Special Needs Adoption Program Specialist - D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s

Job Details
Grand Rapids, MI


D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s is an agency that works in partnership with our community for the good of all children. We are local, non-profit and accredited. We provide comprehensive services to children and families, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, foster care, adoption, and family support, as well as, residential treatment and emergency shelter care at St. John’s Campus.

Job Title: Specialist
Reports to: Special Needs Adoption Program Supervisor
Beginning Salary Range: $29,000 - $34,000 yearly
Full Time

Adoption Services

Special Needs Adoption Program Specialist

Job Description


Helping children and empowering families by providing safety, advocacy and support.


This program is primarily involved with placing children with special needs (i.e. older children, certain minority children, large sibling groups, and children with emotional, physical, and mental impairments) into adoptive homes.  The specialist is involved in recruiting adoptive families that will provide permanent homes for these children.  They assesses both child and the family, does careful professional screening of adoptive applicants, matches children with families, prepares both children and families for placement, which includes facilitating training, and provides ongoing support services to these children and families to achieve a high level of success.

  2. Assess, prepare, and place special needs children in adoptive homes.
  3. Recruit, screen, assess, educate/train (facilitate Presley Ridge or SNAP trainings), and support adoptive families.
  4. Supervise children in their adoptive placements, by doing home visits, to assure that the children are adjusting.  Make referrals as needed.
  5. Organize, facilitate, and monitor services so that all annual adoption objectives are successfully achieved on an annual basis (i.e. placements and finalizations in a timely manner).
  6. Coordinate community resources (i.e. counseling, special education, and DHHS, etc.) available for and needed by adoptive children and families.
  7. Provide crisis intervention services to adoptive children and families.
  8. Complete all necessary agency, DHHS, subsidy, and legal paperwork requirements on a timely basis.
  9. Help develop and implement adoption plans so that children obtain permanency in a timely manner. 
  10. Assist with adoptive family recruitment, training, and support group activities.
  11. Participate in required case related activities such as file reviews, court hearings, and pre-hearing conferences.
  12. Agency related duties to include:  attendance at general staff meetings, departmental meetings, cooperation with other departments within the agency, timely completion of paperwork (to include mileage, paid time off requests, outlook calendar).
  13. Staff members may be assigned to assist with other duties by the administration.  Examples include:  public relations and promotions, recruitment, special committees or task forces, or work with Board of Directors’ Committees.
  14. In addition to scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. work hours, staff members are expected to accommodate his/her personal schedule to clients’ availability and agency need.  This will include home visits, group meetings, special events, and after agency hours and appointments and telephone contacts
  15. Other responsibilities shall include those set forth in agency personnel policies as amended.
  16. After required training, a full time social worker can expect to be responsible for 15 children and their families.
  17. Normally, 40-45 hours per week will be required to successfully manage the above defined work load.
  18. Adoption Workers are required to receive a minimum number of training hours annually. 
  19. Work cooperatively with other agency staff and with personnel from related community agencies, law firms, other agencies and courts.  Social workers are expected to have satisfaction surveys returned that are positive. 
  20. Timely reports with good quality and timely placements as measured by the departmental scoreboard.
  21. Monitor the activities within the department and take responsibility for maintaining accurate and current case records.
  22. Make sure the services provided are in keeping with the state’s licensing rules and high standard of professional child welfare services.


  2. Ability to communicate verbally and effectively to exchange information with coworkers, peers, the community, and others involved in your position.
  3. Ability to maintain a stationary position for extended periods of time.
  4. Ability to be physically mobile when working with students.
  5. Ability to determine and assess job related documents and visually utilize Agency equipment.
  6. Ability to physically handle and perform job related functions, including the operation of Agency equipment.
  7. Ability to physically position oneself to effectively interact with students.
  8. Ability to ascend/descend stairs safely and successfully.


  2. Educational requirements are a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major in social work or a related human services field.
  3. Background experience in child welfare including foster care, adoption and/or with special needs children.
  4. Good oral and written communication skills.
  5. Good organizational skills.
  6. Good computer skills.
  7. Valid driver’s license and adequate insurance with car available at all times.
  8. Effective written communication skills.
  9. Ability to work with a variety of people, both within and outside the agency.  Must promote a positive image for the agency in the community and in relationships with other agencies and their personnel
  10. Become familiar with and follow the professional code of ethics and agree to abide by the related agency standards.
  11. Understanding and sensitivity of the clients’ cultural and socioeconomic characteristics.
  12. Personal qualities of warmth, sensitivity, and the ability to establish meaningful therapeutic relationships.  The capacity to make sound decisions and have healthy boundaries.
  13. Open to supervision and acceptance of feedback from supervisor, in order to learn and be trained in case management services and treatment skills.
  14. High frustration tolerance level.
  15. A comprehensive understanding of child development, especially as it relates to adoptive children with special needs.
  16. Knowledge of community resources.
  17. Assertive, flexible, possess good time management and self-organization skills, and self-directed/motivated.
  18. Knowledge of differing lifestyles and cultures; experience or training in work with children or adults; training or practice in individual or group counseling, interviewing, family assessment, and crisis intervention.
  19. Good Conflict Resolution Skills.  The ability to work with others in a team and coordinate case planning with other departments.
  20. Good moral character
  21. A personal commitment to the Agency’s mission, philosophy, and values.


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