HUMAN SERVICES SPECIALIST
DEFINITION OF CLASS:
This is specialized human services work requiring knowledge of a wide
range of social service programs combined with legal and/or fiscal principles,
techniques, functions, regulations and procedures required to organize,
coordinate and implement specialized social service programs. An employee
in this class serves as a resource to social service staff, clients and
others on matters related to their assigned program areas such as court
procedures and strategies for presenting cases in court, or adequacy of
County, State and Federal funds for reimbursements for special services
for children in foster care or residential facilities and eligibility
for reimbursements. The majority of contacts, within and outside the County
Government, are for the purposes of providing senior level advice on the
programs of assignment, instructing others on fiscal, judicial or legal
procedures, and discussing unusual case situations. Public service/assistance
is provided to clients on demand or on an on-going basis, and requires
sensitivity and excellent communication skills to understand clients'
problems and concerns, to investigate case specific issues, to explain
complex regulations and/or legal and judicial processes and to defend
agency decisions and actions.
An employee in this class combines knowledge of social service principles and techniques with in-depth knowledge of legal and judicial issues, fiscal resources and requirements, or other specialized functions in order to advise social service workers and clients concerning rules, regulations and strategies; to collect, review, and analyze data and information; to authorize specialized reimbursements or to prepare court petitions; to maintain and track legal or financial records; or to evaluate, develop and document procedures to improve services. Assignments may also require knowledge of and skill in using computer and automated office technology. The employee independently plans and carries out all aspects of program implementation, evaluates effectiveness of procedures and develops new procedures, advising higher level management of program status and achievements as well as potentially controversial matters or far reaching implications of decisions rendered. Completed work is reviewed in terms of a program's effectiveness in meeting stated goals and objectives. The employee adapts standard program practices and procedures to meet situations or cases not fully covered by existing guidelines, and recommends modification of current guides. Decisions concerning needs assessments, implementation approaches, and evaluation of outcomes require review of considerable data and consideration of several alternatives and complex inter-relationships. Work outputs affect the social, physical, or economic well-being of program participants or recipients of services. The work is performed in an office environment or institutional setting and is primarily sedentary, with some moving about and travelling between work sites. Performance of this work involves some risk of exposure to persons manifesting aggressive and/or unpredictable behavior.
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: (Illustrative Only)
Assimilates, analyzes, and disseminates information and data pertaining
to social service cases as they affect and are affected by legal and judicial,
fiscal or program specific regulations, procedures and policies.
Advises administrative, fiscal and/or legal staff of social service programs, regulations, policies and procedures.
Advises social service staff of fiscal, legal, or administrative programs, policies and
procedures and impact of policies on social service programs.
Reviews cases for eligibility for reimbursement in specialized programs; initiates action to authorize, revise, continue, or discontinue assistance and services based on the results of reviews of circumstances of clients; maintains records of payments; resolves problems by contacting clients, service providers and others for information; initiates action to authorize, revise, continue, or discontinue assistance and services based on the results of reviews of circumstances of clients.
Keeps social service staff aware of fund balances and participates in decision making concerning prioritizing of spending.
Advises and rules on requests for court petitions which can be sustained by presentation of evidence in court hearings to obtain judicial sanction for social service staff to intervene to ensure safety and welfare of children; prepares, submits and tracks court petitions; develops strategies for presentation of cases in court.
Interviews social service staff and others to determine what information can be used to substantiate a case.
Interviews, advises and guides particularly hard-to-serve clients to define problems and service needs and to identify acceptable courses of action to solve these problems, determines eligibility for assistance, and advocates for clients with public and private agencies and individual service providers.
Maintains manual and automated records of all cases and actions taken.
Responds to inquiries from clients and others about social service programs, State, County and community resources, laws, regulations and procedures.
Analyzes, adapts, and/or implements departmental or agency operating and administrative practices and procedures related to records management, forms used, reports generated, and various other phases of program organization and administration.
Maintains contacts with social service staff, individuals, families, or groups to develop up-to-date information to help them explore solutions to their problems, and/or initiate appropriate and timely action.
As assigned, provides training on fiscal or legal issues, policies and procedures.
May initiate, coordinate or contribute to such special events as workshops, professional conferences, and seminars.
Performs related duties as required.
Experience: One year of experience as a specialist performing complex
and responsible social services work in a clinical environment - significant
experience with direct client contact is required. Some positions, in
addition, may require substantive fiscal and/or paralegal experience.
Education: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's Degree.
Equivalency: An equivalent combination of education and experience may be substituted.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Thorough knowledge of laws, rules, and regulations that apply to provisions and limitations of program(s) to which assigned to provide senior level advice on and solve particularly complex problems involving unusual and nonstandard matters in the field.
Thorough knowledge of related State, Federal and County social service programs, and of social service principles, methods and techniques.
Thorough knowledge of the Code of Maryland Regulations, Annotated Code of Maryland, Maryland Rules and other laws and regulations pertinent to the assigned program area(s).
Knowledge of fiscal, legal or administrative principles, practices and policies as they relate to social service programs.
Skill in delivering social services in a clinical environment.
Skill in collecting, organizing, and synthesizing information through interviews and investigations.
Skill in explaining and defending ideas and positions, both orally and in writing, and in persuading individuals and groups to support assigned program activities or decisions.
Interpersonal skills to deal tactfully, effectively and equitably with people of all backgrounds, at times in emotionally charged situations.
Ability to develop and implement policies and procedures to establish or improve program effectiveness.
Ability to train others.
Ability to attend meetings or perform work at locations outside the office if necessary.
The probationary period must be 12 months for a full-time employee appointed to a merit system position, and 6 months for a promoted employee, during which time performance will be carefully evaluated. Continuation in this class will be contingent upon successful completion of the probationary period.
MEDICAL PROTOCOL: Limited Core Exam.
NOTE: Medical protocol may vary according to assignment.
Class Established: August 1998
January 2002 (M)