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Family Specialist

White’s Residential & Family Services Indianapolis Part-Time
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White's Residential and Family Services

Job Title: Family Specialist

Department: Family Services

Reports to: Regional Manager and Clinical Supervisor

Employment Status: Part-time/Non-Exempt


1.  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.  

2.  Have a valid driver’s license with no restrictions that would limit the ability to perform job functions.

Job Summary:

The Family Specialist is knowledgeable and experienced in regards to the application of appropriate social work skills and principals. The Family Specialist 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 Family Specialist 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. The individual must demonstrate sensitivity to our service population’s cultural and socioeconomic characteristics and needs.

Basic Responsibilities:

1. 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.

2.  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

3.  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

4.  Work with Families of Origin/Guardians/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

5.  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

6.  Professional Development

Participate in Clinical Supervision regularly

Fulfill reading assignments to improve relevant skills and abilities

Attend workshops and other opportunities for professional growth

Participate in periodic field observation by the Clinical Supervisor or Designee

Analyze and assess performance feedback through the Performance Review process

7.  Other

Perform other duties as assigned by the Regional Manager, Clinical Director, or Senior Director of Family Services


Skill, Supervision, Knowledge, and Ability:

1.  The Family Specialist 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

2.  Must demonstrate initiative and the ability to complete work assignments with moderate to minimal direct supervision

3.  Must be dependable, well-organized, and an effective time manager

4.  Must clearly, concisely, and professionally communicate ideas through good verbal and writing skills

5.  Must understand of basic counseling/helping skills

6.  Must maintain professional boundaries and confidentiality

7.  Must personably, genuinely, empathetically, and emotionally communicate and interact with foster children, resource families, birth families, other professionals, and placing agency workers

8.  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

9.  Must be a positive role model for the children and youth assigned

10.  Must maintain appropriate hygiene and attire

11.  Must be committed to the Mission, Core Values, and Vision of White's Residential and Family Services

Physical Demands of Position:

1.  Must be able to drive long distances for foster home visitation, court hearings, visitation, etc.

2.  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

Working Conditions:

1.  Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (part-time employees will work as needed)

2.  Travel, supervised visitation, home visits and other tasks will regularly extend beyond these “office hours”.

3.  The Family Specialist 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 is required to participate in an on-call rotation.

Employee Signature___________________________________________________________________

Job Description Revised: 11/13/12

Family Specialist Job Description



  1. 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.   

  2. Have a valid driver’s license with no restrictions that would limit the ability to perform job functions.

Skills required

Group Dynamics
Social Work
Case Management
Social Services
Child Welfare
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For more than 160 years, White’s has helped families in crisis, in transition and in need of support through its accredited and comprehensive continuum of community- and home-based services, foster care, adoption and residential treatment programs. Our state-wide network of facilities and seasoned providers allows us to support children, teens and families with a variety of services when they need it, wherever they may need it. No family is exempt from tough times; it’s a hard time to be a parent and a hard time to be a teen.

At its core, White’s provides hope for children, teens and families by offering services which challenge them to live lives of character, stability and service to others.

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