Our Story
Building Trust and Support Through Experience
Bobo Lee
Case Manager & Social Worker, Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC)
Published on 10/07/19
Bobo has worked with the Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC), an organisation that provides trust services for persons with special needs, for six years. In this time, Bobo recalls the plights, triumphs and progress of her journey.


Tell us more about your role.
As a Case Manager, I assess the psychosocial profile of each family that consults, or is referred to, SNTC, to evaluate the relevance of our trust services. Having an SNTC trust would ensure that individuals with special needs may continue to be supported if their parents or caregivers no longer possess the capacity to care for them. This could be due to mental incapacity or death. 

If their profile is eligible for our services, I then work with the family to develop a care plan, which projects the expenses for the dependant’s future care needs. Once the trust is set up, I also guide the family in their plans for the long-term care needs of the dependant. 
Why did you decide to join social service?

I’ve always loved helping people. That, combined with my innate curiosity about human behaviour, led me to complete my Diploma in Psychology before pursuing a Bachelor in Social Work. Once I graduated, it was natural for me to seek a role in social service. When I came across SNTC’s recruitment advertisement looking for social workers, I jumped at the opportunity to turn what I’d learnt in school into a career that could help the community.
What was it like being a social worker after graduating from school?
After almost a decade of studying, it was challenging, but interesting and fulfilling to apply what I’d learnt in the workplace. While my academic route had given me the knowledge to carry out my role, I needed to deepen my understanding and refine my skills through on-the-job experiences.
Take for example one of my first cases. I was tasked to follow up with a couple that had expressed an interest in our services. However, during the course of our session, there was a bout of miscommunication, and the couple became agitated. Regretfully, I was not able to calm them down, and they left abruptly. That situation left me shaken, and I was at a loss on what to do.
How did you eventually solve it?

Shortly after, I sought support from my supervisor who explained that these things happened, and it was a learning experience, not a failure. She then called the couple to apologise for the miscommunication, and invited them for another session where she would be managing instead.
I sat in the session to observe, and I learnt much from watching my supervisor manage the case in a calm and methodical manner. The session turned out to be a success and the couple chose to set up a trust with us.
But the real turning point came later, when they approached us again for help to enrol their child into a Day Activity Centre (DAC). This time, with the reassurance and guidance of my supervisor, I felt at ease working with them directly.
From providing them with timely updates to working around their schedule, I took steps to provide them with assurance and communicated with them frequently. It took six months, but eventually, the DAC application for their child was approved, and they were overjoyed. Since then, they were much more forthcoming with updates on their plans for their child, and had also requested for regular review meetings. On top of the pivotal change in our working relationship, I was also being regarded as a partner in the couple’s caregiving journey for their child, and this made me immensely happy.
That’s wonderful. How do you think you’ve grown in the six years at SNTC?
Whether it’s handling a particularly delicate case or being familiar with the numerous resources available to clients, I’m more experienced and knowledgeable than I was six years ago, and that has enabled me to serve my clients better.
In that time, my team has been incredibly helpful in my career. My supervisor has always been encouraging. She’s helped me process my thoughts and feelings when difficulties arose, and has pointed me towards resources that would be beneficial for me. Additionally, my colleagues are also supportive, and constantly check in to ensure that I can cope. Their collective support always helps me feel more confident of myself when working with clients.
And how do you feel like your work impacts the lives of others?
As a Case Manager, I feel like I’m able to provide my clients with a peace of mind because their trust monies for their dependants with special needs are safeguarded from predators and will be used for their long-term care. It takes time, communication and trust, but upon trust set up and regular reviews, many parents and caregivers have told me that they feel relieved, and it’s heartening to know that I’ve played a role in helping them alleviate their worries.

A Social Worker is one of many roles in social service. To find out more, read about a career in social work. 
Bobo works with her clients to set up a trust and care plan for them.