The Family Support Specialist (FSS) brings a key family perspective to clinical teams providing Integrated Child Mental Health and Pediatric Care (ICMH-PC). In that context, they can help "translate" between the professional culture and the family's culture, building trust and facilitating critical information sharing. That two-way process, clarifying communication about symptoms, diagnoses and treatment planning, enhances engagement between parents and clinicians, so that children and youth are more likely to receive needed mental health services.
Identify support services for children and families based on the ICMH-PC team's evaluation of the child's needs
Conduct home visits, when appropriate, to supplement office-based assessment; or to facilitate contact with home-bound caregivers and clarify any additional needs, such as parenting education, or discuss potential referrals for other services related to their child's mental health
Coordinate resource information and service recommendations with the integrated clinical team, including the PCP, the Child Mental Health specialist, Nursing staff and the Social Case Worker for the clinic
Provide emotional support (under clinical supervision), to families in crisis and assist with urgent access to clinical care
Attend regular meetings with physicians and other staff at the clinic, to hear their concerns on behalf of families who may have missed an appointment, not connected with a referral or who are otherwise at-risk
Assist with parent communication during Initial Child Mental Health Consultation visits at Pediatric Clinic, as well as any follow-up episodes; including identification of areas of disagreement or confusion on the part of the family
Follow-up with identified families, either at the clinic or in their homes, at the request of the clinical team, regarding the child's mental health status or treatment needs
Bring new information back to the ICMH-PC team (and document in the EMR) so that the plan can be clarified or changed to better fit the family's needs, or other steps taken to improve family engagement.
Experience as a parent or caregiver of a child with special health care needs -- important for other parents to know the FSS person has "been there," and "can understand what families go through"
Prior experience advocating for families beside their own, learning when and how to share their own stories as examples, and how to collaborate with clinicians and/or other professionals
Ability to represent "family voice" on the clinical team when interventions are being discussed, but, also, at a leadership level, if asked. For example, capacity to represent the family perspective regarding such things as development of useful resource materials for clinic families, or strategies for health promotion in the community
Positive interpersonal presence as a team member
Bi-cultural and bi-lingual Spanish-speaker needed for the population being served
Strong oral and written communication skills
Computer literacy (email, data entry, electronic medical record notes and billing)