The Center for Court Innovation is a non-profit organization that works to create a more effective and humane justice system by performing original research and helping launch reforms by guiding justice innovators, nationally and internationally. The Center creates operating projects that have been documented to reduce the use of jail and prison, assist victims of crime, and strengthen communities.
The Strong Starts Court Initiative (SSCI) is a special Infant-Focused Court Model with an emphasis on supporting Family Court involved families with subject children under the age of 3. Goals of SSCI include reducing times to permanency, increasing communication and collaboration between all parties, creating family-need-specific service plans that promote success and well-being, while keeping the infant’s needs, and voice, at the center of planning.
The Strong Starts Court Initiative is seeking an Infant Mental Health Specialist. Reporting to the Clinical Director, the Infant Mental Health Specialist will be responsible for coordinating and completing clinical and developmental screenings, supporting and working with caregivers and families, and collaborating with court personnel and stakeholders.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Complete clinical and developmental screenings, and comprehensive assessments of infants’ development and social-emotional status;
- Provide comprehensive screenings and psycho-social assessments of caregiver and family needs;
- Provide on-going assessment of parent-child attachment/relationship; capacity, strengths and areas in need of support;
- Develop family-specific service plans in collaboration with other case planners, including evidence based infant, adult and family interventions;
- Facilitate referrals to high quality services based on assessment in collaboration with ACS or Foster Care Case Planners;
- Track and monitor referral status, client progress and barriers to treatment;
- Coordinate and provide leadership of monthly Infant/Family focused Clinical Conferences and provide infant focused feedback to Court Team to ensure that infants’ needs are expressed and being met;
- Prepare monthly reports for the Judge and Court Team based on on-going assessment and outcomes of monthly Clinical Conferences;
- Provide infant development/infant mental health expertise to the Judge and Court Team by way of formal trainings and day-to-day consultation;
- Attend all Court Conferences and multi-disciplinary meetings with ACS/Foster Care Agency and Community Partners;
- Engage community-based service providers and government systems serving infants and families with on-going outreach in order to form meaningful relationships, collaborate and support family’s treatment, and to include community resources in the Court process so they can in turn support families with a higher knowledge of court practices and expectations;
- Participate in quarterly meetings of SSCI Steering Committee;
- Assist with data collection and participate in program evaluation and quality improvement;
- Participate in, and assist with providing training in infant development and infant mental health to the wider Court community and a variety of child welfare system stakeholder groups;
- Additional relevant responsibilities, as needed.
Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have:
- Master’s degree (or higher) in social work, psychology, child development or related field and a minimum of five years’ experience working with infants and families, with a strong background in infant mental health including attachment theory and research;
- Background in trauma and trauma-informed interventions;
- Knowledge of local infant/family serving systems and organizations including Early Intervention, Early Head Start, home visiting programs, parent-child dyadic therapeutic models and services;
- Ability to work collaboratively with, and provide leadership to, a multidisciplinary practitioner group;
- Ability to engage and support court-involved parents;
- Knowledge of screening assessment tools for infants and caregivers;
- Knowledge of issues related to child abuse/neglect;
- Knowledge of systems that interface with court involved families and how to navigate these systems;
- Excellent written skills are a must;
- Knowledge of Family Court, ACS and/or foster agency practice;
- Experience with systems change and community building; and
- Trained in Child Parent Psychotherapy.
Position Location: New York City Family Court; temporarily remote.