Summary of Position: Under the immediate supervision of a Child Welfare supervisor, the Child Welfare Worker I is responsible for providing strength-based, client-centered, relationship-driven and family-focused services to children and families served by VOA of IL’s Foster Care/Child Welfare Program. The goal of services provided by the Child Welfare Worker I are to: ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children; pursue concurrent planning to achieve timely and appropriate permanency for children: promote family reunification when appropriate; ensure safe and nurturing foster care placements; provide interventions that stabilize foster care placements; facilitate youth development and preserve children’s natural bonds and attachments.
Essential Functions: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The functions listed below are representative of the knowledge, skills and/or ability required for the position.
Carries a specific caseload that is assigned by the Agency; the caseload includes children, foster parents/caregivers, biological parents and potentially other children remaining in the care of the biological parent.
Coordinates and/or delivers specific services to the caseload defined above; services and interventions are organized and prioritized around safety, timely permanency and well-being.
Conducts a thorough assessment of needs and risk factors and develops a comprehensive service plan for each client/case that addresses the identified needs and risk factors.
Ensures that the services and interventions contained in the service plan are delivered and/or offered to all relative parties involved in the case in a timely and appropriate manner.
Ensures/facilitates/creates sufficient documentation of all case contacts, events, decisions and conversations in the client file and /or identified database (SACWIS).
Ensures that the child’s primary attachments and bonds are honored and preserved by facilitating regular parent/child and sibling visits when appropriate; this includes, whenever necessary, facilitating / providing transportation to and from such visits.
Prepares for, attends and provides testimony in juvenile court at all scheduled court dates and court appearances (this includes communicating with necessary court personnel, preparing court reports, notifying all parties on the case of court dates and providing necessary documentation to the court and court personnel).
Attends and participates in all internal and external case staffings, clinical reviews, case reviews, critical decision staffings, etc. (includes ACRs, Child and Family Team Meetings, CIPPs, Clinical Placement Reviews, etc.)
Coordinates all necessary clinical services for children and biological parents (this includes necessary referrals for evaluations, developmental assessments, etc.)
Complies with all agency and DCFS rules regarding frequency and nature of contacts and home visits with the child in the foster home, with the caregiver, with the biological parents, etc.
Complies with all agency and DFS rules and procedures regarding placements, safety, forms, contacts, services, diligent searches, etc.
Understands and complies with all agency and DCFS rules and best practice protocols.
Participates in and complies with all training and continuing education requirements for child welfare professionals in IL as well as for VOA of IL specifically.
Provides relevant, respectful and timely communication with all parties on the case (including collateral contacts) relative to case goals, progress, etc.
Upholds the mission and values of VOA of IL at all times.
As assigned by supervisor.
Work Environment: Generally, this position operates in a professional office environment; however, this position also requires frequent travel in and around the community including court, DCFS offices, schools, foster homes, other social service agencies, biological parents’ homes, etc. The ability and capacity to transport clients for official appointments like parent / child visits, court, etc. is a requirement. Staff in this position must have access to a safe and reliable vehicle during all regular work hours. The work environment for this position includes court, DCFS offices, client homes, schools, other social service agencies, etc.
Physical Demands: Physical Demands are part of the essential functions of the position. The individual must be able to remain in a stationary position throughout the workday, operate a computer and other office productivity machinery, frequently communicate with clients and employees of VOA of IL, DCFS, parents, foster parents, judges, guardian ad items, and others involved in the care and custody of clients. The individual must be able to move, traverse, and travel in the community in a vehicle, assist clients in and out of a vehicle, and transport clients in the community.
Individual must possess superior people skills in which they are both comfortable and capable of working respectfully and effectively with a diverse range of populations (gender, age, race / ethnicity, etc.) in a broad range of settings.
Individual must possess strong communication skills – both verbal and written.
Individual must possess significant emotional intelligence and skill which includes keen self-awareness, insight, impulse control, emotional regulation, stress management, conflict resolution, etc.
Individual must possess very strong time management skills including the capacity to effectively prioritize and organize one’s activities and tasks around specific goals.
Individual must possess significant problem-solving skills and display the capacity to be solution focused when faced with challenges and conflicts.
Individual must be proficient in Microsoft Office, with the demonstrated capacity to use information management systems such as SACWIS, etc.
Individual must be a valid driver in the State of IL which includes having a current driver’s license in good standing, access to a safe and reliable vehicle during all work hours and have adequate and current vehicle insurance.
Education and Experience:
Position requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Acceptable degrees include those related to human services.
Position requires some demonstrated experience in the helping/service field.
Position requires eligibility to participate in and sit for the IL CWEL exam.
If the person does not have a CWEL license at the time they are hired, they must be willing and able to take and pass the CWEL exam (following foundations training) within the first 60 days of employment or at the first available date offered by DCFS following the hire date.