Adoption Specialist - Hands Across The Water

Job Details
Ann Arbor, MI

Hands Across The Water


Title:  Adoption Specialist 


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A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a human behavioral science or related field is required.  Experience in a professional setting with youth and families required. Strong written and oral communication skills, professionalism, organizational skills and comfort with computer technology/database entry is required.


Appropriate candidate for this position must have the ability to handle stress well, have the ability to be an active listener with good clinical observation and evaluation skills, be flexible and able to handle change, be a team player yet able to work independently, able to multi-task, and maintain case responsibility and follow-through with multiple competing demands.  Adoption Specialist will demonstrate a commitment to the training, preparation and support of adoptive families and a commitment to the belief that all children deserve lifelong family connections.  Knowledge of the adoption process and available supportive resources for youth and families in Michigan is preferred.  


Candidate may not have been convicted of child abuse or neglect, a felony involving harm or threatened harm to an individual within the 10 years immediately preceding the date of hire, or be listed on the central registry as a perpetrator of child abuse or child neglect. The Adoption Specialist shall possess a valid Driver’s License, positive driving record and proof of automobile insurance. 


Hands Across The Water does not discriminate against an employee or applicant for employment with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or a matter directly or indirectly related to employment, because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, marital status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, political beliefs or mental or physical disability.


Salary:                        According to the current salary schedule.


Job Overview: 

The Adoption Specialist is responsible for the day-to-day needs of a caseload of state adoption cases and for ensuring compliance of said cases with the applicable provisions of all governing rules.  This position maintains a caseload of youth legally free for adoption from the child welfare system. The Adoption Specialist provides case support and assessment and support of children awaiting adoption as well as to families interested in adopting children served by the program. This position may also be assigned the adoption cases of matched children and foster care cases of children awaiting adoption as necessary to meet departmental needs.   


This position requires significant travel including in-office, in-home, and outside of office work, often during non-traditional hours such as evenings and weekends.  As such, this position may be eligible for some remote office hours, depending on case location, needs of the Program and agency. 





The Adoption Specialist shall complete a CWTI PSI (Child Welfare Training Institute Pre-Service Institute) training that includes a total of 270 hours (9 weeks) of competence-based classroom and field training. Additionally, if the candidate does not have current experience and approved training in foster care, the Adoption Specialist will complete 60 hours (2 weeks) CWTI PSTT (Child Welfare Training Institute Program Specific Transfer Training) during their first year of employment.   


Each trainee will receive a competence-based performance evaluation, which shall include a written examination. As part of pre-service training, a trainee may be assigned specific tasks or activities in connection with a case that is the primary responsibility of an experienced worker and may, under appropriate supervision, be assigned responsibility for a “training caseload.” Prior to assuming any other casework responsibilities, including the assumption of a caseload other than a training caseload, the worker must demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge and ability to meet the case practice expectations by passing the performance evaluation.  


Job Responsibilities and Duties:


  1. Assess and evaluate all assigned prospective adoptive families using DHHS approved documents and procedures.
  2. Assist assigned families in the gathering and completing of necessary documents for a family assessment.
  3. Assess and evaluate children’s individual needs and desires regarding a permanency plan, advocating for a plan which best meets those needs and desires.  
  4. Maintain compliance with State of Michigan policies, regulations and timeframes specific to all adoption/foster care case activities.
  5. Attend court hearings, present written and verbal updates to courts and DHHS, and maintain compliance with legal documentation required.
  6. Maintain contact with assigned families and youth on at least a monthly basis.
  7. Attend all family related meetings associated with assigned cases.
  8. Provide active recruitment efforts to find appropriate families for children in need of a family and all children on caseload who are unmatched. This includes collaboration with the Waiting Adoption Specialist when appropriate.  
  9. Carry a full-time caseload of up to 15 adoption cases. Additionally, this position may carry the foster care cases of children awaiting adoption as necessary to accommodate departmental needs.  
  10. Maintain close collaboration with coworkers, agency recruitment/retention specialist and community resources.
  11. Prepare consent and adoption subsidy packets for cases.
  12. Prepare adoption petitions and supporting documentation for submission to court.
  13. Submit court reports, attend court hearings as assigned. 
  14. Development of a family-specific training and education plan, coordination of community resources, pre- and post-placement support and case management. 
  15. Participate in relevant community coalitions, meetings and events to promote the State Adoption Program and remain current on updated policies, procedures and resources.
  16. Oversee the maintenance of all records, files, and cases pertaining to services rendered to assigned families and children, including MiSACWIS records and paper files.
  17. Periodically audit case files as directed.
  18. Facilitate a positive working relationship with DHHS, DCWL, MARE, networking agencies, licensing consultant, clients and coworkers. 
  19. Attend agency staff and program related meetings.
  20. Participate in agency trainings as directed.
  21. Maintain a minimum of 32 hours of job-related training per year as specified in the Employee Handbook or as determined by the State contract.
  22. Maintain an up-to-date personnel file as directed by the HR Specialist.
  23. Additional duties as directed related to program.




The Adoption Specialist is accountable to the State Adoption Manager, State Programs Manager and the Director.  




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