Health & Disabilities Advocate

Apply now Job no: 500582
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 012102 - Human Sciences- Head Start
Location: Harrison County
Categories: Support Staff, Head Start Positions
Position Open Date:

Position Function:

The Health and Disabilities Advocate (HDA) will work as a member of a team whose primary role is to engage families to partner with us to promote children’s healthy development and school readiness. In their specialized role, the Health and Disabilities Advocates are responsible for working with their team members and the Health and Nutrition Coordinators to assure that all children in their assigned Centers are up to date on EPSDT requirements, receive health follow up on acute and chronic conditions, and have medical and dental homes. They will also provide individualized support to a caseload of families whose children have chronic health and nutrition conditions and special needs. In this role, they will collaborate with Health and Nutrition Coordinators and Early Learning Disabilities Specialists/Disabilities/MH Coordinators to assist with family support, care coordination, goal setting and follow up to align home and school interventions and enhance families’ capacity to meet their children’s special needs.

This position has been established to strengthen our Head Start program’s ability to provide tailored, individualized support to a subset of families whose children’s health conditions and special needs often require enhanced knowledge and capacity to navigate community based medical, mental health and special education systems. In addition, the Health and Disabilities Advocates serve a critical coordinating function between service areas in our program by assuring that all staff have the information needed to support the children’s health and well-being.

Salary Grade:  12

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

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:

The Health/Disabilities Advocate’s responsibilities primarily fall within the following core functions, although s/he may perform other tasks as required by the program:
1. Promotes family environments that enhance children’s development
2. Assures EPSDT adherence
3. Supports families of children with chronic health conditions or special needs
4. Supports families to meet self-identified goals
5. Enhances program collaboration
6. Maintains internal and external service coordination
7. Maintains accurate and timely record keeping and reporting

Minimum Qualifications:

• Associate’s degree in mental/health disabilities, special education, child development or early
childhood education or closely related field.
• Commitment to complete family services/certificate/credential within 2 years of hire.
• Required to travel locally or long-distance 10% of the time for work-related meetings and other functions.
• Must have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation.
• Physical exam and background checks are required for this position.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Bachelor’s Degree in public health, social work, human services, family services, counseling or related field.
• Licensed or certified as mental health professional
• Prior experience working in mental health
• Prior experience working with low-income families
• Bilingual in Spanish/English preferred

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Knowledge of Head Start Performance Standards and MS Child Care Licensing
Knowledge of family-strengths and/or family-centered practices

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

Able to lift a child weighing 40 pounds, 20 times a day if needed.
This position will be inside and outside supervising children as weather permits as well as monitoring children on bus routes. Due to the primary work with young children, some exposure to communicable disease is likely.
Moderate to loud noise levels.
Occasional evening and weekend work required

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:

Position is contingent upon funding availability. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable 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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