Location: Brooklyn/ Harlem
About Graham Windham
In full partnership with families and communities, Graham Windham strives to make a life-altering difference with children, youth and families who are overcoming some of lifes most difficult challenges and obstacles by helping to build a strong foundation for life: a safe, loving, permanent family and the opportunity and preparation to thrive in school and in the world. With over 400 full-time, part-time and on call employees serving children and families in multiple programs throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn and Harlem, Graham provides an exciting & enriching work experience.
Graham recognizes and reinforces the innate strengths and ability to cope that families have, and we empower families to take the lead in making change in their lives. We led New York City in implementing Solution-Based Casework (SBC), which helps families be the solution to problems in their lives.
About the Family Advocate Position
Graham is hiring 5 Family Advocates who will support parents with children in foster care to understand and navigate the foster care system, make decisions for their families, remain hopeful, and address family challenges so that they can accomplish their goal of reunification. The focus of this job is building connections with parents and working collaboratively with case planners. Each Parent Advocate will be assigned to a case planning unit and will support parents and bring their experience to the foster care agency decision-making process so that children are more likely to quickly and safely return home. The Advocates will be part of the Parents Supporting Parents initiative recently launched by the NYC Administration for Childrens Services (ACS), in conjunction with Rise, a parent-led NYC advocacy organization, and other important child welfare stakeholders. All Advocates will receive training and support through Rise.
This initiative is built upon the premise that Advocates with their own personal prior lived experience of the child welfare system will be effective in informing and supporting parents with children in foster care, and help to improve outcomes for children and families.
Family Advocates will:
- Build relationships and support parents in coping with the trauma of foster care involvement, making decisions for their families, communicating effectively with those involved in their case, and maintaining relationships with their children during foster care placement;
- Prepare parents and participate in Family Team Conferences including but not limited to Transitional, 20 Day, Six Month Service Plan Review, Trial Discharge and Final Discharge conferences;
- Report to a foster care unit supervisor, work alongside case planners and all service providers directly responsible for case outcomes;
- Be trained by Rise as part of a group of parent advocates newly hired to work in foster care agencies, with a focus on healing and self-care; building knowledge of child welfare law, policy and practice; building relationships for support and mentorship with other advocates; and creating an ongoing support and advocacy network;
- Learn to use Rises TIPS handouts and resources to inform and support parents;
- Review Grahams Parent Engagement Guide with parents in order to acquaint parents with the child welfare process;
- Be trained to facilitate Restorative Justice Peacekeeping Circles to support parents through weekly circles (meetings) at the agency and/or in community;
- Become a partner in Rises Reunification Collaborative, working with 6 foster care agencies to improve case practice and engagement with parents in the first 90 days;
- Contribute to defining and achieving success for this effort to build effective and meaningful roles for parent advocates in foster care agencies;
- Recognize and celebrate parents progress toward reunification;
- Encourage parents to engage in supportive interventions that will strengthen their families;
- Help families navigate resources;
- Coach parents to strengthen problem-solving skills while discovering their strengths, hopes, dreams and priorities;
- Perform all other related duties as assigned.
- A natural collaborator
- Warm, enthusiastic, able to engage and positively impact individuals
- Someone who has a sincere appreciation for people and how they are each uniquely motivated
- Skilled at working in a fast-paced environment on multiple projects occurring simultaneously
- Someone who will uphold the mission and values of Graham Windham
- Able to maintain a high level of confidentiality
- Able to work flexible hours
- Able to travel extensively to all NYC boroughs
- Previous life experience being impacted by the child welfare system as a parent including having had a child placed in foster care or having had a court-ordered supervision case. Other prior child welfare involvement such as having personally experienced child welfare investigations may also qualify. Previous child welfare cases must be closed for at least one year
- Experience holding challenging conversations
- Strong interpersonal skills to assist with parent engagement and are geared towards working sensitively on topics involving trauma, stress and healing
- Computer skills conducting Google searches and using Microsoft Office Suite
- Passion for parent leadership and preventing child welfare involvement
- A writing assessment will be included in the hiring process.