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Child Welfare Specialist

H23

Basic Purpose

Positions in this job family are assigned responsibility for providing child welfare services to children and families in communities, facilities, institutions or hospitals.  Duties include continuous assessment of child safety in regard to family-centered and community services, child abuse/neglect investigations, adoption, foster care, intake, court liaison, group home and shelter services, volunteer program activities and permanency planning.

Typical Functions

The functions within this job family will vary by level, but may include the following:

  • Manages a caseload, receives intakes and completes investigations and assessments on children alleged to be abused and/or neglected; assesses safety and recommends appropriate level of intervention; facilitates or participates in meetings, such as Family Team Meetings; assesses family functioning; develops and implements treatment plan.
  • Initiates procedures to remove the child from the home, initiates out of home placement process, coordinates activities with law enforcement entities and the district attorney’s office, and provides reports to the courts and testifies in court as an expert witness.
  • Makes referrals to community partners, schedules physical examinations, schedules and arranges family visitation periods, and arranges for transportation of children to and from juvenile courts, medical appointments and placement interviews.
  • Recruits Resource families; provides training and consultation to Resource families and other placement providers; completes Resource family assessments; reviews child’s history and coordinates placement of children within the state and between other states.
  • Identifies needs of residents assigned to a shelter or group home; provides services to shelter or group home residents as specified by the treatment plan; develops community resources.
  • Recruits volunteers for the Child Welfare Volunteer Program; provides training to volunteers; develops informational materials to assist in the recruitment of volunteers.
  • Performs comprehensive statewide child abuse hotline functions to include interviewing callers reporting suspected child abuse; accurately documents information into computerized system; hotline operates 24 hours per day regardless of weather conditions.

Level Descriptors

This job family consists of four levels which are distinguished by the level of complexity and diversity of the specific job assignments, the extent of responsibility assigned, the expertise required for the completion of the duties assigned and the responsibility assigned for providing leadership to others.

Level I: Code: H23A Salary Band: I

This is the basic level where employees perform entry level work in a training status in providing child welfare services to children and families.  Employees at this level will complete the Child Welfare Core Academy training program.  Completed work is reviewed and all decisions are discussed with supervisor or other senior staff.  At this level, employees learn adoptive services such as recruiting, screening, evaluating and documenting activities; provide reports to the adoption unit and the courts; learn treatment and preventive services; visit children in placement; refer families and children to services in the community; complete assessments of children and families; implement individualized service plans.  Additional duties include participating in investigations of abuse and neglect of children; preparing case reports and other documentation and recommending a course of action with close supervision and case consultation; participation in conferences/meetings, and providing protective services and coordinating referrals to other units, agencies, service providers and the courts.  Prepares legal documentation for presentation to the court with supervisory guidance and approval; attends court hearings and provides testimony; consults with the District Attorney, other attorneys, and tribal partners regarding efforts to protect the child, reunite the family or other permanent plan for the child; provides direct services to children in placement; attends staff meetings; makes decisions regarding individualized service plans following supervisory consultation; and provides assessments and services to children in custody to assist them in making the transition from foster care to independent living.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required at this level include knowledge of courtroom terminology and procedures; of the principles and practices of social work; of laws, rules, regulations and policies governing agency programs; of human development stages and related dysfunction; of cultural diversity; of emotional, physical and mental needs of clients; and of counseling programs and services.  Ability is required to courteously interview and probe for information needed, evaluate, and determine appropriate action required; to prioritize and organize needs of clients; to provide courtroom testimony; to intervene in crisis situations; to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; to develop and utilize community resources; and to develop, evaluate and modify an intervention plan on an ongoing basis.

Competencies required at this level include business etiquette, written communication, self-motivation and engagement, interpersonal relationships, customer service, ethical concepts, knowledge of business technology, and problem solving /objectivity.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of a bachelor’s degree.

Level II: Code: H23B Salary Band: J

At this level employees are assigned responsibilities at the full performance level in providing child welfare services to children and families.  Employees receive intakes and assess or investigate allegations of abuse or neglect completing appropriate documentation, and assess child safety and recommend the appropriate level of intervention. Employees initiate procedures to remove the child from the home if in present danger; coordinate actions with law enforcement entities and district attorney; and initiate placement process.  Provides social work services to families applying or approved for adoption or foster care; recruits and trains foster and adoptive parents; conducts home visits; reviews child’s psycho-social, medical, developmental and education histories; completes evaluations and approves or disapproves applicants; facilitates or participates in meetings, such as Family Team Meetings.  Identifies emotional needs of residents assigned to a shelter or group home and prepares a treatment plan including short and long range goals; and prepares reports and narratives.  In addition, employees at this level will prepare and coordinate legal documents for presentation to the court; attend court hearings and provide testimony; inform court of agency policies and procedures, and may serve as an expert witness.  Visits children in placement to assess safety and needs; provides information or other appropriate services; maintains sibling and other relationships.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required at this level include knowledge of case management methodology; of sensitivity to cultural diversity; and of child abuse investigation techniques.  Ability is required to manage a caseload; to develop, evaluate and modify an individualized service plan on an ongoing basis; to establish and maintain uniform, accurate and timely case records; and to react promptly and appropriately in any instance of reported or suspected child abuse or neglect.

Competencies required at this level include those identified at level I plus business collaboration, organizational policy and procedure, and flexibility and adaptability.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of a Master’s Degree; or a Bachelor’s Degree and one year of experience in professional social work.

Level III: Code: H23C Salary Band: K

This is the specialist level where employees are designated as lead workers or backup supervisors to Level I or Level II Child Welfare Specialists, carry complex and difficult case loads, or are assigned responsibilities involving case consultation.  At this level employees act as team leader in case staff meetings, provide on-going case consultation and advise and train lower level Child Welfare Specialists in case management and interpretation of policies and procedures.  Also monitors investigations and individualized service plans and reviews court reports.  This level also consists of positions which coordinate the placement of children within the State of Oklahoma and between other states and Oklahoma.  Provides statewide placement services, including all state juvenile courts.  Employees will coordinate the efforts of a placement program with those of other related programs within the agency, with other state agencies and between other states.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required at this level include ability to make recommendations and decisions in possible life or death situations and to help families become and remain a functional family unit.

Competencies required at this level include those identified at level II.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level II plus one year of experience in professional social work in child welfare programs.

Level IV: Code: H23D Salary Band: L

This is the leadership level where incumbents provide direct supervision to lower level Child Welfare Specialists. They may also be responsible for monitoring contractual services with external agencies that focus on child placement permanency.  The position includes close coordination and consultation with CWS IV’s and District Directors regarding appropriate case actions and referrals, auditing and tracking of referrals with providers to ensure and verify the delivery of contractual services.  As a direct supervisor, employees interview and hire child welfare services staff; maintain personnel records and complete performance evaluations; orient new staff, perform case reviews and develop and administer in-services training programs.  Positions assigned to a children’s shelter environment will supervise staff within a children’s shelter and assure that children residing in the shelter receive appropriate services; supervise and coordinate intake and treatment planning including psychological and other services for children admitted to the shelter; coordinate the volunteer program at the shelter; report to the superintendent or other administrative staff on all issues related to services and employees at the shelter.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include knowledge of supervisory principles and practices.

Competencies required at this level include those identified at level III plus setting standards and direction.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level III plus one additional year of experience in professional social work in child welfare programs.

Special Requirements

  • Applicants must be willing and able to perform all job-related travel normally associated with this position.
  • Applicants must be willing to be on-call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and to work extended hours and weekends as required.
  • Applicants must attend and successfully complete the Child Welfare Core Academy Training Program; which includes the successful completion of Hands on Testing (HOT), a competency based assessment.
  • Applicants must pass a criminal background investigation.
  • Some positions may require applicants possess a valid driver’s license and be willing to transport clients.
  • Some positions may require using TDD equipment.
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