This hybrid position has a mixed caseload that includes both relative/kin families and non-relative prospective adoptive parents. The relatives/kin that Ampersand Families serves are hoping to be a placement or permanency resource to a youth or sibling group they already know who have been removed from their parent/s by child protective services. Non-relative prospective adoptive parents enter the process to explore whether they might be a good fit to adopt an older youth from the foster care system.
In work with relatives/kin, the Permanency Specialist’s role involves engaging, assessing, licensing for foster care, and supporting these families until the youth return home to their parents, or through the adoption/transfer of legal guardianship process if reunification is not possible. The right person for this position has a deep commitment to helping relative/kin families successfully parent children and teens who have experienced trauma. There is potential for the person in this position to have impact on our agency’s continuing advocacy to improve the experience of relatives and kin in the child welfare system, as well our agency’s ongoing program development.
In work with non-relative families, the Permanency Specialist’s role involves supporting the prospective parent/s through the home study assessment, foster care licensing, preparation, matching, transition, placement and on-going placement support components of the adoption process.
This is a professional position requiring significant amount of self-direction, some irregular hours and occasional travel throughout the state of Minnesota.
AGENCY SUMMARY: Ampersand Families provides permanency and adoption services to older youth and families who face barriers to equity in child welfare, and champions systemic changes that advance belonging, dignity and hope. We are seeking experienced professionals who understand the profound impact that child welfare intervention has on the lives of children, youth and families. A successful candidate for this position will be curious about the many ways permanency work can restore belonging, dignity and hope. An orientation of professionalism and humility that values continuous learning and commitment to give and receive consultation are requirements for successful employment at Ampersand Families. As an organization, Ampersand Families strives to strategically address systemic inequity and barriers to permanency for older youth, youth of color and sibling groups.
Ampersand Families is proud to be an employer of choice with an organizational culture of excellence that embraces humor, learning and collegial support. We employ professionals who are accountable for learning the skills, building the relationships and investing the time required to achieve and support real outcomes for youth, families and excellence in the programs designed to support them.
Ampersand Families is committed to doing our part to create a more equitable child welfare system. To that end, Ampersand Families provides equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, nationality, ethnic background, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, marital status, socio-economic status, status with regard to public assistance, political affiliation, veteran status, other non-visible differences and other protected attributes.
STARTING SALARY RANGE: $47,000-$56,000.
As part of our commitment to equitable hiring practices, we offer the highest starting salary based on an applicant’s qualifications that the agency is able to pay. Therefore, we do not engage in salary negotiations at hiring. There is a 3% pay increase after successful completion of a 6-month probationary period. One year after probation, Permanency
JOB RESPONSIBILITIES: • Work closely with relatives/kin to support their engagement and understanding of the home study assessment and full disclosure process, placement and on-going navigation of unique family dynamics present in relative/kin foster and adopt situations.
• Work closely with prospective new resource (non-relative) adoptive families during home study and foster care licensing, full disclosure, placement of a youth or sibling group into their home, and on-going parenting commitment. • Maintain a typical caseload of 10 families at various stages of the process, keeping in contact via phone, email, video calls, and in-person contact, which requires a relationship focused and strength-based approach with clients who have faced barriers in navigating systems and process.
• Have frequent conversations with families about personal and sensitive information, including experiences of trauma, grief and loss in their lives and/or in the lives of the youth they will be parenting. Work with families to identify specific training and support needs to increase family’s capacity to meet youth’s needs.
• Manage the documentation required to meet agency and Department of Human Services requirements for client services, foster care licensing and adoption requirements, including frequent case noting, and comprehensive home study assessments of family’s strengths and needs as prospective adoptive parents. • Frequent and in-depth consultation with peers to develop strategies, promote creativity and maintain balance in this position which has a potential for high stress and emotional investment. • Build relationships with the other individuals, professionals, and agencies or resource partners involved in the lives of families to leverage those relationships to achieve permanency.
• Commit to taking time and asking questions in order to develop a deep understanding of the social and systemic influences that contribute to disparities and over-representation of older youth and families of color in the child welfare system. • Permanency Specialists spend much of their time in the field, driving to meet with families. A majority of clients for this position live in the greater metro area but may live in any part of the state. • Engaged participation during a six-month probation/onboarding period, which will include partnering with more experienced peers in order to develop a deep understanding of the role and the practice orientation of Ampersand Families. During probation, the Permanency Specialist is expected be present in the office whenever they are not in the field meeting with youth, families or professional partners.
• Our current in-office protocol includes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays in the office with Mondays and Fridays being flexible to work from another location. Due to the nature of this work, there is a significant amount of flexibility around schedule and work location available.
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: • Master’s degree in social work or related field or Bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience in child welfare, children’s mental health, adoption or foster care required. Equivalent personal and professional experience may be substituted for some or all of the education requirement. • Experience with and passion for family preservation and/or relative/kin search, engagement and support or similar is required. • Experience working in permanency/adoption/foster care in Minnesota, direct family support and crisis intervention, children’s mental health and/or trauma-informed care preferred.
• Professional licensure is required, as applicable. Social work licensure supervision (LICSW, LISW, LGSW, LSW) available on-site and a stipend is provided for external social work supervision if we are unable to offer the needed supervision on-site. • Men and persons of color are particularly encouraged to apply. • Personal commitment to anti-oppression work. Must recognize the ways that race, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability, and other identities (historically and presently) intersect and impact whether or not youth and families experience child welfare intervention, and what their experience is once they become involved. Willingness to engage in difficult and respectful conversations for the purpose of strengthening the organization, the child welfare field and interpersonal relationships with colleagues. • Valid driver’s license, insurance coverage, and clean driving record. • Strong written and verbal communication skills. This position requires a significant amount of writing, the ability to synthesize large amounts of information into well-written, descriptive documents, and the ability to summarize team communication and case narrative in concise and frequent emails. • Ability to communicate effectively and develop partnerships with wide range of community members, social service professionals, families and youth. • Ability to be flexible, take personal initiative, and be self-directed while embracing a work environment that demands collegial support and consultation and accountability. • Well-organized, strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and a working knowledge of databases. • Valid driver’s license, insurance coverage, and clean driving record. BCA and social services fingerprint background check required.