Youth Peer Support Director

Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Website Allegheny County Department of Human Services

We are seeking a visionary leader to be the Youth Peer Support Director of our Youth Support Partner (YSP) Unit. The YSP Unit is a peer-mentorship program for youth receiving services from the Department of Human Services (DHS), such as foster care. The YSP Unit hires alumni of child-serving systems and employs them as YSPs to work directly with youth. YSPs share their insights with youth currently in the system, advocate for them and mentor them. YSPs support youth in 5 core areas: youth engagement, team planning, healthy choices, life skills, and social connections. YSPs accomplish this through individual mentorship and group opportunities including: SITY (Systems Improvement Through Youth) youth advisory board, Opportunity Passport (financial literacy program), and We Rock (music production program). While YSPs are working with youth, the leadership team is responsible for developing the YSPs themselves to launch them into a successful career track after they leave the Unit. The Unit employs up to 35 Youth Support Partners and a large leadership team.

The candidate will serve as the internal and public-facing leader of the YSP Unit. For internal leadership, we are seeking a compassionate and courageous director who will set and maintain a culture of high expectations, who values growth and development, and who celebrates the identity of the young adults that comprise the unit. The candidate must understand how to support healing from trauma and how to foster equity and inclusion. We are seeking a leader who stays grounded in difficult situations, has a strong sense of their values, can be vulnerable when appropriate, will build trust with the team, has the stamina for emotionally intensive work, and will hold people accountable so they can reach their full potential. The candidate must be strengths-based and have the skills to build a healthy team culture while setting a vision for the YSP Unit. For external leadership, we are seeking a candidate who is skilled at building partnerships with other organizations and can represent the YSP Unit nationally to other jurisdictions and/or funders.

Candidates must have personal experience (self or close family) with the human services system (experience such as being in foster care, experiencing housing instability and/or food insecurity, recovering from behavioral health challenges, or justice system involvement). Responsibilities will include:

  • Embodying the vision of the unit: “We will be positive role models who support, empower and motivate youth, families and other professionals by using our experiences as a guide.”
  • Managing the overall direction of the Youth Support Partner unit and leading the strategic planning for the YSP Unit.
  • Supervising a 6-person management team that is collectively responsible for the development, well-being, and success of the unit.
  • Demonstrating deep respect for the lived experience of the YSPs; ensures that “youth voice” is heard in all aspects of governance, planning, development, implementation, evaluation and the provision of services.
  • Helping with the formulation of and overseeing evaluation and outcome measures across the YSP Unit and its many efforts.
  • Consistently advocating and embracing the YSP Unit’s mission and guiding principles.
  • Acting as a liaison between the Youth Support Partner Unit and the administrators at DHS and other agencies; developing strategies for promoting the work of the unit and Allegheny County across the county, state and country.
  • Representing the Youth Support Partner unit both internally and externally; attending internal, external, local, state and federal meetings and conferences as a representative of this unit and DHS.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

This job will have direct supervisory responsibilities over 1 YSP Unit Office Manager, 1 Clinical and Wellness Manager, 1 Professional Development and Advancement Manager, 1 Senior Program Manager, and 1 Intake and Resource Manager.  The Senior Program Manager(s) supervise 6 Youth Support Partner Supervisors who supervise up to 35 Youth Support Partners.  Core responsibilities will include:

  • Establishing a shared vision among Leadership Staff for the goals and culture of the Unit.
  • Reinforcing a culture that celebrates both youth voice and accountability.
  • Working collaboratively with leadership team to address problems or challenges as they arise.
  • Developing and implementing regularly scheduled individual and group supervision and preparing, completing and signing staff performance evaluations.
  • Assigning deliverable job priorities and reviewing work produced for quality and efficiency.
  • Verifying staff time and attendance for accuracy and approving staff time, schedules (vacation, sick, personal and compensatory time) and travel requests.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated experience working with fostering teams, including working with youth and young adults in a respectful and engaging manner.
  • Knowledge and understanding that a strength-based approach to working with young adults is a key strategy for helping them be successful in the workplace.
  • Passion for working with young adults.
  • Demonstrated experience moving from a shared vision to successful implementation.
  • Ability to take one’s own life experiences to inform approaches to motivate and engage both staff and youth.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with and connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds in a culturally competent manner.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and high level of emotional intelligence.
  • Ability to build trust by communicating authentically and making consistent decisions.
  • Strong understanding of how institutional racism and other types of discrimination affect clients and staff.
  • Ability to establish internal and external relationships and collaborate with other organizations and individuals.
  • Ability to plan, organize and supervise the work of professionals and para-professionals.
  • Ability to communicate effectively through excellent oral, written, and presentation skills.
  • Ability to take the initiative and follow through.
  • Ability to hold oneself accountable, as well as the staff one supervises.
  • Ability to work at a high level of independence with minimal supervision and function with flexibility.

Education/Experience Requirements:

Master’s degree from an accredited college/university in social work, public policy, nonprofit management or a related field, plus 3 years of professional experience working with one or more of the child-serving systems and/or youth development, including 2 years of supervisory experience.
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university in social work, public policy, nonprofit management or a related field, plus 5 years of related experience, including 2 years of supervisory experience.
Any equivalent combination of education and experience that meets the required knowledge, skills and abilities.

In addition, Incumbent must have 1) personal experience (self or close family) with the human services system (experience such as being in foster care, experiencing housing instability and/or food insecurity, recovering from behavioral health challenges, or justice system involvement) and (2) the ability to positively and appropriately self-disclose regarding that experience.

Competitive salary, plus a comprehensive benefit plan offering health/dental/vision insurance, life insurance, pension plan and paid vacation/sick leave/holidays.

If hired for a position, candidates would work for Allegheny County, Department of Human Services and be employed by Diversified Care Management.

In accordance with the Allegheny County mandate effective August 9th, 2021 individuals being made conditional job offers with the county will have to be vaccinated from COVID-19 as a condition of employment, subject to applicable federal and state laws. The prospective employee will need to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 before beginning work. Please note you will be required to provide proof of full vaccination.

Fully vaccinated from COVID-19 is defined as:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

About Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS):

In Allegheny County, we appreciate people who think big, act boldly, and care about making a difference. You don’t have to be from here to feel at home, or to make your mark. With only 1.3 million people in the County, it’s small enough for motivated people to get things done. Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is a perfect place to get things done that directly affect people in need in a positive and lasting way. We help children grow up safer and healthier, older adults remain able to live independently, and neighborhoods to thrive. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of people in Allegheny County.

DHS is the largest agency in Allegheny County government, with a budget of nearly $1 billion. DHS serves over 200,000 people a year through services that include: Protecting children and youth from abuse and neglect and preventing future occurrences of maltreatment; improving child wellness through family support, home visiting, early intervention and in-home services; providing treatment for behavioral health issues such as substance use disorders and mental illness; managing the care of adults with intellectual disabilities; preventing unnecessary nursing home stays; and services that prevent homelessness and provide shelter and housing for families and individuals.

Why DHS?

  • It is innovative. Most recently, the national attention and awards we’ve gotten are for how DHS integrates data and uses them to improve the safety and well-being of children through tools that support front-line staff in making decisions (using predictive analytics).
  • DHS is diverse, but we strive to be even more inclusive. Our director has made it his top priority that DHS is “the kind of place where a diverse group of talented people want to come, grow, and do their best work.” This includes equity in hiring and advancement, as well as in unleashing the creativity and ideas of staff at every level of DHS.
  • It has strong, assertive leaders. We do not hire yes-people.

You can make a big impact here. We stand out as one of the best human services organizations in the country. But we need problem-solvers, innovators, and terrific leaders to make sure we are smart in how we use our funding so that we reach the people who most need our help to make their lives better.

“DHS strives to be the kind of place where a diverse mix of talented people want to come to grow and do their best work.”

-From the organization’s statement on Equity and Inclusion



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