Children's Social Worker Trainee- Stipend Program/DCFS Interns Only
OPEN COMPETITIVE JOB OPPORTUNITY
Under close supervision, performs social casework functions including the investigation, supervision, placement and care of dependent children, children in foster homes or other child welfare cases through routine or emergency referrals.
Positions allocable to this entry level class receive close supervision and training from higher level Children's Services staff in the performance of less difficult tasks. As trainees, the incumbents are assigned a reduced number of cases and are expected to develop progressively increasing skill in preparation for higher level positions requiring the handling of more complex and sensitive cases.
Essential Job Functions
1. Investigates referrals alleging child abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation by observing the child's well-being and living environment (e.g., body appearance and hygiene, which may require disrobing a child); interviewing clients* privately in-person; interviewing various individuals (e.g., reporting parties; suspected perpetrators; other adults with immediate access to the child; collaterals, such as teachers, doctors, counselors, neighbors, and clergy; etc.) through oral and written communication; consulting with other individuals/sources (e.g., peers, supervisors, service providers, medical/mental health professionals, law enforcement personnel, school officials, attorneys including County Counsel, court officials, liaisons involved in specialized programs, etc.); conducting home inspections and assessing prospective caregivers; monitoring visitations; researching existing information in hardcopy filing systems (e.g., case history files; court reports; official personal records, such as birth certificate; etc.) and on various computer databases (e.g., CWS/CMS, LRS, SDM, JAI, DOJ, Live Scan, CLETS, etc.); transporting clients, which includes lifting of children or car seats; and/or taking photographs of the child or the living environment (as necessary) in order to determine appropriate course of action (e.g., initiating preventative measures so that the child remains in the home, developing with the client a plan that resolves the situation, removing a child from the home, if necessary, etc.) and assess a family's strengths and needs in accordance with Federal and California State laws and regulations, the Core Practice Model (CPM), and department policies and procedures, and within established response times or time intervals.
2. Determines the validity of an allegation by reviewing and analyzing the relevant information (e.g. case history/court reports: patterns indicators of abuse and recommendations; school reports: absenteeism, attendance history, reporting party; medical/mental health reports: behavior indicators) gathered from numerous sources (e.g., observations of the child and his/her living environment; interviews with various individuals; case history files, plans, and records; monitored visit reports; medical/mental health information; criminal records; school reports; court reports; official personal records, such as birth certificates; computer-generated reports, including SDM and CWS/CMS; FCI etc.); and collaborating with others in analyzing information (e.g., clients, peers, supervisors, law enforcement, care givers, medical/mental health professionals, Regional Center representatives, etc.) in order to establish whether to promote a referral to a case, assess a child's and/or family's strengths and needs, and determine an appropriate service or course of action (e.g., making an emergency placement decision, placing a child into a suitable placement, transporting a child out-of-state or out-of-country with a vehicle, requesting a comprehensive psychological evaluation, obtaining medical information and/or a medical procedure, if necessary; voluntarily hospitalizing a child within a medical or mental health system; administering prescription drugs; etc.) that is in the child's and/or family's best interest, consistent and compliant with Federal and California State laws and regulations, the Core Practice Model, department policies and procedures, and within established response times or time intervals.
3. Ensures clients are provided welfare and protective services by driving to client's location and conducting monthly face to face visits with child, family, and caregivers; collaborating with the Child and Family Team (CFT) and others, as appropriate (e.g., clients, supervisors, co-workers, law enforcement personnel, medical/mental health professionals, court officials, school officials, community resources etc.), and following the most appropriate steps as prescribed by Federal and California State laws and regulations, the Core Practice Model, and Department policies and procedures in order to ensure the child is safe and the child and/or family receives the most appropriate and culturally relevant client services that is in the child's and family's best interest, and within established response times or time intervals.
4. Enters client-related data into various computerized systems that maintain client information by operating a computer system (e.g., CWS/CMS), reviewing client documents (e.g., personal identifications, medical/dental/psychological information, school information, birth certificates, marriage certificates, photographs, etc.) and/or computer-generated documents and forms, and following Department policy and procedures to ensure that client data is accurate, current and entered within established response times or time intervals.
5. Prepares a wide variety of documents (e.g., standardized forms and templates, legal notices and court reports, written reports, numerical log reports, memoranda, correspondence, referrals, mental health screening tool (MHST), cross reports to law enforcement, warrants, etc.) by using a personal computer with appropriate software programs (e.g., word processing); operating a computerized system (e.g., CWS/CMS, Referral Portal, and Structured Decision Making (SDM)); and/or filling out standard forms, consisting of narrative, fill-in blanks, and/or checkmark boxes in order to accomplish a variety of activities (e.g., document information; communicate pertinent information to others; notice parents, relatives, lawyers, etc.; initiate a process or course of action, such as a resource family home search; send information to community providers, Medical Hubs, etc.) in accordance with Federal and California State laws and regulations and Department policies and procedures, and within established response times or time intervals.
6. Maintains a variety of confidential information (e.g., completed standards forms; records of communication; contact information; certificates; determinations, referrals, and requests made; agreements reached; court documents; caseload logs; photographs; protected passwords; etc.) by organizing hardcopy data using a Departmental case management format and electronic data using a computerized system (e.g., CWS/CMS, the SITE, tablets and smart phone) in order document information and ensure the security and confidentiality of the documents in accordance with Federal and California State laws and regulations and Department policies and procedures.
7. Communicates information to a variety of individuals (e.g., the client(s), law enforcement personnel, attorneys, representatives from County and outside agencies, and the caregivers or service providers; etc.) on numerous issues (e.g., reasons for placement, availability of relinquishment, trans-racial adoptions, legal rights and responsibilities, court processes, non-case related general information, etc.) by explaining information in a patient and clear manner, both over the phone and in-person (i.e., driving to client's location); providing written information (e.g., instructions and pamphlets in their primary language, as necessary); defusing a hostile or high stress situation (as appropriate); using active listening skills with the person; and/or applying motivational techniques in order to promote the emotional well-being of the child; encourage clients to utilize services that promote and cultivate a safe and stable environment for the child; ensure individuals are properly informed about any requests, processes, or actions taken; and ensure that any information provided is understood, complete, accurate, and in accordance with California State laws and regulations, the Core Practice Model, and Department policies and procedures related to confidentiality.
8. Provides client(s) with various services from the Department of Children and Family Services and/or other community resources (e.g., Upfront Assessment, CSAT, Independent Living Program, Adoption Assistance Program, Family Preservation Program, Alternative Response Services (ARS), Prevention and aftercare services, AB12, drug testing and rehabilitation programs, Department of Mental Health immediate and ongoing assessments and referrals, etc.) by identifying the client's need for other services and by either providing the client pertinent information to obtain the assistance or coordinating with a County department or other agency/community resource to arrange for service delivery (e.g., scheduling appointments for the client, directing the client for drug testing, transporting a child in a vehicle to a counseling session, etc.) in order to address the client's or the family's immediate or long-term basic needs (e.g., in physical/mental health, emancipation, substance abuse, housing, food, employment, child care, transportation, and education); monitor compliance with DCFS's case plan and/or court-ordered activities; or report and respond to incidents of suspected child abuse.
9. Resolves day-to-day issues and challenges (e.g. unable to find placement, scheduling visitation, monitors for visitation, tracking and adapting case plans and/or action plans, crisis management, etc.) presented by a variety of individuals (e.g., clients, the courts, co-workers, supervisors, administrators, etc.) by gathering and analyzing relevant information (e.g., placement search results, drug test results, criminal background checks, progress letters from service providers, minute orders, incident reports, medical needs and diagnosis, police reports, new referrals etc.); temporarily caring for children, which may require physical lifting and transportation; collaborating with other public and private agencies, social services programs, and community agencies (including law enforcement, juvenile justice, probation, group and resource family homes, medical personnel, school personnel, public health nurses, the courts, other emergency services, etc.); handling and mediating conflict among relevant parties; and communicating, consulting, and interacting with the appropriate individuals in order to ensure prompt and efficient delivery of client services in accordance with Federal and California State laws and regulations, the Core Practice Model, and Department policies and procedures.
10. Performs various court-related activities related to client services by examining case history and preparing court reports for hearings; filing petitions; obtaining/reviewing/following court orders; referencing the California Welfare & Institutions Code; preparing and serving warrants; obtaining information from attorneys and County Counsel; reviewing and requesting changes in court orders; coordinating transportation; transporting clients, including lifting children and car seats; providing notice to appropriate parties; completing and obtaining appropriate court-related paperwork (e.g., family law orders, medical reports, toxicology reports, pictures, historical documents, progress letters and certificates of completions of court-ordered programs, etc.); obtaining authorizations for various purposes; and testifying in court, etc. in order to ensure the protection of a child and the rights of the family; initiate a process related to client services (e.g., termination of parental rights, protective custody warrants, dependency hearings, in-and out/removal of incarcerated parents, delinquency hearings, legal guardianships, etc.); make recommendations to the court; and ensure that all court documents are legally sufficient in accordance with Federal and California State laws and regulations and are completed within established response times or time intervals.
11. Stays current with knowledge related to children and family social services (e.g., Core Practice Model; changes in Federal and California State laws and regulations; changes in Department policies and procedures; developments in best practices; etc.) by attending professional conferences, training sessions, workshops, and facilitator certification; reviewing information obtained from Department memoranda, policy updates, staff meetings, the Internet, magazines, journals, newspapers, professional publications, etc. in order to determine its impact on providing effective client services and adapt to changes in Federal and State laws.
12. Represents the Department/program/unit at various meetings (e.g., CFTs, staff meetings; training sessions; conferences; community events; court hearings, meetings with specific groups, such as IEP, MCPC, Regional Center; etc.) by consulting with supervisor and other appropriate parties, driving to various locations, facilitating Child Family Team meetings, and collaborating with community resources/partners in order to orally communicate information to others; educate others and oneself on various topics; address concerns raised by relevant groups; and/or advocate for the child/family during the meeting to identify and address their underlying needs.
13. Drives a motor vehicle to perform most of the essential job functions listed above.
*Clients include any individual who receives, uses, or is eligible for the services or offerings produced by the work unit, including a child, custodial and non-custodial parent(s), relative(s), significant other(s), legal guardian(s), caregiver(s), and prospective adoptive parent(s).