Social Service Assistant (Social Services Assistant)
Human Services-Children, Adults & Families - Portland, OR

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DHS is about people. We help Oregonians be independent, healthy, and safe. We protect children who are abused or neglected. We provide treatment services to people whose lives are damaged by alcohol and drugs. We serve seniors, people with disabilities, and people with mental illness. We help low-income people along the road to self-sufficiency with health coverage, job preparation, childcare and other supports. Our services are delivered in the least restrictive setting and in partnership with communities. We are absolutely committed to ongoing innovation in the delivery of services, and we are committed to recruiting, developing and retaining dedicated employees.

The Oregon Department of Human Services/Child Welfare Programs is currently recruiting for five, full-time Social Service Assistant positions. These positions will be stationed in Multnomah County and will require flexible schedules to meet our families' needs. Most schedules are 10 AM-7 PM, 5 days per week and may include weekend assignments. We will be considering hires for both floating positions (school transports, covering for peers on leave, etc.) and positions focusing on ongoing family time visits. These positions are represented by a union.

This recruitment announcement will be used to establish a list of qualified candidates to fill the current vacancy and may be used to fill future vacancies as they occur.

Please be aware that due to the economic downturn and subsequent state budget short-fall these positions will be required to take furloughs in the biennium 2011-2013.

Duties & Responsibilities:

The purpose of this position is to work across all child welfare program areas as a member of the service delivery team to:
  • Support the [ability of the caseworker to] engagement of the client;
  • Support the rapport or the helping relationship [between the caseworker and] with the client;
  • Contribute to safety assessments and the associated decisions and plans;
  • Contribute to the comprehensive child and family assessments;
  • Support the development of a case plan with the family;
  • Support casework decision-making;
  • Support essential casework activities designed to facilitate change;
  • Contribute to the review and evaluation of client progress.
  • Actively seek to achieve the DHS core values of integrity, stewardship, responsibility, respect, professionalism, innovation and service equity
Visitation and Family Contact Support Services

As assigned:
  • Implement the individual visitation agreement by meeting with the case worker, client and care giver;
  • Gather information from case providers, clients, their family members, schools and other resources to plan visits, including the schedule, location, supervision level and safety plan;
  • Meet with clients, family members and care givers to review visitation agreements and guidelines.
As appropriate:
  • Provide information to families about community services and resources;
  • Identify and recommend services needed to the case worker for case planning.

Assure the safety and well being of children during the visit and during transportation:
  • Deal with inappropriate behavior applying general social work practice, ethnic, and cultural standards, and division policy;
  • Terminate visit if the child’s emotional needs or physical safety are threatened;
  • Document whether objectives outlined in the visitation or service agreements are reached;
  • Give feedback to the case worker on safety and attachment issues.
After consulting with case worker:
  • Communicate visitation expectations to caregiver, the child and/or biological family member(s) before visits and respond to questions or reactions after visits.
Transportation Support Services

As part of the visitation plan:
  • Transport children from substitute care placement to the visitation site. May transport children inter- or intrastate for permanent foster care, guardianship, pre-adoptive home visits or to return children to the State with legal jurisdiction.
Support emotional needs of the child by explaining the purpose of the transport and answering the child’s questions.

Escort children to medical, counseling, therapeutic, psychological and other appointments:
  • May provide information for admission of children into schools and hospitals at the direction of the casework staff;
  • May provide support to children who are being assessed for physical or sexual abuse.

Other Duties
  • Keep accurate observations and supervision notes and document these notes in ORKids.
  • Prepare notes for court testimony. SSA notes can be subpoenaed and SSA may be required to testify at court hearings.
  • Provide verbal and or type written feedback to service workers as appropriate.
  • Participate in unit meetings, staff meetings, and individual supervisory conferences.

Work is done in office and field, including client homes. Families served include mandated clients who may be hostile and resistant. Some travel is required. You must have a valid driver's license and an acceptable driving record.

Requires ability to use computer technology, including a working knowledge of Group Wise, Microsoft WORD and IIS/ORKids.

Occasional compensated overtime during evening and weekend work may be required.

Qualifications & Desired Attributes:

Your application materials, including your answers to the 'Supplemental Questions' will be reviewed to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications and how you meet the desired attributes for the position to which you have applied. Your answers to the supplemental questions must be reflected in your application.


One year experience assisting professionals in one or more specialized social programs such as family services, children services, senior services, mental or developmental disability services, substance abuse programs, juvenile corrections programs, or occupational skills programs; OR

Possession of a current certification in Child Development, Early Childhood Education, Addiction Counseling Preparation, or Juvenile Corrections; OR

45 quarter hours, or 30 semester hours of college course work in sociology, psychology, early childhood education, criminal justice, human services, juvenile corrections, or occupational skills training; OR

An Associate's degree in a field not closely related to Social Work/Human Services; AND Six months of human services related experience (i.e., work providing assistance to individuals and groups with issues such as economically disadvantaged, employment, abuse and neglect, substance abuse, aging, mental or physical disabilities, juvenile prevention, health, cultural competencies, and/or inadequate housing).


Experience using Microsoft Word.

Experience communicating effectively with people over the telephone, in writing and in person.

Experience observing and documenting (in writing) the activities concerning individual client cases.

Experience preparing notes for court testimony.

Experience testifying about your observations before a court or administrative decision making body.

Experience directly observing visits or other parent-child interactions to assess relationships, document progress, and provide feedback and coaching.

Applicants that most closely match the minimum qualifications and desired attributes will be invited for an interview.

Additional Information:

To improve communication with all applicants the State of Oregon now requires an e-mail address be provided on all applications.

For more information on veterans' preference points, visit:

If you are offered employment, the offer will be contingent upon the outcome of an abuse check, criminal records check and driving records check, and the information shall be shared with the DHS, Office of Human Resources (OHR). Any criminal or founded abuse history will be reviewed and could result in the withdrawal of the offer or termination of employment.

If you need assistance to participate in the application process, you are encouraged to call 503-945-5698 (voice) 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) Monday through Friday. TTY users please use the Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service:


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