Position Profile


Job Title:  Assessment Caseworker (Assessor)

Work Unit:  Northwest Alberta Child & Family Services Authority

Ministry:   Alberta Human Services

Competition Number:  1039550

Date:  December 2016
 

Purpose

 

Alberta's Children and Youth Services is committed to ongoing improvement and pursuit of excellence in services to children, youth and families. The Casework Practice Model builds on the evolution to date and the ongoing evolution of casework practice and directions provided by the Enhancement Act. The Enhancement Act places a great emphasis on assessment of children in determining the need for intervention and the type of intervention required. A multi-disciplinary and strength-based approach is the cornerstone of the Casework Practice Model.

The Assessment Caseworker works within the Casework Practice Model and is required to perform Intake and Assessment duties. This includes the duties associated with the Safety and Detailed Assessment Phases. Assessment duties involve determining urgency of response, gather assessment information, prepare an analysis of the assessment information, determining the implications for case planning, making a determination of the intervention as defined in the Act, establishing the type of service required to meet the needs and urgency of the needs of the child and family and developing the case plan collaboratively with the family and Intervention Services Caseworker.

Responsibilities and Activities

 

Major responsibilities include:

  • Receives all reports of alleged child abuse. Examines information and determines whether there is a need for assessment/investigation or to provide information on community resources and child related situations that do not constitute a report.
  • Performs the Safety Phase Assessment. Performs Detailed Assessment to determine child's need for intervention and to address safety concerns for the child. The Safety Assessment and Detailed Assessment are performed under the authority of section (6)(2)(a) (assessment approach) or (6)(2)(b) (investigative approach).
  • Gathers information through face-to-face interviews with the child and family, makes contact with collaterals, undertakes review of file records, and conducts review of previous records and CYIM check.
  • Formulates and documents an analysis of assessment information and recommendations for case planning.
  • Provides immediate response interventions; utilizes conflict resolution skills and arranges and conducts case conferences.
  • Provides brief services at the Intake Phase and Interim Services at the Assessment/Investigation phase.

Responsibilities also include:

  • Ensures the inclusion of a safety plan and ensures that interim supports are in place where indicated during the Safety Assessment Phase.
  • Ensures services are matched to strengths and needs of children and families.
  • Engages families to ensure more successful and lasting intervention and the engagement of the community to support the child/youth at risk and their family as required.
  • Determines in consultation with their supervisor, whether a child is at risk as defined in the Act.

Information Gathering:

  • Determines level of risk from information collected at Intake within the allotted time, taking into consideration urgent needs. Identifies other issues such as high risk youth, Aboriginal families, drug endangerment, etc.
  • Conducts interviews with child/youth and family in accordance with policy. Interviews extended family members as required.
  • Gathers and documents information from community members and service providers.
  • Collects information through collateral sources (CYIM check, historical files, workers related to past involvement) as well as caller.
  • Ensures that information on high-risk indicators such as repeated intervention involvements, domestic violence, and recurring referrals for a similar type of concern are identified and given an appropriate response.
  • Determines whether the information constitutes a report.
  • Determines if the report should be closed; closed with a referral; referred to Safety Phase Assessment or referred to Safety Phase Investigation.
  • Consults with Supervisor.
  • Informs referral source of outcome or action in relation to a report.

Assessment and Analysis:

  • Informs family and child/youth at risk about purpose and process of assessment (Safety Phase/Ongoing Assessment).
  • Gathers information through face-to-face interviews with child/youth at risk and family members and collaterals as required and in accordance with Intervention Policies and Standards to ensure adequate information is being collected to determine if it is a report.
  • Assess strengths and needs of the child/youth at risk and family (subject of the report) using a strengths-based approach incorporating the domains of Parental Capacity, Child Development, Environmental Factors and completes the Safety Phase of the Assessment Report to a satisfactory level of detail.
  • Considers strengths, needs and existing resources, child risk, family engagement/relationship building.
  • Shares information with families during assessment, and appropriate documentation.
  • Determines if the child/youth's safety can be maintained under the Detailed Assessment or if there is a child/youth in need of intervention.

Case Plan Development:

  • Develops case plan collaboratively with the Intervention Services Caseworker and family, resources and supports considering: strengths, permanency, need and existing resources, level of child risk, family engagement/relationship building opportunities and interventions that will best support the child/youth at risk.
  • Analyzes and records conclusions around contributing factors to risk of child/youth, and makes recommendations around appropriate interventions.
  • Accesses and coordinates community services (brief services, interim services).
  • Advocates for child/youth/family in community and links to family services.
  • Consults with First Nations Band Designate/Metis Resource Person.
  • Arranges and chairs case conferences with Intervention Services Caseworker and the family.
  • Organizes/provides transportation of child/youth at risk for purpose of interview, for removal from home or urgent apprehension of child/youth.

Evaluation/Monitoring:

  • Measures and records progress towards goals and outcomes to support families in identifying the achievement of case plan objectives.

Provides Interventions:

  • Undertakes immediate response and safety planning.
  • Provides brief or interim services to meet the needs of child/youth and family.
  • Organizes services to stabilize family functioning and to mitigate risk to child/youth.
  • Uses the Assessment Process as a form of intervention with the family.

Engagement of Families and Community:

  • Creatively engages and works with the family members during assessment and case planning phases.
  • Uses the Assessment process to assist the family in understanding the factors that contribute to the referral issues identified, and to help families understand the areas of strength and challenges that they face.
  • Shares information in an open and transparent way with the family.
  • Develops a professional helping relationship with the child/youth or family.
  • Enables or supports conflict resolution between family members and families and services providers where appropriate. Makes referrals to formal or informal alternative dispute resolution supports and/or facilitates family group conferencing for resolution of issue in support of the child/youth at risk.
  • Works collaboratively and cooperatively with relevant agencies and RCMP in investigations.
  • Consults with First Nations Band Designate/Metis Resource Person where child/youth is of First Nations or Metis descent.
  • Incorporates knowledge of diverse values, community standards, norms, lifestyles, cultures, ethnicities and spirituality of children and families in assessments, case planning and placements.
  • Participates in
    • Networking
    • Community partnerships
    • Building relationships within the community
    • Public education
    • Communities of practice
  • Provides education to the community around services and duty to report in response to requests to present or general enquiries.
  • Engages the community regarding child or youth at risk and possible or existing supports within the community.
  • Collaborates with community members and organizations to support community engagement (improve access) to provide services.

Administration & Documentation:

  • Keeps Information Services records up to date.
  • Completes all required documentation (forms, records and file requirements according to file standards).
  • Organizes meetings such as supervisor consultations and case conferences.
  • Documents discussions and outcomes of supervisory review at decision points.

Consultation with Supervisor:

  • Consults with supervisor and provides the rationale for recommendations and actions to be taken at each Decision Point including:
    • Decision 1 - Whether a call is a report (and if it is an appropriate referral to the Family Violence Intervention Unit).
    • Decision 2 -Determine the outcome of the Report.
    • Decision 3 -Determine outcome of the Safety Phase.
    • Decision 4 -Determine the outcome of the Ongoing Assessment.
    • Decision 5 - Closure, where appropriate.
  • Discusses with the supervisor the approach taken and activities relating to:
    • Assessing strengths and needs of family and level of risk to child/youth to determine an appropriate case analysis.
    • Engagement of the child/youth and family.
    • Engagement of the community.
    • Information collected through collaterals, CYIM and the files, as well as the caller.
    • Case planning and approach to be taken to case conference.
  • Advises the supervisor of sensitive matters, service gaps, and/or emerging trends developing for further consideration.

Management of Legal Aspect:

  • Undertakes court work including:
    • Documentation/legal documents
    • Presenting evidence
    • Preparing/serving documents
    • Preparing parents and child for court
    • Following rules of evidence
    • Interfacing with Police Enforcement Agencies
    • Undertaking Risk Management
    • Liaising with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

Scope

 

The Assessment Caseworker practices with considerable independence and is expected to consult with the supervisor at five identified decision points of the model providing rationale for their recommendations.

Decisions are driven by consideration for the child/youth and their family and the Caseworker's professional judgement within the parameters of the Act, Regulation, Policies and Standards and philosophy of the Casework Practice Model. The position must also be familiar with several other pieces of legislation.

The duties involve determining urgency of response, gathering assessment information, preparing an analysis of the assessment information, determining the implications for the case planning, making a determination of whether an intervention is required as defined in the Act, establishing the type of service required to meet the needs and urgency of the needs of the child and family and developing the case plan.

This position impacts children/youth safety and the family's capacity to provide a safe and stable environment. The position also impacts the community's knowledge about children in need and the community's capacity to be a support to the child/youth and family.

  • Works with clients and collaterals with cross cultural diversity.
  • Meets unique needs of each child and their families.
  • Utilizes creative ways to engages others to be part of the team (family, service providers)
  • Leads case conferences with multiple disciplines, professionals, family and other service providers.
  • Assesses and analyzes the situation and identifies the correct intervention and supports to meet the needs of each child/youth and their family.
  • Continually monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of services and supports for the individual child/youth and their family on a regular basis.
  • Provides information and strong rationale to the supervisor at several key decision points of the Casework Practice Model.
  • Deals with vulnerable clients, children at risk and safety issues, volatile clients, and drug and alcohol and family violence issues in court.
  • Supports community capacity in order to improve access to and provision of services.
  • Builds and maintains relationships and networks with collaterals in order to provide appropriate timely services.
  • Provides brief services, arranges for interim services and may provide direct service delivery including family support, child management strategies, advocacy and conflict resolution, and/or family preservation.
  • Jointly develops a case plan with the family and Intervention Services Caseworker.
  • Exercises fiscal stewardship through:
    • Evaluation of service provision.
    • Quality assurance for services.
  • Utilizes a broad base knowledge to address questions and refer appropriately.
  • Engages the community to support permanency and service planning goal.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

 

Practice:

  • Knowledge of the three domains: Child Development, Parental Capacity and Family Environmental Factors.
  • Critical thinking, assessment, analysis and evaluation skills.
  • Knowledge of decision making process.
  • Knowledge of factors and conditions impacting family functioning.
  • Knowledge of child development and how it is impacted.
  • Knowledge of Family Systems theory.
  • Knowledge of range of child management strategies.
  • Knowledge of indicators of child abuse, neglect and emotional injury.
  • Knowledge of safety strategies for self and others.
  • Working knowledge of computers and software applications.
  • Knowledge of range of conflict resolution, negotiation and problem-solving techniques.
  • Knowledge of assessment/case planning/interventions.
  • Working knowledge base broad enough to be able to address a wide range of questions and refer to appropriate resources.
  • Ability to make a determination of risk through non face-to-face contact.
  • Ability to assess motivation and veracity of caller.
  • Ability to identify the risk to receiving worker's safety based on the information received.
  • Ability to assess clients' motivation, capacity and opportunity to make changes to resolve intervention concerns.
  • Ability to use critical thinking, judgement, interviewing and listening skills to assess the immediacy of risk.
  • Ability to engage in permanency/concurrent planning from the first point of contact.
  • Ability to coordinate and/or provide direct service to resolve the intervention concerns.
  • Ability to use multi-disciplinary and family strength-based approach.
  • Ability to engage child/youth and family.
  • Ability to ensure goals and tasks are realistic, measurable, time-limited and understandable to all parties in case planning.
  • Ability to identify criteria and implement procedures of effective termination services.
  • Ability to maintain a balance between protecting children and supporting, motivating and strengthening children, youth and families.
  • Ability to take information gleamed from the assessment factors, complete an analysis of the assessment factors and determine the implications for case planning.

Communication Skills:

  • Effective listening, verbal, and written communication skills.
  • Interviewing skills.
  • Ability to provide feedback.
  • Ability to present information and educate the community about Ministry programs and services.
  • Ability to present information to families in a cooperative/collaborative way, build rapport and use a strength-based approach.

Values:

  • Values are consistent with the Government of Alberta's values of: respect, integrity, accountability and excellence.
  • Values are consistent with the philosophy of the Act: support preservation of the family; protection of child and youth; and the child/family has unique strengths and rights to self-determination.
  • Believes that one's work with families is transparent and is a collaborative effort.

Professionalism:

  • Demonstrates respect, empathy, sensitivity, and behaves ethically towards clients, colleagues and community members.

Diversity:

  • Incorporates knowledge of diverse values, community standards, norms, lifestyles, cultures, ethnicities and spirituality of children and families in assessments, case planning and placement.
  • Practice respects unique history, tradition and experience of Aboriginal and immigrant people.

Legislation, Policy, Standards and Systems:

  • Working knowledge of Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act and Regulations
  • Working knowledge of applicable regulations, policy standards and protocols regarding service delivery.
  • Working knowledge of Court system related to role and responsibility of child/youth, family and the caseworker.
  • Working knowledge of procedures for initiating, obtaining, and maintaining legal authorities under the Act.

Partnership, Collaboration and Teamwork:

  • Ability to develop and implement strategies to promote permanence for children and resolve intervention concerns.
  • Knowledge of community resources and established regional protocols and ability to facilitate linkages.
  • Ability to build collaborative relationships and work cooperatively for the best interests of the child/youth and family.
  • Ability to advocate for services to meet gaps.
  • Ability to develop and enhance existing formal and informal networks.
  • Ability to develop partnerships and collaborate with Aboriginal and immigrant communities.
  • Ability to work in collaborative partnership with supervisor.

Court Work:

  • Knowledge of court procedures.
  • Ability to present evidence in court.
  • Working knowledge of procedures for initiating, obtaining and maintaining legal authorities under the Act.
  • Knowledge of unique local judicial court procedures and processes.
  • Ability to meet evidentiary and court documentation requirements.

Legislation, Regulations, Standards and Policy

  • Working knowledge of the following legislation as they relate to and impact assessment and casework practice:
    • Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act and Regulations
    • Family Law Act
    • Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act
    • Freedom of Information and Privacy Act
    • Family Supports of Children with Disabilities Act
    • Drug Endangered Children Act
    • Protection Against Family Violence Act
    • Protection of Children Involved in Alcohol and Drugs
    • Other new Acts as implemented that directly relate to assessment and casework practice.
  • General knowledge of:
    • Youth Criminal Justice Act
    • Criminal Code
    • Mental Health Act
    • School Act
    • Indian Act
    • Charter of Rights and Freedom Dependent Adult Act
    • Alberta Health Act

Contacts

 

To enable the safety of the child/youth and the development of a comprehensive case plan that meets the identified needs of the child/youth and their family, the Assessment Caseworker has contact with:

  • Child with their family and may include extended family
  • Professionals (hospitals, school)
  • Colleagues and supervisor
  • Community agencies, service providers
  • Legal system (courts, lawyers, RCMP, police)
  • Other government program areas (i.e. The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate)
  • Interest groups
  • Other  Provincial jurisdictions
  • First Nations Band Designate/Metis Resource Person

Working Conditions

 
  • Working with hostile individuals who are often not receptive to the department's intervention. Frequent high risk contact with clients.
  • Working environment exposes worker to a range of communicable diseases, unsafe and predictable individuals and home situations.
  • Nature of work is highly stressful.
  • Requirement to work long irregular hours (overtime, stand-by, call-back).
  • Requirement to work after hours (on-call).
  • Lack of control over amount and pace of work, caseload, high wait list.
  • Travel is a significant factor in rural regions. The size of the area covered and the time involved in travel can impact significantly on the workload and the requirements to manage time.
  • Road conditions are a factor for all areas.
  • Requirement to drive in winter conditions.
  • Lack of adequate resources.
  • Significant pressures/blame from community/agencies/families/parents to "fix" problems.

Supervision Exercised

 
  • None

 

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