Employment/Volunteer Opportunities

FIRST CALL FOR FAMILIES PRE-PETITION JUVENILE DEPENDENCY ATTORNEY

Job Responsibilities and Duties 

This is a full-time attorney position for DAC’s innovative pilot program, First Call for Families (First Call).  First Call is a collaborative, prevention-focused endeavor with Santa Clara County’s First 5 and Social Services Agency (SSA).  One of the first of its kind in California, this attorney-led interdisciplinary team will offer parents who are at risk of having their children removed crucial early access to legal advice and resources designed to help stabilize the family and, where possible, prevent unnecessary entry into the foster care system.  Consisting of an attorney, a social worker and two mentor parents with lived child welfare experience, First Call’s interdisciplinary team will provide a creative, holistic approach to pre-petition advocacy and family-strengthening, focusing on parents who have been contacted by the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) within the last 12 months or who are currently receiving informal DFCS services.

The First Call attorney will lead the team in providing the following core services:  (1)  advice calls from eligible parents on a toll-free warmline, (2) “know your rights” community presentations about child welfare system involvement, and (3) limited scope representation to assist with family stabilization and address specific areas of vulnerability such as housing instability, substance use disorder, mental health and domestic violence issues.  If a formal DFCS petition is filed, the First Call attorney may represent the parent through the beginning stages of their legal case in dependency court.  When appropriate, there will be a warm hand off to the parent’s ongoing DAC dependency attorney and the First Call team will proactively encourage a successful and communicative relationship with the family’s DFCS social worker to support the goals of family reunification and family preservation.

In addition, program components will include weekly case staffings with the interdisciplinary First Call team, networking and outreach to local community based organizations, and consistent data collection for purposes of evaluating and sustaining the program beyond its pilot period.

Desired Qualifications

  • Member in good standing of the State Bar of California
  • High degree of professionalism and strong commitment to social justice
  • Experience working with and advocating for marginalized communities on issues such as housing, family law, mental health, domestic violence, public benefits, immigration and child welfare system involvement
  • Ability to work collaboratively and lead an interdisciplinary team that includes social workers and parents with lived child welfare experience
  • Ability to work compassionately and respectfully with clients in crisis
  • Ability to network and build partnerships with community based organizations
  • Trained in cultural competency, motivational interviewing and trauma informed service delivery
  • Supervisory experience preferred
  • Bilingual Spanish speaking preferred

Application Process

Please send cover letter and resume via email to DACjobs@sccdac.org. In your cover letter, please include the following information:  In order to best serve our clients and our community, DAC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. How has your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to social justice, race equity, and diversity among our staff?”

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FIRST CALL FOR FAMILIES SOCIAL WORKER

Job Responsibilities and Duties

This is a full-time social worker position for DAC’s innovative pilot program, First Call for Families (First Call).  First Call is a collaborative, prevention-focused endeavor with Santa Clara County’s First 5 and Social Services Agency (SSA).  One of the first of its kind in California, this attorney-led interdisciplinary team will offer parents who are at risk of having their children removed crucial early access to legal advice and resources designed to help stabilize the family and, where possible, prevent unnecessary entry into the foster care system.  Consisting of an attorney, a social worker and two mentor parents with lived child welfare experience, First Call’s interdisciplinary team will provide a creative, holistic approach to pre-petition advocacy and family-strengthening, focusing on parents who have been contacted by the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) within the last 12 months or who are currently receiving informal DFCS services.

The First Call social worker will provide the clinical component to this specialized team.  Based on the needs of the family, the social worker will perform services that include, when applicable:  clinical/risk assessments, safety planning, linkage to culturally responsive resources in the community, limited case management and support at Child and Family Team (CFT) Meetings.

The First Call for Families program will provide the following core services:  (1)  advice calls from eligible parents on a toll-free warmline, (2) “know your rights” community presentations about child welfare system involvement, and (3) limited scope representation to assist with family stabilization and address specific areas of vulnerability such as housing instability, substance use disorder, mental health and domestic violence issues.  If a formal DFCS petition is filed, the  First Call team will proactively encourage a successful and communicative relationship with the family’s DFCS social worker to support the goals of family reunification and family preservation.

Additional program components include weekly case staffings with the interdisciplinary First Call team, networking and outreach to local community based organizations, and consistent data collection for purposes of evaluating and sustaining the program beyond its pilot period.

Desired Qualifications

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW) or Marriage and Family Therapy Degree (MFT)
  • Experience working with marginalized individuals who have suffered trauma and are facing a variety of issues, including poverty, substance use disorder, intimate partner violence, and mental health, which put their families at risk of entering the child welfare system
  • High degree of professionalism and strong commitment to social justice
  • Experience working with and supporting marginalized communities on issues such as housing, family law, mental health, domestic violence, public benefits, immigration and child welfare system involvement
  • Ability to work collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team that includes attorneys and parents with lived child welfare experience
  • Ability to work compassionately and respectfully with clients in crisis
  • Knowledge of community resources in Santa Clara County
  • Strong clinical skills with experience in risk assessment and safety planning strongly encouraged
  • Ability to network and build partnerships with community based organizations
  • Trained in cultural competency, motivational interviewing and trauma informed service delivery
  • Bilingual Spanish speaking preferred

Application Process

Please send cover letter and resume via email to DACjobs@sccdac.org. In your cover letter, please include the following information:  In order to best serve our clients and our community, DAC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. How has your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to social justice, race equity, and diversity among our staff?”

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FIRST CALL FOR FAMILIES MENTOR PARENT

Job Responsibilities and Duties

A mentor parent is a mother or father with previous lived experience in the child welfare system who has successfully reunified with their children and completed their legal case.  A mentor parent cannot have any open legal case and the court cannot have jurisdiction over their families.  If substance use disorder was an issue in their juvenile dependency case, the mentor parent must possess a personal commitment to a clean and sober lifestyle and understand recovery programming.

This is a full-time mentor parent position for DAC’s innovative pilot program, First Call for Families (First Call).  First Call is a collaborative, prevention-focused endeavor with Santa Clara County’s First 5 and Social Services Agency (SSA).  One of the first of its kind in California, this attorney-led interdisciplinary team will offer parents who are at risk of having their children removed crucial early access to legal advice and resources designed to help stabilize the family and, where possible, prevent unnecessary entry into the foster care system.  Consisting of an attorney, a social worker and two mentor parents with lived child welfare experience, First Call’s interdisciplinary team will provide a creative, holistic approach to pre-petition advocacy and family-strengthening, focusing on parents who have been contacted by the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) within the last 12 months or who are currently receiving informal DFCS services.

Using their own lived experience as a guide, the role of the mentor parent is to provide peer support to families who are at risk of entering the child welfare system, to help families navigate interactions with DFCS and other systems, and to provide targeted case management and referrals to community based services in order to stabilize the family.  In addition, the mentor parent will assist with breaking down barriers that may be preventing parents from effectively advocating for themselves and their families.  Mentor parents will support clients in their interactions with DFCS social workers and participate in conferences such as Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings.

The First Call for Families program will provide the following core services:  (1)  advice calls from eligible parents on a toll-free warmline, (2) “know your rights” community presentations about child welfare system involvement, and (3) limited scope representation to assist with family stabilization and address specific areas of vulnerability such as housing instability, substance use disorder, mental health and domestic violence issues.  If a formal DFCS petition is filed, the  First Call team will proactively encourage a successful and communicative relationship with the family’s DFCS social worker to support the goals of family reunification and family preservation.

Additional program components include weekly case staffings with the interdisciplinary First Call team, networking and outreach to local community based organizations, and consistent data collection for purposes of evaluating and sustaining the program beyond its pilot period.

Desired Qualifications

  • Lived experience as a parent in the child welfare system who successfully reunified with their child(ren) and whose legal case is closed
  • If substance use disorder was an issue in their juvenile dependency case, the mentor parent must possess a personal commitment to a clean and sober lifestyle and understand recovery programming
  • Experience working with marginalized individuals who have suffered trauma and are facing a variety of issues, including poverty, substance use disorder, housing instability, intimate partner violence, and mental health concerns, which put their families at risk of entering the child welfare system
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of an interdisciplinary team with an attorney and social worker
  • Ability to work compassionately and respectfully with clients in crisis
  • Knowledge of community resources in Santa Clara County preferred
  • Ability to network and build partnerships with community based organizations
  • Bilingual Spanish speaking preferred

Application Process

Please send cover letter and resume via email to DACjobs@sccdac.org. In your cover letter, please include the following information:  In order to best serve our clients and our community, DAC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. How has your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to social justice, race equity, and diversity among our staff?”

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 DEPENDENCY ADVOCACY CENTER VOLUNTEER AND INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

DAC has had the good fortune to work with a number of exceptional law student, paralegal and high school interns. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities with DAC, please send your email inquiry to DACjobs@sccdac.org.

“The staff at Dependency Advocacy Center (DAC) are a truly unique group.  I’m inspired by their compassion and level of service that each team member provides daily.  The staff shares a message of advocacy, determination, and hope to motivate allies, professional partners, and families to work together to build stronger families.  DAC is not only a remedy for the problems associated with child maltreatment & neglect but offers a viable solution to helping families reunify while achieving stability and self-sufficiency.  DAC provides a holistic approach by using a multi-disciplinary team to increase family reunification and improve the quality of lives for families to thrive.

I’m incredibly grateful to have interned at Dependency Advocacy Center.  I gained a well-rounded learning experience in working with families, especially within the juvenile dependency system.  I have learned to assess the bio-psycho-social aspects of an individual and client, recognizing the client’s challenges and above all their support systems, strengths, and resiliency to overcome traumas and hardships.

I will forever by grateful to my Field Instructor Hilary, DAC staff, and the clients I served during my internship that have taught me the true spirit of determination, resiliency, persistence, and strength.  Thank you!”

-Y.C., San Jose State University School of Social Worker, MSW Intern 2017-18

“I’ve worked in many different areas of dependency law, from policy making at the Judicial Council, to representing the Agency with the County Counsel. No other environment provided the depth of personal interaction with clients and attorneys, and no other experience inspired me to pursue an area of law as much as my time with the Dependency Advocacy Center has.

I was able to meet real people and help them with their deepest struggles, as they were fighting to keep their family together. They were often battling very significant personal problems, but it was deeply moving to see how much they would accomplish, and the obstacle they could overcome, when motivated by love for their family.

The DAC attorneys are extremely intelligent and also abundantly compassionate. As advocates in the court room, they are effective and determined. As counsel for their clients, they are firm and direct about the work that must be done, but also encouraging and supportive. I was especially impressed with how supportive the attorneys also are of each other and their staff. The atmosphere of camaraderie in the office allows the attorneys, staff, and clients to share the burden of their difficult and emotional cases, and alleviate additional stress.

Working here would be an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in a meaningful and rewarding legal career.”

-T.G., USF School of Law, Summer Intern 2009