Job Title: Family Specialist I
Department: Family Services
Reports to: Regional Manager and Clinical Supervisor
Employment Status: Full-time/Exempt
- A Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Psychology, Counseling, Sociology, Human/Social Services, Human Development and Life Studies, Family and Consumer Sciences or Child Development and three years of experience in community-based support services.
- Have a valid driver’s license with no restrictions that would limit the ability to perform job functions.
The Family Specialist I is knowledgeable about appropriate social worker skills and principles. The Family Specialist I demonstrates the ability to exercise independent judgment and function as a team member in the professional treatment effort as it applies to each child/family on the assigned caseload. The Specialists must be equipped to identify the needs of the children and families in their care, and to address those needs through the application of various components of all of the White's Family Services care models, including Foster Care, Independent Living, Home-Based Services, and Adoption Services. This position is an integral part of the treatment team’s efforts toward permanency; reunification with the legal family, adoption, or independent living. This position requires an over-arching understanding of the entire continuum of services available for families, children, and the referring agencies. Individual must demonstrate sensitivity to our service population’s cultural and socioeconomic characteristics and needs.
- Case Management
- Under the periodic guidance of the clinical supervisor, develop conceptualization for each assigned case (in conjunction with the treatment team)
- Attend and represent White’s at review hearings as well as child and family team meetings; make objective recommendations to the court and the team
- Develop an individualized treatment plan for each assigned child/family in consultation with placing agency worker, program manager, and clinical supervisor
- Pursue case goals utilizing various resources: community supports, resource family life, supplemental counseling, psychiatric services, therapeutic activities, etc.
- Regularly evaluate child/family progress and periodically meet with treatment team to review cases
- Advocate for child and family’s needs and best interests by assisting in the identification of service gaps and community resources to meet identified needs
- Maintain appropriate and required documentation consistent with accreditation and Department of Child Services treatment standards: Individual Treatment Plan, Monthly Progress Report, Closing Summary, case notes, outcome measures, etc.
- Keep placing agency workers informed about family and child’s progress, major crises, etc.
- Work with Foster Families
- Build and maintain positive, supportive, and encouraging working relationships with resource families
- Direct resource families in their efforts to be therapeutic in their work with those placed in their home
- Manage resource family crises
- Attend resource family trainings; co-facilitate training and/or activities for children
- Work with Foster Children and Independent Living Youth
- Facilitate independent living youth in securing entitlements and other collateral resources
- Prepare each foster child for the identified permanency goal in a developmentally appropriate manner in conjunction with other service providers including the referring agency staff and therapist when applicable
- Enhance foster child functioning by providing basic counseling, psycho-education, skills training, etc.
- Implement and maintain therapeutically sound treatment programming for youth in independent living program consistent with White’s mission and philosophy
- Prepare independent living students for self-sufficiency by facilitating experiential and didactic exercises and activities
- Work with Birth/Adoptive Parents
- Build working relationships with birth/adoptive parents with whom foster child is to be reunified by facilitating parenting time and regular communication (if this is the case plan)
- Prepare birth/adoptive parents for reunification by evaluating the safety of living environments
- Assess family dynamics and needs to facilitate case plan goal achievement as accessibility permits
- Serve as a resource coordinator for families in mobilizing and securing resources for critical needs; this may involve transporting families to resources or bringing such to them
- Provide mentoring and teaching resources:
- a) nurturing/parenting skills
- b) problem-solving/conflict resolution skills
- c) child development
- d) self-esteem concepts
- Coordinate establishment of a family support team to meet with family regularly
- Identify and engage informal supports to assist after White’s services are no longer active
- Coordinate development and implementation of family goal plan
- a) includes a safety plan for children and parents
- b) includes objectives for growth in family’s assets
- c) includes issues as well as basic needs
- Formally assess families using the approved instruments within the first 30 days of admission
- Complete assessments in conjunction with therapists to guide family preparation for adoption, when appropriate
- Facilitate training in issues related to adoption, when appropriate
- Agency Support and Enhancement
- Construct a working relationship with placing agency workers of children and families with whom they work through regular and consistent communication regarding case plan progress
- Be a positive liaison between White’s, placing agencies and other community stakeholders by communicating White’s mission, vision and values
- Professional Development
- Participate in Clinical Supervision regularly
- Fulfill reading assignments to improve relevant skills and abilities
- Attend workshops and other opportunities for professional growth
- Analyze and assess performance feedback through the Performance Review process
- Perform other duties as assigned by the Regional Manager, Clinical Director, or Vice-President of Family Services
Skill, Supervision, Knowledge, and Ability:
- The Family Specialist I must be an individual with a Christian and professional commitment to work with children and youth of all ages, their families, the referring agency, community professionals, and the White's Family Services’ treatment team
- Must demonstrate initiative and the ability to complete work assignments with moderate to minimal direct supervision
- Must be dependable, well-organized, and an effective time manager
- Must clearly, concisely, and professionally communicate ideas through good verbal and writing skills
- Must understand of basic counseling/helping skills
- Must maintain professional boundaries and confidentiality
- Must personably, genuinely, empathetically, and emotionally communicate and interact with foster children, resource families, birth families, other professionals, and placing agency workers
- Must be a “team player” – this person needs to enjoy working closely with other staff members and to be flexible, adaptive, and positive in his/her actions
- Must be a positive role model for the children and youth assigned
- Must maintain appropriate hygiene and attire
- Must be committed to the Mission, Core Values, and Vision of White's Residential and Family Services
Physical Demands of Position:
- Must be able to drive long distances for foster home visitation, court hearings, visitation, etc.
- Must be able to handle the challenge of prioritizing multiple roles and responsibilities, attend to crises and other unplanned events with minimal to moderate direct supervision, and meet regular deadlines for required documentation
- Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (part-time employees will work as needed)
- Travel, supervised visitation, home visits and other tasks will regularly extend beyond these “office hours”.
- The Family Specialist I will be expected to respond to child and family crises when available. Their cell phone number will be given to staff and to resource families to use as needed. The Family Specialist I is required to participate in an on-call rotation.