Family Support Advocate

Apply now Job no: 499215
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 012102 - Human Sciences-Early Years Network
Location: Harrison County
Categories: Support Staff, Head Start Positions
Position Open Date:

Salary Grade/Minimum Salary:

12/Minimum:  $31,500

Department Profile:

Throughout its history, Mississippi State University-Extension (MSU-ES) has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to programs that directly impact young children and their families. In the past decade, MSU-ES has distinguished itself as Mississippi’s premier infrastructural support of high-quality early childhood education.

Area of Specialization:

MSU - Extension Head Start Programs, Harrison County

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

• Engage families as partners in their children’s healthy development and school readiness.
• Participate in outreach, recruitment, and attendance follow up activities to engage families
in our program; and to motivate their active participation
• Engage families in the Family Engagement Contract process in order to build relationships and shared accountability for promoting children’s development
• Individualize family engagement and relationship-building to be appropriate to families’
cultural context, as well as respectful of family circumstances.
• Engage families in individualized, in home and group experiences to enhance parent/child interactions that research shows foster school readiness through consistent family routines, positive guidance and discipline, experience rich home environments and literacy activities
• Utilize in-classroom time and home visits to build a deeper understanding of the
relationship between children’s development and their home environments; as well as to
model and coach families in positive parent/child interactions
• Engage all families in assigned Centers in conversations/workshops to help them
understand the potential impact of substance abuse, mental health issues and family
violence on children’s development

• Provide targeted support to our program’s most vulnerable families
• Implement a research-based Family Curriculum, Shine On, Families that extends our
classroom curriculum into the family's home, modeling high-quality adult-child interactions
teachers use in their classrooms for families around the four Family Life Practices. Focus
on Coordination and collaboration with education.
• Work with team members to utilize family self-assessment data to identify vulnerable
families, and to assure that families whose circumstances change throughout the year
receive additional support as needed
• Provide individualized, intensive home and center-based support to a caseload of
vulnerable families, including those who have experienced significant trauma, such as a
recent loss or family crisis, refugee circumstances, involvement with the Division of Child
Protection and Permanency, or those impacted by substance abuse, family violence or
mental health issues
• Arrange for families to participate in counseling or to receive treatment or other
interventions for mental health issues, substance abuse, child abuse, and neglect, and
domestic violence as needs are identified. When necessary, provide ongoing counseling
and support for families unable to access community resources
• Complete or arrange for additional screening/ assessment of high-risk behaviors when a
family member self discloses such behaviors or when a staff member has expressed a
• Coordinate with community-based providers as needed to conduct support groups for
families that are experiencing similar concerns or challenges, such as domestic violence
or kinship placement support groups

• Work with Head Start Services team members and outside community providers to
develop seamless systems of communication and coordinated care for vulnerable families
• Develop regular systems to share information with other Head Start services team
members, including other members of the family engagement team, early learning and
disabilities and health, and nutrition staff to assure that program provides coordinated
support and follow up to address identified family circumstances
• Develop working relationships with community partners that would include but not be
limited to agencies such as the local domestic violence, substance abuse, child welfare,
foster care, and immigration advocacy organizations. As deemed appropriate, work with
program leadership to develop Memorandum of Understandings with such agencies that
include: timely responses to our referrals for services, the ability of their staff to provide on-site services for our families, as well as other provisions that will eliminate barriers to
accessing treatment.
• Establish regular communications systems and case conferencing with community-based
service providers that have existing relationships with families on caseload, in order to
reduce duplication of services and enhance coordination of support
• Provide immediate crisis intervention for any Center Based family as needed who are in
need of critical support in order to help stabilize regardless of caseload assignment.

• Effectively manage workload and ensure accurate record-keeping and documentation
• Establish and maintain accurate records as deemed necessary in each child’s electronic
and hard copy file.
• Document efforts to assist families to identify their strengths, needs, and goals through
completion of Family Self Assessment, Family Partnership Agreement, and case notes.
• Record, monitor and follow up on referrals for support services.
• Submit reports as needed and requested, such as monthly summary tracking reports, etc.
• Assist in monitor and maintaining up to date PIR data.
• Participates in assigned meetings, events and training as required.

Non-Essential Duties:
• Performs any and all other duties as assigned. Required last nonessential duty bullet.

Minimum Qualifications:

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to carry out each essential duty in a satisfactory manner. The job specifications listed below are representative of the education and experience as well as the knowledge, skill and/or ability (KSAs) required. .
• Associate’s degree in Social Work, Human Services, Family Counseling or closely related
• Background and experience working with families of children 0-5 preferred
• Familiarity with assessment strategies for high-risk behaviors, including depression,
domestic violence, and substance abuse.
• Physical exam and background checks are required for this position.
• Travel required locally or long-distance up to 10% of the time for work-related meetings
and functions.
• Must have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Highly preferred Bachelor’s degree in a related field with at least 12 credits in Social Work, Human Services, and Family Counseling.
• Minimum of 2 years’ experience working in counseling/family support roles with vulnerable
• Bilingual in Spanish/ English preferred

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

• Ability to interact effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
• Ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing.
• Demonstrated computer literacy skills, using MS Office applications and other basic data
systems including internet navigation.
• Must be honest, dependable and able to meet deadlines.
• Self-motivated and able to work independently.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

Physical Requirements:
• Ability to sit most of the time with some bending and reaching.
• Ability to stand, walk, and bend periodically.
• Ability to engage in repetitive movement of wrists, hands, and fingers – typing and/or
• Ability to work frequently at close visual range (i.e. preparing and analyzing data and
figures, accounting, transcription, computer terminal, extensive reading).
• Ability to receive and respond to oral communication.
• Ability to exert up to 10 pounds of force to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects.

Work Environment:
• Work is generally performed in an office environment.
• Noise level in the work environment is moderate to occasionally loud (examples: business
office with computers and printers, light to moderate traffic, human voices).
• Standard office equipment generally used includes:
• Telephone
• Personal Computer (monitor, keyboard, and mouse) or Tablet
• Printer/Photocopy Machine
• Calculator
• Fax Machine
• May be required to operate a motor vehicle during the course of duties.

Instructions for Applying:

All applicants must apply online at by submitting: the completed online application, submit a cover letter, resume, three professional references and a current unofficial transcript (with social security numbers removed prior to submission).
An official transcript will be required if selected for employment.

Restricted Clause:

Contingent upon continued availability of funding.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

Advertised: Central Daylight Time
Applications close:

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