Family Specialist

Family Specialist

Job Summary
The Family Specialist uses knowledge of the principles of family engagement to support families in their roles as their child's primary educator, encourage parent/child interactions that promote children's school readiness and healthy development, and enhance family well-being. The Family Specialist takes the lead to build social networks among families and enhance family leadership and advocacy skills through participation in Head Start governance and other Center and community based leadership opportunities.
This position is supported by the larger system of a Support Team coordinated by BCFS Education Services thereby supporting the goals of the program. The position may involve reassignment of caseload and/or center location as deemed necessary for program operations.
Essential Functions
Recruitment, Selection, and Enrollment:
1. Engage in the process of the recruitment and selection of eligible children and following the family through the process of enrolling their child into center-based Head Start services.
2. Ensure that the recruitment, selection, and enrollment are designed to meet the needs of families in response to community assessment.
3. Assist to develop and implement targeted recruitment strategies that assure enrollment of children with greatest need, including children of working families eligible for childcare subsidies.
4. Once selected based of approved "Selection Criteria", assist in the notification to parents of eligible children and maintaining a waitlist of eligible children of enroll in the event of attrition.
5. During initial home visit, compete enrollment paperwork and assist with the completion of the child health and dental screenings and assessments, and understand referral requirements.
Family Partnership/Services:
6. Engage in a process of collaborative partnership building with families of children receiving center-based Head Start services.
7. Ensure meetings and one-on-one interactions are respectful of each family's diversity and cultural background.
8. Assist families to complete a Family Self-Assessment and then assist with the identification of family strengths, goals, and putting in place necessary services and supports, i.e. medical home.
9. Identify and access services and resources responsive to family interests and goals and follow-up with parents to ensure the referral and services met their expectations and circumstances.
10. Ensure parents are involved in the development of the program services for children, including home visits; parent conferences; and the development of the curriculum; planning, implementing the delivery of health care services to children and evaluating services for children with disabilities.
11. Ensure parents have opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in the following areas:
Family routines
Family literacy
Language and experience rich home environments
Principle of preventative health and safety for medical, dental, nutrition and mental health services
Knowledge of child growth and development, the program's curriculum, the child assessment process, parenting skills and positive discipline; and
Prevention of child abuse and neglect;
12. Encourage and support parents to increase their leadership skills by taking the lead in planning center activities, holding leadership positions within the Parent Meeting at their center, Parent Committee Meeting or Policy Council.
13. Analyze self-sufficiency data and utilize data/results to plan, coordinate and conduct a wide variety of self-sufficiency activities including the formation of support groups for cohorts of parents to work on and achieve self-sufficiency goals together.
14. Coordinate or refer families to opportunities for continuing education, employment training and other employment services through formal or informal networking in the community.
15. Inform custodial parents in single-parent families that participate in programs, activities or services about the availability of child support services for purposes of establishing paternity and acquiring child support and refer eligible parents to child support offices of State and local governments.
16. Plan and coordinate male involvement activities throughout the year that encourage male figures to become engaged in their child's education as well as increase their knowledge and skills in our family life practices.
17. Coordinate transition activities (assisting parents to become their children's advocate as the child moves to public school or another child care setting).
18. Arrange for education and other appropriate intervention including opportunities for families to participate in counseling or to receive information on mental health, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect and domestic violence, including crisis intervention, if needed.
Community Partnerships:
19. Take an active role in community planning and advocacy to improve the delivery of services to children and families.
20. Promote the access of children, and families, as appropriate, to community services that are responsive to their needs through the development of partnerships with a wide variety of community based organizations.
21. Develop a working knowledge of community resources; conduct visits with major agencies for service delivery updates and Community Resource Guide updates.
22. Participate in tri-annual community assessment and annual updates and utilizes this data to target key service providers and areas for recruitment of high need families.
23. Encourage volunteers to participate in the Head Start program.
Service Coordination:
24. Work in conjunction with the Program Director/Center Director and center based staff to plan and conduct a wide variety of parent activities that will include, but not be limited to the following:
Closing the achievement gap workshops, activities, and campaigns that promote children's school readiness
Self-sufficiency groups
Monthly parent committee meetings
Transition meeting
25. Maintain consistent contact with teaching staff in order to integrate family partnership goals with classroom efforts, ensure integrated child and family curriculum and gain information regarding child performance in the classroom.
26. Monthly follow up with the teaching staff to review and discuss Parent Engagement, in assure to ensure parent's completion of reading logs, parent/child activity calendars and their participation in center activities.
27. Provide support and consultation to teachers regarding planning, implementing and evaluating Family Life Practice goals and objectives and any other particular concerns with families.
28. Coordinate with center staff to promote parent engagement in the program as a classroom visitor, volunteer, employee, and participate in family events.
29. Provide immediate crisis intervention for families if needed and make appropriate referrals for families who are in need of critical support to be stabilized.
30. Establish and maintain accurate records as deemed necessary in each child's electronic and hard copy file.
31. In Shine, document efforts to assist families to identify their strengths, needs and self-sufficiency goals through completion of Family Self-Assessment, Family Partnership Agreement, and case notes within 24 hours.
32. Record, monitor and follow up on referrals for support services for reporting requirements.
33. Submit reports as needed and requested, such as monthly summary tracking reports, etc.
34. Understand, generate and document in-kind and other allowable costs applied toward the non-federal share requirement.
35. Ensure all child files are complete and maintained according to program guidelines and expectations.
36. Consult with staff on child abuse and neglect issues and fulfill mandated reporter duties per state policy
Other Responsibilities:
37. Participate in staff meetings, conferences, training sessions, and workshops.
38. Maintain confidentiality of all family and staff information and records in accordance to BCFS Education Services Policies and Procedures.
39. Perform other duties as assigned with consideration given to the priority of direct service to families.
40. Ability to work under minimum supervision. Excessive patience and initiative.
41. Responsible to model appropriate behavior and attire, demonstrate a positive and professional attitude.
42. Demonstrate responsibility and accountability in supporting Agency goals/mission.
43. Abide by all BCFS policies and procedures.
44. Abide by DFPS and OHS regulations and standards
45. Work flexible hours to meet the needs of families.
46. Maintain certification in CPR and First Aid.
Education: With NO degree however working on obtaining at a minimum, a credential or certification in social work, human services, family services, counseling or a related field within 18 months of hire.

Within 18 months of hire, at a minimum, a credential or certification in social work, human services, family services, counseling or a related field.
Bilingual (in Spanish) preferred and may be required for some service areas to meet the needs of our population.
Valid Driver's license
Pass physical examination, TB test, background check, and fingerprinting screen.
Advanced computer literacy in email, word processing and internet navigation.
Effective communication and group facilitation skills
Detailed, data driven with the ability to prioritize and multi-task
Knowledge and experience in early childhood development and education
Basic understanding of the principles of child health, safety and nutrition
Basic knowledge of family dynamics, domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health
Leadership development
Proficient with computer technology
Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Protected Veterans/Disabled

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