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The Scope of Activities shows the wide range of tasks a Family Support Specialist can perform to assist the child or youth, and family in regaining control over their own lives based on the principles of resiliency and recovery. The Family Support Specialist does not diagnose an illness, prescribe or provide clinical services.


1) Utilizing unique experiences as a caregiver of a child or youth with emotional, behavioral or co-occurring disorders, the Family Support Specialist shall:

a) Teach and role model the value of every individual’s experience caring for a child or youth with an emotional, behavioral or co-occurring disorder;

b) Model effective coping techniques and advocacy skills;

c) Encourage caregivers to develop informal and formal networks of support that are responsive to the culture and unique needs of their child and family;

d) Foster a full and equal partnership with the child, family, and caregiver.


2) The Youth Support Specialist shall maintain a working knowledge of current trends and developments in the fields of mental health, co-occurring disorders, education/special education, child welfare regulations, child/adolescent development and basic wellness, CSoC and peer support services by:

a) Assists children, youth and families in the development of skills to aid in coping with and managing psychiatric symptoms while facilitating the use of natural resources

b) Provides structured scheduled activities that allow youth an opportunity to support each other in the restoration and expansion of skills and strategies necessary to move forward in recovery

c) Provides individualized, face-to-face interventions with child/youth present

d) Provide support and training to youth in community locations where s/he resides, works, attends school and/or socializes

e) Assists child/youth to develop an information and support network from others who have been through similar experiences

f) Assists child/youth with regaining the ability to make independent choices and take a proactive role in treatment, including discussing questions or concerns about medications, diagnoses or treatment with their clinician

g) Assists the child/youth with identifying and effectively responding to or avoiding identified precursors or triggers that impede functioning

h) Assists the child/youth to address negative behaviors and reduce reliance on youth support over time

i) Maintains confidentiality in all aspects of member care, staff and agency information


3) Utilizing direct caregiver-to-caregiver support and interaction and a goal-setting process, the Family Support Specialist shall:

a) Educate caregivers regarding diagnoses, cause of disorders, treatments, and treatment adherence techniques.

b) Understand and utilize specific interventions necessary to assist caregivers in developing a Child and Family Team and in establishing and meeting their child and family’s individualized goals;

c) Lead as well as model how to facilitate collaborative working relationships with providers, school staff, and other professionals to positively transform the treatment experience of the child, youth, and family;

d) Teach relevant skills needed for effective advocacy and navigation of the child-serving systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice, education mental health, and transition services;

e) Assist caregivers in meeting their child’s or youth’s educational needs, through support, education, and guidance in school related meetings (504, Individual Education Plans, etc.) and the special education system;

f) Assist caregivers in identifying and connecting with services addressing substance abuse and cooccurring disorders as well as providing information and other resources;

g) Teach the child, family, and caregiver how to identify and utilize their strengths in achieving the family’s goals;

h) Assist caregivers in articulating their goals and objectives for their family;

i) Assist caregivers in creating their Child and Family Team and individualized service plan (e.g., wraparound plan, crisis plan, etc.);

j) Assist caregivers in establishing and maintaining informal and formal supports;

k) Assist caregivers in learning how to access community resources and in making positive treatment choices for their child and family;

l) Appropriately document activities provided to caregivers in either their individual individual records or program records.

m) Assist caregivers in identifying resources for specialty services such as DD/MR, adult children with special needs, medically fragile, etc.


4) The Family Support Specialist shall maintain a working knowledge of current trends and developments in the fields of mental health, co-occurring disorders, education/special education, child welfare regulations, child/adolescent development and basic wellness, CSoC and peer support services by:

a) Reading books, current journals, and other relevant material;

b) Developing and sharing strengths-based material with other Family Support Specialists;

c) Attending recognized seminars, workshops, and educational trainings.


5) The Family Support Specialist shall serve as a caregiver support agent by:

a) Providing and promoting effective family-based services (e.g. wraparound, Parents as Teachers, etc.);

b) Assisting caregivers in obtaining services that are responsive to each family’s individual needs and culture;

c) Assisting caregivers in becoming advocates for their child through knowledge, skills and confidence;

d) Assisting caregivers in developing problem-solving skills to respond effectively to child and/or family crises;

e) Fostering a sense of hope and resiliency in caregivers;

f) Sharing his or her unique perspective on caring for a child or youth with emotional, behavioral or cooccurring disorders with noncaregiver staff;

g) Assisting non-caregiver staff in identifying programs and environments that foster hope and resiliency and are family-driven and youth-guided in nature.