tuition, and are attending the (virtually required) private studies programs as well. Minor health issues are being resolved. There is food in the kitchen. Domestic issues receive counseling. "Blind spots" in the patch-work welfare system have been addressed through volunteers who inform Do Dream's case managers of those in need, and case managers negotiate the hurdles of various service providers and stay informed of additional services and assistance provided by non-governmental actors. Neighbors are relearning the traits of concern for neighbors, lost in the speedy transition from agricultural villages (where everyone knew how many spoons were in the village kitchens) to urban lifestyles

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
not applicable

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
A key need for women's services provision is often a lack of childcare or elderly day-care while the woman receives her needed service. Few governmental service agencies are equipped to meet this need, thus, prior to the Do Dream project many women failed to access services. The Do Dream project incorporates volunteers to assist in childcare, elderly day-care, and even household clean-up, with minor maintenance/repair also available. 60% of project resources are dedicated to women. Related services include child psychological counseling, parenting support and counseling, and child care services. There is also a concerted effort to raise awareness of the issue of women's employment. By incorporating local awareness through neighbors and neighborhood leaders, the Do Dream project can become aware of issues that might otherwise remain unreported (the "blind spot") due to fear or shame by these vulnerable women, children, and poor.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Suseong District, Daegu Metropolitan City, Republic of Korea
Institution Type:   Local Government  
Contact Person:   Sang Bae Lee
Title:   officer in charge  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82-53-666-2000 / +82-53-666-2119
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   held@korea.kr  
Address:   2450 Dalgubeol-daero, Suseong-gu, Daegu, Republic of Korea
Postal Code:   42086
City:   Suseong-gu
State/Province:   Daegu
Country:  

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