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.
Starting as early as the 6th grade and following students through college graduation, UFC’s Education Program forges trusting relationships with youth in foster care as they navigate some of life's most pivotal moments. United Friends’ programs focus on commitment, trauma-informed care, and youth empowerment by prioritizing the whole-person-development of youth in care through a Social Justice Positive Youth Development (SJPYD) approach, while building relationships with the youth over an extended period. The College Counselor on the Youth Empowerment and Success (YES) Team carries a caseload of up to 30 foster youth in grades 6-12. Utilizing a Tuesday through Saturday work schedule, the College Counselor builds meaningful relationships with his/her/their youth and families to ensure that they receive the best possible guidance, support, and empowerment to achieve their goals while experiencing overall positive youth development.
From Tuesday through Friday, the College Counselor will work from remotely, and on scheduled days at the Downtown Los Angeles United Friends office and will travel to various locations within the Antelope Valley to provide on-site visits to youth in foster care. On Saturdays, the College Counselor will work from workshop/event locations throughout Antelope Valley and/or Los Angeles County area.
Duties and responsibilities
- Providing individual coaching to current and former foster youth, 6th to 12th grade, that focuses on positive youth development, social justice, and academic and career success. Services provided in the youth’s homes, schools, or remotely through video or phone calls.
- Providing intensive coaching to middle and high school youth struggling in school or needing increased support with motivation and/or social-emotional wellness.
- Engaging in regular communication with caregivers to encourage support for youth’s goals and to provide additional resources as needed.
- Conduct bi-annual assessments and goal planning with youth to support with educational goals, overall youth development, goal setting, and goal achievement.
- Support in monitoring and encouraging students’ academic progress in support of their educational goals.
- Refer students to community-based support services, mental health services, and enrichment opportunities as needed.
- Track and document all service efforts in United Friends’ database.
Group Workshops and Events
- Act as a lead facilitator and/or participant in the execution of youth development, academic, and career exploration workshops.
- Support in planning and coordinating workshops and/or other program events.
- Attend community-building events to establish and maintain relationships with Education Program youth.
Advocacy and Navigation
- Engage Social Workers, ILP workers, and/or other system partners to support and advocate for youth in maneuvering systems in which they are involved, and to encourage youth’s overall goals and positive development.
- Cultivate relationships with community partners, and serve as a liaison/advocate among them to increase awareness of youth’s needs and to support youth success.
- Connect youth to UFC supportive resources as needed and when appropriate, such as tutoring, financial assistance, etc.
- Connect youth with summer internship and job opportunities.
- Connect youth to other opportunities for contribution and social action as they are offered within UFC, with UFC partners, or with other organizations.
- Analyze caseload outcomes and trends, and work with the Education Department team to improve program model and service delivery.
- Continually expand and update professional and technical knowledge within the education, foster care, and case management fields.
- Participate in team, department, and organization-wide meetings
- 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 and community.
- 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.
- BA degree in a related field
- 3+ years of relevant experience, including 1 or more years of case management and/or positive youth development experience
- Demonstrated experience working with youth in foster care, and/or underserved middle/high school youth
- Commitment to social justice and the whole-person-development of youth
- Balances multiple competing priorities
- 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
- Conveys thoughts and ideas clearly, listens well, communicates in a solution-oriented manner, and incorporates others’ views into work
- Passionate about United Friends’ mission
- Has a reliable personal automobile and valid CA driver’s license
- Master’s Degree in a related field