DCYF Family Assessment Response Specialist – Spokane

Employment Type

: Full-Time


: Miscellaneous

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) was created to be a comprehensive agency exclusively dedicated to the social, emotional, and physical well-being of children, youth, and families regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other socioeconomic factors. We believe our workforce should reflect the communities we serve and are actively searching for candidates that reflect that diversity.

We're looking for a  Social Service Specialist 3 to join our team to help support and protect children, youth, and families. Together we will work toward the common goal of eliminating child and youth outcome disparities based on race and ethnicity. Our vision is that 'All Washington's children and youth grow up safe and healthy-thriving physically, emotionally, and educationally, nurtured by family and community.'

The Opportunity:
Social Service Specialist 3

DCYF is currently seeking proactive learners and resilient contributors to join our Family Assessment Response (FAR) team in our Spokane North office . As a FAR Specialist, you will perform advanced-level work in the investigation of child abuse and neglect allegations, and specialized case management in the FAR unit. This position investigates allegations, assesses complex family situations, develops plans to protect children either in their own homes or in out of home care through the intervention of the court system, and makes findings of abuse or neglect based on the results of the investigation. In performing all duties, the FAR Specialist adheres to the tenets of the Solutions-Based Casework (SBC) model with a focus on understanding and respecting the strengths of the clients including their heritage, cultural beliefs and values, communication, and learning styles.

Child Protective Services (CPS) – Persons who suspect that a child is being abused or neglected contact CPS with their concerns. If the allegations meet the screening criteria, they will be assigned to an Investigation or Family Assessment Response:
  • Family Assessment Response (FAR)  – FAR is an alternative CPS pathway for families with low and moderate allegations of child abuse or neglect. Families who qualify for FAR may choose the FAR or Investigative pathway. In FAR, there is no investigation, and no finding of whether the alleged abuse or neglect occurred. Social workers work with the family to keep children safe and build on their strengths to establish the community supports the family needs to be successful in the long-term.
  • If you are passionate about caring for children and providing them the support they desperately need, ensuring they are being provided the comfort that their best interests are at heart, our Social Service Specialist 3 may be your next career. This position is responsible for assessing and intervening on assigned intakes to protect children from abuse and neglect. As such, these types of positions can be highly stressful as you are responsible for protecting children from risk and harm whenever indicated with little supervision.

    Here is some of what you'll do as a FAR Specialist:
  • Apply child welfare practice principles, laws, rules, and policy in assessing and intervening on assigned intakes or cases to protect children and deliver needed services to families referred to FAR.
  • Responsible for assessment, delivery of services, and permanency planning that is inclusive of immediate family, extended family, kin, and children (as appropriate) in assessment, planning, and service delivery activities.
  • As a member of a child and family team, coordinate case assessment actions while utilizing solution-based casework principles.
  • Coordinate with key individuals including, but not limited to: parents, relatives, other social workers, service providers, extended family, medical professionals, education professionals, other community professionals.
  • Conduct visits in the home of the child, parent, and caregiver, as well as community meetings.
  • Assess all assigned FAR intakes alleging neglect of children and/or low-risk physical abuse to include interviewing children, family members and collateral sources to gather information necessary to assess child safety and determine service needs of the family.
  • Develop and implement case plans, collaboratively with others, that protect children from harm.
  • Work with a diverse population, which may include military and/or Native American families, follows Indian Child Welfare policies, follows protocols signed with military organizations, and works closely with the Military Family Advocacy and/or tribal personnel.
  • Provide ongoing assessment of safety and risk.
  • Assess the resource needs of children parents, and other caregivers and provide stabilization supports.
  • Identify and develop community supports and resources.
  • Provide referrals for assessments and resources that respond to the identity, cultural, and psycho-emotional needs of children and clients.
  • Initiate criminal history checks as required by policy.
  • Develop strengths-based and client-involved service plans with the family to address assessed areas of needs.
  • Utilize shared planning activities to obtain input from others who are closely concerned with the case and to jointly develop and coordinate case plans: assess the need for alternative placements:
  • Implement culturally relevant ADA-sensitive, and individualized service plans with clients that are goal-directed, have specific behavioral objectives, and are time-limited.
  • Coordinate services with tribes as appropriate.
  • Provide goal-directed, task-centered, and time-limited crisis counseling and intervention to children and families.
  • Evaluate the progress of children and their families by soliciting and assessing verbal and written reports from therapists, counselors, caregivers, school personnel, family members, and other significant individuals.
  • Prepare required legal documents for court, placement, and service delivery.

  • What we are looking for:
    Professionals with one (1) year of experience as a Social Service Specialist 2.
    *Bachelor's degree in social services, human services, behavioral sciences, or an allied field, and three (3) years of paid social service experience performing functions equivalent to a Social Service Specialist 2. 
    *Master's degree in social services, human services, behavioral sciences, or an allied field and two (2) years of paid social service experience equivalent to a Social Service Specialist 2. A practicum will be substituted for one year of paid social service experience.

    *Degrees must be obtained from an accredited institution.

    The above experience must Include one year (1) paid social service experience assessing risk and safety to children and providing family-centered practice services (strengthening and preserving family units).

    In addition to those required qualifications, our ideal applicant will also have some or all of the following core competencies:
  • Proven ability to effectively communicate and comprehend with management, peers, clients, community colleagues, and the public as required to carry out the assigned duties of the position.
  • Current working knowledge of applicable laws, rules, and policies on the delivery of child protective and child welfare services within Washington State and deliver services accordingly.
  • Proven ability to partner effectively with other professionals involved in the preparation of child and family prospective permanency families for transition and permanency outcome.
  • Proven ability to develop and maintain good working relationships with child's caregiver (foster parents, relatives, kin, or facility staff). Include caregivers in the case planning process and provide support for meeting the child's unique needs.
  • Proven ability to implement risk assessment in all cases as defined by law and best practice using the agency preferred risk assessment model.
  • Proven ability to fully utilize shared decision making processes for making case plans, includes: Family Team Decision Meetings, dependency case conferences, permanency planning staffing's, Child Protective Teams, Local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee, adoption teaming staffing's, Behavior Rehabilitation Services team meetings etc. Include children, as appropriate, in the development of service plans.
  • Proven ability to use and knowledge of FAMLINK standards and requirements.
  • Proven ability to complete work in a timely manner, following established policy and procedures regarding the timeline for Emergent and Non-emergent referrals. 

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