2222 West Braker Lane
About Disability Rights Texas
Disability Rights Texas is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Our mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society.
This position is time limited and currently only funded through August 31, 2018 although we hope to secure funding through August 31, 2019. The primary role of this Policy Fellow is twofold. First, to improve mental health identification and services through policies that promote school collaborations with mental health providers. Second, to address the failure of Texas schools to engage in “Child Find” activities to Identify and Serve Students with Mental Health Conditions in Special Education & 504 Programs.
Responsibilities and Duties
- Study and advance public policy related to the school’s role in identifying youth with mental health disabilities and providing appropriate services and supports.
- Work with assigned mentor to identify barriers to accessing educational services for youth with mental illness who face inappropriate school discipline or juvenile justice referral for disability-related conduct.
- Become familiar with mental health policy and develop policy expertise related to special education and behavioral supports.
- Develop relationships with local, state and national organizations, stakeholders, legislators and other public officials.
- Collaborate with state and national disability rights, educational advocacy and juvenile justice organizations.
- Prepare and assist in preparing communications to report findings and recommendations to a variety of stakeholders.
Qualifications and Skills
- Master’s degree in public policy, law, social work, or related programs received within the past 24 months – OR - be a parent, self-advocate, or sibling of a person with a disability and have demonstrated post-graduate level skills and knowledge in public policy.
- Ability to develop knowledge of or working knowledge of systems in Texas that provide services to youth with mental illness, including the special education system, community-based mental health services system, juvenile probation departments and the Texas Youth Commission.
- Knowledge of or ability to develop knowledge of systemic problems experienced by youth with mental illness who experience inappropriate school discipline or juvenile justice referral for disability-related conduct and how to identify and advance policy and program improvements.
- Strong and effective written, verbal and negotiating communication skills, including the ability to do so in a concise manner regarding complex issues
- Demonstrated experience in public speaking and developing effective informative and persuasive presentations
- Demonstrated functional knowledge of complex state and federal laws, rights protection statutes and regulations.
- Willingness to take direction and independently follow through on instructions timely.
- Exceptional communication and interpersonal relationship skills.
- Strong computer / technology literacy.
- High commitment to service excellence while maintaining high degree of integrity, ethics and judgement.
Benefits and Perks
- Paid insurance: health, dental, life, long term care, long term disability.
- Vision discount plan
- Tax-free spending and savings accounts for healthcare related and dependent day care expenses
- Tons of paid time off: 12+ days of accrued paid vacation per year, at hire, increasing with tenure; 12+ days of accrued paid sick time per year, at hire; 2+ days of paid personal time per year, at hire; 15 paid holidays per year, including the the period of December 24 - January 1; up to 6 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child and up to 4 weeks of paid bereavement leave for the death of certain family members
- 401(k) retirement account including a contribution made by DRTx, regardless of what an employee does or does not contribute pre-tax or roth
- Flexible schedules, compressed work weeks, and opportunities to work via telecommuting are available for certain positions
- Certain employees may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance and forgiveness programs
Minimum Education Required