People of Housing Security:
Bloomington Township case investigator treats clients with respect, compassion
Providing support for others has always been Cara Escobedo’s passion, and it is evident in all the work she’s done over the years that lead to her current position as Case Investigator for Bloomington Township. Cara attended Indiana University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2012. Early on in her career, Cara spent a lot of her time focusing on children.
The summer going into her senior year of college, Cara worked as a camp counselor in New York. She worked with children between the ages of 11 and 18 who had behavioral issues or were on the autism spectrum. Cara explained that the camp “wanted them to be able to be kids and do the exact same things that every kid gets to do.” The children participated in many activities from sport activities and ropes courses to arts and crafts. However, transitioning between daily activities could be tough for the children, some requiring more assistance than others. Cara described the job as extremely difficult. “It taught me a lot of patience and that I could get through very difficult times one moment at a time.”
Returning for college her senior year, Cara worked for a therapist at the Milestones Clinical & Health Resources, division of Stone Belt. There she helped promote the use of self-control strategies with her clients as well as strengthen their social skills, play skills, and behavior management.
After graduating, Cara worked at Bloomington Meadows Hospital for two years. She started at an entry level job and “wanted to use it as an opportunity to learn.” At Meadows, she worked with kids trying to help them with things they have to do in everyday life so that they can succeed. This included tasks like sitting down and not interrupting. Cara explained that she took her experiences at Stone Belt and as a camp counselor with her to Meadows. “I was giving praise to every moment that I noticed someone sitting quietly, being kind, and asking a nice question.”
Following Meadows, Cara worked for Ireland Home Based Services and then as a facilitator at Centerstone. At Centerstone, Cara met with kids at school and in their homes, integrating into their everyday lives.
Shortly after Centerstone, Cara decided to work at a vet clinic, doing it because it was “fun” and she enjoyed the people there. Cara explained that she had been teaching boundaries to children and families over the years, but was still having to learn them herself. When working at the vet clinic she said “it was nice not to have to take work home with me.”
Content at the vet clinic, Cara wasn’t looking for a job. However, she was at her parents’ house one day and happened to look at the paper and saw a position open for a Case Investigator for Bloomington Township. Her mom really encouraged her to apply. Cara said her mom saw that she wasn’t as fulfilled and wasn’t “challenging herself” at the vet clinic. When Cara received the position she was very surprised and happy.
This November will be Cara’s seventh year as a Case Investigator for Bloomington Township. As a Case Investigator, Cara meets with individuals and households in Bloomington Township who are looking for financial assistance. Cara stated “our purpose here is to help someone that is experiencing some sort of emergency, not long-term ongoing assistance.”
In a typical week, Cara has the potential to meet with up to 10 individuals/households. Cara helps them fill out an application and then the township trustee determines if financial assistance can be provided, in accordance with state guidelines. If they’re not eligible for township funding, Cara works to figure out what resources in the community are beneficial for their situation.
“We try not to leave anyone hanging,” Cara said. She helps brainstorm options for each of her cases and provides suggestions if it’s not solvable at that moment. “We definitely do our best. Even if we can’t assist someone financially we will always give them referrals to other places that can assist them,” Cara explained. “We’re very lucky in this area to have as many resources as we do.”
Cara says she strives to be consistent with everyone she meets and takes pride in not letting her issues or mood affect what they’re dealing with. “One of the biggest goals I have every day is showing people respect,” Cara said.
Outside of time spent at the office, Cara enjoys spending time with her partner, 3 cats, and family who live nearby, noting that they are “big board game people.” Cara also has recently enjoyed fixing things and doing DIY projects in her home.
Cara also loves spending time going to local places in Bloomington. She loves that there are so many fun places you can gather. She enjoys going to trivia nights, the Comedy Attic, and even the IU Auditorium to watch musicals and plays. Cara is also part of the South Central Indiana Kiwanis, saying “I try to help when I can, where I can.”
About the People of Housing Security: This series highlights the work of those committed to improving the lives of residents in South Central Indiana. Find all the articles in this series here.