Career Opportunities with Illinois Action for Children

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Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant for Caregiver Connections - Southside

Department: Consultation Programs
Location: Chicago, IL

The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant (MHC) will provide ongoing, relationship based mental health consultation, technical assistance, and referral services to Early Care and Education (ECE) providers working with children ages birth to age 5 and their families within the communities served. The MHC will provide/facilitate pertinent training to ECE providers and others within the communities served, and on a statewide basis. The MHC will work proactively within their respective communities to improve and facilitate understanding and collaboration between the ECE field and the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health field, and to promote community understanding of and support for child and family mental health. Demonstrates an ability to apply trauma-informed principles and a racial equity and social justice lens; and integrates them into daily practice. Communicates effectively and promotes collaborative problem solving by demonstrating care and respect in considering the diverse experiences and perspectives of others.

This incumbent will be expected to promote and adhere to the workplace core capabilities of:  accountability, customer focus, continuous quality improvement (CQI), communication, competent people and clear priorities.  All work to be completed in accordance with organizational standards.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES                                                                                                                              

Consultation and Referral: Establish and maintain ongoing supportive relationships with childcare providers in communities we serve. A minimum of 200 on site contacts should be made per service year. Provide program level mental health consultation and technical assistance to childcare providers (both licensed and non-licensed) in communities we serve. Provide ongoing support for childcare staff to enhance interactions with the children and parents they serve. Assist ECE providers in designing setting based intervention strategies to enhance children’s social-emotional development and mitigate behavioral disruptions. Provide mental health consultation regarding particular children with mild social-emotional challenges, including administering of screening and assessment tools as warranted. Provide information to provider regarding community resources that might be helpful to the identified needs of the family and caregiver. Facilitate trauma-trauma informed collaborative relationships with providers which demonstrates care, respect, cultural competence and developmental sensitivity. Educate providers about the risk and protective factors associated with trauma/childhood adversity, healthy child development and assisting them with developing tools/strategies to strengthen development.

 Training: Facilitate delivery of training to the ECE community, either by providing the training directly or arranging for other competent trainers to do so. A minimum of 40 training hours should be provided per service year. Identify those training topics appropriate primarily for local presentation and those that lend themselves to broader audiences (such as State conferences) and facilitate either or both types of presentation as appropriate.

Record keeping:  Maintain all records as needed on a daily basis, including records necessary for program evaluation.  Assists in the gathering of data and preparation of reports required by regulatory agencies and/or necessary for program evaluation. 

Community Liaison: Represents the agency in a positive light to active and potential clients, referral and funding sources, and the general public. Utilizes community contacts to advocate for clients and to promote child and family well-being. The MHC will work proactively to improve and facilitate understanding and collaboration between the ECE field and the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health field. Demonstrates the ability to communicate and collaborate with children, families, professionals and communities to establish supportive relationships.  

Legal and Ethical Responsibilities: Complies with all pertinent state and federal laws, DHS and DCFS Rules and Procedures, COA standards, and Code of Ethics for Child Welfare Professionals.

Professional Development: Enhances professional competence through ongoing awareness of developments in the field of early childhood mental health and development.  Will participate in all mandatory trainings.

Quality Improvement: Contributes to quality improvement through active participation in Quality Improvement/ Utilization Review activities. 

EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE:

  1. Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Infant Mental Health, or related field.
  2. Knowledge of early childhood development, including an understanding of the concepts and dynamics underlying young children’s social-emotional development (such as attachment and separation), as well as an understanding of family dynamics and the importance of child-caregiver interaction.
  3. Experience in the Early Childhood Care and Education field, including an ability to be comfortable practicing in various early childhood settings, and to effectively integrate various appropriate mental health activities and philosophies.
  4. Ability to identify key signs, symptoms, impact and manifestations of trauma, disrupted attachment, and adversity in children and adults.
  5. Demonstrated knowledge of human development and how people can be affected by trauma, abuse, adversity and stress at various stages.
  6. Demonstrated understanding of how behaviors, including those that appear to be “problems” or symptoms often reflect trauma-related coping skills.  
  7. Willingness to work evening and weekend hours when necessary to meet the needs of the child care providers and families that we serve.
  8. Demonstrated competence in serving a culturally diverse population.  Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with a diverse workforce.
  9. Demonstrated skill in designing and implementing professional training and development programs.
  10. Willingness to examine personal beliefs about and experiences of trauma and childhood adversity and the impact these have on interactions with clients, colleagues, organizations and systems.
  11. Demonstrated knowledge of self-care strategies and ways to utilize when needed.
  12. Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills, including engaging presentation and public speaking skills. Demonstrates a communication style that is open, adaptable, reflective, engaging, honest, and culturally sensitive and eliminates the use of labels that stigmatize.
  13. Must travel for job responsibilities, including long distance driving; hold a valid driver’s license that has not been revoked or suspended within the past three years, and use of a personal vehicle with adequate insurance.
  14. Ability to collaborate with local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, and other partners in the DHS CCR&R system.
  15. Bilingual ( English-Spanish) preferred.

Locations:  

  • I/ECMHC assigned to Centers For New Horizons. (Southside)

$1,500 sign-on bonus ($500 - at hire and $1,000 at the end of 90 days, if employed by IAFC)   

IL Action for Children is EEO/M/F/V/D employer.

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