United Friends of the Children empowers current and former foster youth on their journey to self-sufficiency through service-enriched education and housing programs, advocacy, and consistent relationships with a community of people who care.
United Friends has been an integral part of the Los Angeles foster care community since our founding by Nancy M. Daly in 1979. Our early advocacy efforts helped establish the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and pass the Foster Care Independence Act. Innovations in direct services span from co-founding the first transitional housing program in the nation for former foster youth to the creation of an 11-year education support continuum that follows foster youth from the seventh grade through the completion of a bachelor’s degree.
United Friends of the Children’s Pathways Housing Programs provides residents, ages 18-24, with housing and support services as they seek to obtain stable and secure housing and employment. Reporting to the Clinical Supervisor, the Advocacy Counselor (AC) carries a caseload of up to fifteen 18-24 year old former foster youth. The AC’s primary objective is to build meaningful relationships with his/her youth in order to provide them with the support and guidance necessary to reach their educational, career, and personal goals.
The Advocacy Counselor will work full-time during standard business hours, Monday-Friday (except Tuesdays from 12-8pm) and weekends and evenings as necessary. United Friends’ downtown office will serve as the Advocacy Counselor’s work location on Mondays. The Counselor will work from the Whittier housing site Tuesday-Friday each week. Also, travel between United Friends’ housing sites across Los Angeles County is required.
Duties and responsibilities
- Support and guide the residents while maintaining an advisory relationship based on trust and respect.
- Promote personal growth, independence, responsibility, and accountability among the residents in the housing program and inspire them to reach their full potential.
- Work with assigned residents to develop a thorough and individualized case plan within the required time frame.
- Meet one-on-one with residents on caseload on a weekly basis to discuss goals related to career, education, mental/physical health and basic life skills including budgeting and finance.
- Facilitate the move-in procedure including completing paperwork and coordinating with Property Management regarding apartment readiness.
- Work closely with the Property Management team to insure that AC’s assigned residents are paying rent and maintaining their housing units in accordance with program rules.
- Conduct needs assessments, coordinate resource referrals and connect youth to services through effective case management.
- Give regular feedback to residents regarding their progress with respect to their case plan.
- Monitor residents’ adherence to program rules and institute and enforce improvement plans where necessary.
- Provide crisis intervention assistance and personal counselling as needed.
- Attend community building activities in order establish and maintaining relationships with Pathways youth.
- Meet weekly with Clinical Supervisor to discuss case planning, progress with residents and any problematic cases.
- Participate in Life Skills classes as needed on a weekly basis.
- Guide residents through the transition from the program assisting them with developing a proper exit plan into a permanent/stable housing situation.
Documentation and Outcomes
- Track and document all service efforts made on behalf of youth in United Friends’ database within a week of each effort’s occurrence.
- Continually expand and update professional and technical knowledge within the education, foster care, and case management fields.
- Using a strengths-based and solutions-focused approach, track youths’ progress towards achievement of the Pathways Program milestones and work with the Pathways Team to develop interventions for youth as problems arise.
- Analyze caseload outcomes and trends and work with Pathways team to improve program model and service delivery.
- Work closely with the Intake Coordinator during the application and review of potential candidates.
- Participate in review of potential candidates to determine their appropriateness for the program.
- Other duties as assigned.
General United Friends Responsibilities
- Act as a role model within the organization to uphold and implement United Friends’ organizational values:
- Embrace program evaluation that leads to excellence and impact
- Build effective and empowering partnerships with the youth, community and each other
- Create a fun and exciting environment that inspires learning and innovation
- Communicate openly, honestly and with humility across all groups
- Work together as one organization
- MSW, MFT, or related Master’s level degree
- 3+ years post-graduate case management experience with a similar population in a relevant setting
- Excellent knowledge of substance abuse and mental health issues preferred
- Ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively as a member of a multi-disciplinary service team
- Conveys thoughts and ideas clearly, listens well, communicates in a solution-oriented manner and incorporates others’ views into work
- An understanding of and sensitivity to issues concerning former foster care youth from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds
- Strong problem-solving and crisis intervention skills
- Establishes and cultivates respectful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds
- Holds self accountable, sets high expectations for self and others, works both independently and collaboratively and relates tasks to organizational values
- Must have valid California Driver’s License and an insured and reliable vehicle
- Bilingual in English and Spanish
- Clinical licensure