The Family Development Specialist works with young parents who are in the care and custody of the State of Illinois and their children. The Family Development Specialist promotes the crucial connection between parents and children by building skills, knowledge, support and confidence. The Family Development Specialist promotes healthy parent and child relationships through clinical assessment and support, psychoeducation and linkage with community resources. The primary responsibilities of this position are providing parenting and clinical support and assessment, completing New Birth Assessments for young parents and communication with and training of Network partners while utilizing UCAN’s Clinical Philosophies through Trauma Informed practice and Positive Youth Development.
Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
Builds and Supports Emotional Well-Being and Parenting Skills
Provides clinical support to young parents to help them increase their functioning in life domains and examines how their trauma histories impact them in their daily life and the parenting of their child(ren). Provides individualized psychoeducation and support to young parents regarding parenting, child development, well baby care, and health and safety issues including safe sleep practices. Provides individualized psychoeducation to parents about methods of family planning and sexual health. Ensures linkage to the community for services that young parents need to be successful through enhancing the Community Map with the service team. Assesses young parents for post-partum depression to make recommendations and necessary referrals for services. Assists in evaluating the young parent’s desire and ability to parent and makes recommendations to the case manager for additional services such as Options Counseling or a more comprehensive parenting assessment, Psychological or Psychiatric evaluation. Engages partner/other parent in services and assists with establishing paternity and filing for child support if desired. Demonstrates insight regarding client strengths and needs and incorporates this into parenting/therapy services. Completes a New Birth Assessment (NBA) and all required assessment tools when assigned. Identifies any concrete needs of parent and child. Evaluates the current level of parent-child interaction. When necessary, provides training directly to clients; i.e. safe sleep training, appropriate caregivers.
Documentation and Reporting Communicates with the case manager at least monthly regarding progress and participation. Participates in all staffings concerning assigned young parents and provides information and recommendations for additional services and actions. Reports client progress in court proceedings (when necessary) through clear written reports submitted as required, and through accurate verbal testimony. Makes recommendations to case manager for needed services and supplies. Makes frequent reports to supervisor on progress of client services. Maintains accurate, complete and timely client records as required by ucan and TPSN policy and procedures. Enters updates and maintains accurate data in the ProFile data system, as required, including the documentation all contacts in ProFile within one week of occurrence. Reports all critical incidents, incidents of abuse or neglect, and unusual incidents to supervisor, management, or DCFS as required by ucan, TPSN or by mandated reporting law. Submits all completed documentation required via the New Birth Assessment within 60 days of the birth of a child. Within 14-days of completion of the New Birth Assessment, shares the results and recommendations with the case management team.
Organization and Service Delivery Responds in a timely manner to all written correspondence, email and phone call inquiries regarding clients. Studies, learns and uses ucan, TPSN and DCFS procedures for providing services to clients. Explains TPSN’s services to clients and families and assists them in the utilization of all available resources. Assists young parents in finding appropriate recreational activities for parent and child. Assists young parents in developing or enhancing their Community Map by connecting and building relationships with community resources. Transports young parents and child(ren) to medical, childcare and recreational events when appropriate.
Building Relationships and Networks Maintains client face-to-face contact through at least once per month home visits. Engages resistant and/or mandated clients in services. Develops effective helping relationships with young parents and their children. Provides outreach to client, family members and other significant people in the client’s life to maintain contact, develop resources for the client, and work on relationship building between young parent and family/support network. Contacts courts, DCFS, and other service providers or community organizations to coordinate client services or to make referrals. Works cooperatively with other staff members in TPSN, including RSP staff and TPSN administration.
Supports Child Development and Safety Assists young parents in securing infant start up items and equipment; ensures crib and other infant equipment is purchased and assembled prior to the birth of the baby. Assists parents in securing WIC, licensed/accredited day care, home visiting or other early learning program for child (ren). Administers an ASQ to children of young parents on caseload including NBA assignments. Models appropriate adult/child interactions at all times for the benefit of the children and to create learning opportunities for the young parents. Assesses and monitors the safety of children living with young parents and makes any needed recommendations and referrals for appropriate placement and services.
MSW or MS/MA in Social Work, Counseling, Early Childhood Education or a related Human Service field 0-2 years work experience in child welfare or human services. Working toward professional license; LPC, LSW, LCPC, LCSW.
Special Knowledge and Qualifications:
Bi-lingual in English/Spanish preferred. Is open and respectful of cultural and socioeconomic characteristics of clients and is willing and competent to work with a diverse client population. Has an understanding of trauma-informed practice Has an understanding of Positive Youth Development. Effective verbal and written communication skills. Working knowledge of the child welfare system. Ability to work both independently and a part of a high functioning team. Experience and ability to use computers for data entry, communication and report writing Proven ability to work effectively with young parents and their children. Current Infant/Child CPR and First Aid certification. Car and valid Illinois driver’s license and insurance required. Ability to transport children in accordance with IDCFS regulations.
UCAN builds strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education, and empowerment. Since the Civil War, UCAN has served the most vulnerable children, youth, and families, and has grown over 145 years into a premier social service agency serving over 10,000 individuals annually. UCAN programs address the impact of trauma: with a consistent presence, meaningful programs, and unrivaled ...organizational diversity and cultural competence. These trauma-informed programs include clinical and counseling services, support for pregnant or parenting teens, foster care placement, a therapeutic youth home, a therapeutic day school, transitional living programs, workforce development, youth leadership development, and violence prevention. At the heart of it all, UCAN’s vision is that youth who have suffered trauma can become our future leaders. UCAN is a consistent and compassionate presence in the lives of those who are most at risk. We start with the premise that communities with challenges possess strengths upon which they can build. From this premise evolves an approach to community support that fosters collaboration with existing neighborhood resources to strengthen communities, one youth at a time. UCAN’s community efforts provide leadership development, supportive jobs for youth, individual healing, and mentoring. UCAN's founding is rooted in spirituality. In 1869, UCAN was founded by members of St. Pauls United Church of Christ (UCC) to provide a home for orphaned children of Civil War soldiers. The UCC and its predecessors have long advocated for social justice, including the struggle for the abolition of slavery and being the first to ordain African-Americans, women, and openly gay persons as clergy. Diversity is a core UCAN value, reflected in our staff, our minority-led Board of Directors, and our clients. It is vitally important that UCAN counteract the influence of discrimination on our communities, families and youth.