Bilingual Family Advocate - The Network

Website ChicagoChildren Chicago Children's Advocacy Center

Battling Abuse. Restoring Lives.

ChicagoCAC employees are expected to perform their job duties and act in a manner consistent with the Core Values of the organization.

Responsibility Summary
The Family Advocate’s job is to provide advocacy, crisis intervention, and short-term case management services to child victims of sexual abuse and their families who are referred to the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. The Family Advocate conducts a thorough assessment of the child and the non-offending caregiver’s mental health and social functioning and makes any referrals necessary to meet identified needs. The Family Advocate provides the child and family with education about the investigative process, about their rights, about trauma and the impact of trauma on children and families, and about any other related needs. The Family Advocate acts as a liaison for the family with the MDT and also acts as a voice for the family with the team or supports and encourages the family to speak on their own behalf with the team. The Family Advocate supports a family throughout a child sexual abuse investigation, intake through disposition. The Family Advocate will deliver culturally sensitive and well-coordinated care.

Primary Responsibilities:
• Review case prior to family arriving at the center to identify any concerns or needs that the family may have prior to arrival and coordinate/communicate with MDT and other ChicagoCAC program areas to ensure that the families’ needs are met during the visit to the center.

• Review the case prior to family arriving to determine any specific case issues that may need to be addressed with the family and/or the MDT.

• Greet child and family upon arrival at the ChicagoCAC and help prepare them for the forensic interview and investigation by explaining the process, showing them the interview room, explaining their rights, and providing information regarding the MDT members and any other steps involved with explaining the process. Complete the Family Needs Screening or Family Advocacy Screening Form with the non-offending caregiver that includes a social needs screening of the family and child and a mental health screening of the child and non-offending caregiver.

• After completing the screening, self-triage the case in order to prioritize the need for mental health services for the child. Triage complex cases with the advocacy manager/supervisor before the family leaves the center.
• When a child or a non-offending caregiver present with a significant safety concerns or mental health risks, consult with the advocacy manager/supervisor to discuss the Crisis Assessment and plan for intervention (SASS, Crisis Care Plan, etc) with the non-offending caregiver and the child.

• Provide information to the non-offending caregiver regarding trauma and the impact of trauma on children and families.

• Provide information to the non-offending caregiver regarding counseling and the benefits of counseling for children who have experienced sexual abuse and other forms of trauma.

• Assess the non-offending caregiver’s willingness and readiness to participate in and/or ensure his or her child participates in mental health services. Document the information regarding engagement.

• Engage with the non-offending caregiver, answer any questions associated with the investigation and/or services available and the effects of trauma and provide support and guidance during the investigation.

• Provide linkage for the family to mental health services through non-PATHH referrals or by facilitating the child’s placement on the centralized wait list.

• Serve as families’ liaison and representative to the multidisciplinary investigating team including during the families’ visit to the center in, MDT meetings and after the visit.

• Assess families for needs and make referrals for families to appropriate social service organizations located in families’ communities.

• Provide information to the families regarding the Illinois Attorney General’s Violent Crime Victims Compensation Program.

• Follow up with families after they visit the center to facilitate referrals, answer questions, convey information, and provide on-going case management.

• Remain in regular and consistent contact with the family during child sexual abuse investigations, including off-site visits if necessary.

• Attend and participate in regularly scheduled team meetings and case reviews.

• Attend and participate in staff development trainings.

• Actively participate in on-going Advocacy Program development.

• As assigned, complete intensive advocacy on cases that present with significant risk factors, complex challenges in consultation with Advocacy manager/supervisor.

• In addition to working with children, Advocates may at times offer services to adults with disabilities who receive services from the center.

• Collaborate with Resource Manager to ensure children and families are linked to the Centralized Waitlist as needed.

• Bilingual Family Advocates – Provide interpretation and translation as requested for partner agencies except for translation of legal documents such as safety plans and written statements.

• Participate in local networking and training opportunities.

• Perform other duties as assigned.

• After-hours/weekend every 7th– week on-call rotation for the Advocacy and Investigation department.

The Family Advocate acts with a mid-level range of discretion and independent decision-making. The Family Advocate is responsible for providing advocacy services and case management at the ChicagoCAC and is responsible for representing these services in team meetings and case reviews.

Supervisory Responsibilities
The Family Advocate is responsible for occasional supervision of volunteers, students, and interns.

The Family Advocate works closely with the Director of Advocacy, Advocacy Supervisor, other Family Advocates, Forensic Interviewers, Intake Coordinators, Child Life Specialists, and staff from the partner agencies.

Minimum education requirement of MA/ MSW and preferred 1 year experience in social services or related field. Strong team building, problem solving, organizational, and oral communication skills are necessary. Demonstrated knowledge of multiple cultures and the cultural impact on the delivery of services a must. Training or experience in working with trauma victims, people with disabilities, and people with mental health disorders preferred. Knowledge of the Cook County courts, Chicago area social service system, and victim’s rights preferred.

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