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Residential Family Advocate

Location:Brooklyn, NY
Employment Type:Part Time
Date Posted:1/02/14
Description:The Residential Family Advocate (RFA) will provide needed support, advocacy, training, information and referral to parents of SED (Severely Emotionally Disturbed) children who reside in the child community residence (CCR). The aim of the services provided to the parents is to lessen their feelings of being overwhelmed, to work collaboratively with parents/legal guardians in advocating, parenting, treatment planning and effectively engaging and interacting with children in a strength-based manner. The RFA will also assist CCR staff in working with families collaboratively.

• From the family’s earliest contact with the program, the RFA will, through face-to-face and phone contacts, serve as a welcoming, guiding and empowering representative of the program. Direct contacts will be placed in proportion to need, intensifying during periods of transition (admission and pre-discharge), clinic setbacks, and family stress, but frequent enough even during quieter times that family engagement is sustained.

• The RFA will be responsible for providing outreach and support to all family members of children enrolled in the CCR at every stage, from pre-admission to discharge. He or she will assist families in advocating with CCR staff and management and with other programs and systems; will provide psychoeducation, skill building and support; will participate in home visit planning and processing; and will contribute to case conferences, service plan reviews and team meetings. The RFA will link families to local family providers, ensuring that their needs are met at each stage of residential placement, including linkage to community-based support services.

• The RFA will serve as a liaison between families and CCR staff and management, providing not only information and updates but also support and education, assisting al parties in understanding each other’s perspective and keeping lines of communication clear and open.

• The RFA will model a strength-based, family-driven approach to working with families for all staff, and especially for direct-care staff.

• The RFA will collaborate regularly with other family advocates, attending trainings and meetings, coordinating resources and providing and receiving consultation, as needed.

• Advocacy: The RFA will serve as advocate to families and residents by assisting them in locating resources, obtaining services and effectively addressing treatment issues.

• Education/Skill Building: The RFA will provide education on the connections among mental health, physical wellness and stress management and will link families to local resources that promote health and wellness. He or she will also train families on how to effectively advocate for the children’s needs. He or she assesses each family’s needs and provide one-on-one and group meetings and activities accordingly. The RFA will also provide education and skill building for CR staff when applicable.

• Peer Support: The RFA will provide crucial peer support directly to parents and family members of the children enrolled in the CR. He or she will link family members to FS services in their own. In addition, the RFA will create opportunities within the CR for family members of residents to support each other via group meetings and activities.

• Respite: The RFA will assist with linkages for respite services as needed. Family wraparound funds provided through this grant will enable the RFA to arrange for respite services and activities no available through other resources.

The RFA must be the parent/caretaker or have been the parent/caretaker of a child with a serious emotional disturbance, developmental disability and/or mental health issue(s), who preferably has experience navigating the educational and child mental health system. The RFA will have at minimum a High School Diploma or equivalent, and ideally bilingual.


1. Ability to work with consumers/residents, families and staff in a caring and respectful manner, and with due understanding of and consideration for cultural differences.

2. Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with staff, consumers/residents, families and the public.

3. Ability to prepare accurate and timely documentation, reports and other written material as assigned.

4. Ability to secure the cooperation of and work effectively with others.

5. Ability to work independently, and to conform to all applicable safety and accountability measures.

6. Ability to plan, organize, delegate, coordinate, oversee and monitor information, tasks and projects.

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