Foster Care Specialist - Hands Across The Water

Job Details
Ann Arbor, MI

Hands Across The Water – Ann Arbor

Title:  Foster Care Specialist

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The Foster Care Specialist shall hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in social work or a related human services field.  The Foster Care Specialist will maintain a license with the State of Michigan, if applicable. 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 is listed on the central registry as a perpetrator of child abuse or child neglect. The Foster Care Specialist shall possess a valid Driver’s License, positive driving record and proof of automobile insurance.  This agency shall make a good faith effort to recruit and employ staff which reflect the racial, ethnic, and cultural composition of this agency’s client population.


Core Competencies:

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 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. Appropriate candidate must have the ability, experience, education, and training to perform the duties assigned. Appropriate candidate must be able to understand and follow the agency’s Vision and Mission statements.


Salary: According to the current salary schedule.


Levels: Foster Care Specialist Level I: this is the trainee level class for new hires without previous foster care experience. Worker will be under a 6-month probation period and under close supervision to develop knowledge of the laws, policies, and administrative procedures of the program, to learn the principles of human behavior and development, to develop interviewing, assessment, caseload organization and management skills and to use community resources. Workers are expected to gain the knowledge and abilities to promote to Social Worker II after the probation period.


Foster Care Specialist Level II: This is the level class for those exiting the probation period or who are hired with previous foster care experience. Worker will require a minimum amount of supervision. Workers are required to have and use knowledge of the laws, policies, and administrative procedures of the program, principles of human behavior and development, interviewing, assessment, caseload organization and management skills and use of community resources.


Foster Care Specialist Team Leader: This worker has a minimum of 2 years’ experience with Hands Across The Water as a foster care specialist. This is a promotion level based on performance and agency need and not an automatic advancement level. Worker will have shown exceptional skill in the knowledge of the laws, policies, and administrative procedures of the program, principles of human behavior and development, interviewing, assessment, caseload organization and management skills and use of community resources.  This position will act as a team leader/mentor to other foster care staff and perform in a supportive role to the Foster Care Coordinator.

Position Summary:

Provide case management services for abused/neglected children, delinquency wards, in foster care and for their families. Case management services are goal oriented and time limited. The goals are to ensure the safety of the child while developing a permanency plan for each individual child in a timely manner. The Foster Care Specialist worker is responsible for placing and supervising children in out-of-home care. These workers shall work directly with the children, their families, and other relevant individuals and be primarily responsible for the development, implementation, and review of service plans for the children and their families. The Foster Care Specialist will follow and uphold the agency’s Vision and Mission Statement.


The Foster Care Specialist shall complete a pre-service training that includes a total of 270 hours of competence-based classroom and field training. 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 Description:

  • Develop, with the parents, a goal oriented, time limited Parent/Agency Agreement and Family Assessment within thirty days after the child is in care, based on a complete family assessment and the information the worker gathered at the time of intake.
  • Testify at court hearings and proceedings. Maintain regular contact with attorneys, therapists and CASA workers and other providers.
  • Keep current and accurate client records, case files, record notes and medical records.
  • Fulfill the reporting guidelines established by Hands Across the Water, DHHS and the Court. Submit written reports on each case on a timely basis.
  • Meet at least monthly with supervisor to consult on cases, to review case plan and direction and to evaluate client participation and progress.
  • Provide case management services to parents whose children are in foster care. Work to engage them in services. Be knowledgeable of community resources and treatment modalities. Make referrals to counseling, evaluations and treatment for sexual abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, parenting class, or any other needed services.
  • Provide services in a manner which empowers clients and follow professionally recognized standards of ethical practice.
  • Follow Concurrent Planning model in the provision of services while parents are working on their treatment plan.
  • Provide case management to children in foster care. Demonstrate an understanding of the effects that separation and loss, neglect, physical and sexual abuse has on a child. Assist child and develop treatment plan to enhance their well-being.
  • Coordinate and facilitate the completion of the treatment plan by keeping in contact with all providers and conducting quarterly Family Team Meetings. Bring together professionals involved to discuss case planning and progress, including foster parents, biological parents and children as appropriate.
  • Communicate and meet at least monthly with foster parents assisting them and ensuring that appropriate care is given to foster children. Monthly home visits in the foster home are required.
  • Communicate and meet at least monthly with biological parents to support them in the reunification process. A quarterly home visit to the biological parent’s home is required.
  • Must complete and pass an eight week, 270 hour, competence based classroom and field training course required by the State of Michigan specific to foster care.
  • Complete at least 32 hours of job related training per year or as required by the State contract.
  • Attend agency staff and department team meetings.
  • Participate in a 24 hour on-call system as required by program.
  • Carry a full time caseload of up to 15 cases. Team Leader position will hold a decreased caseload.
  • Work with Licensing Department on complaints regarding foster parents.
  • Team Leader position will perform supportive supervisory duties.
  • Additional duties as directed related to program.
  • Maintain an up-to-date personal file as directed by the Director.



The Foster Care Specialist is accountable to the Domestic Programs Coordinator – Foster Care who is accountable to the Executive Director.  


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