Kinship Navigator - (Social Services Specialist III)

  • Fairfax County Government
  • Fairfax, VA
  • Dec 19, 2023
Full time Nonprofit-Social Services

Job Description

This position includes a signing bonus of $2,500 (full-time) for new county hires.
Are you a champion for kinship placements? Have you been told you have excellent engagement and assessment skills? Do you enjoy a bit of detective work? The Division of Children, Youth and Families (CYF) of the Department of Family Services (DFS) is seeking a Kinship Navigator (Social Services Specialist III) to connect and work directly with kinship caregivers of children at risk of separation or who have already entered the child welfare system. Learn more about the culture of DFS, meet our director and some of our employees, watch videos about our programs, and check out the great health benefits offered by Fairfax County.

Grow your career with Fairfax County!
With more than 16,000 employees, Fairfax County is a diverse workforce offering employees stimulating and challenging opportunities across a broad scope of career opportunities. As a Fairfax County employee, you impact the well-being of our community every day.

This is an exciting time to join Fairfax County Government as we shape racial and social equity policies in the county through the One Fairfax Policy. Using this framework, we intentionally consider equity when making policies or delivering programs and services. To learn more, we highly encourage you to watch the Becoming One Fairfax—An Introduction to Key Concepts video and visit the One Fairfax webpage here.

The Department of Family Services (DFS) is committed to strengthening the well-being of its diverse community by protecting and improving the lives of all children, adults, and families through assistance, partnership, advocacy, outreach, and quality services. To learn more about DFS and its Mission, Vision, and Values, please click here.

The Kinship Navigator is a member of the Permanency Unit under the Foster Care and Adoption (FC&A) Resource and Support Program. Under general supervision of the Social Services Supervisor, performs tasks independently to protect children and build family resilience as articulated by local, state, and federal policies and laws. Working hour is Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., however, evening, overnight, weekend, and holiday hours will be required.

Duties and responsibilities include the following:

  • Connects with Spanish speaking potential kinship caregivers by phone or in person early in the family finding process
  • Engages with kinship caregivers identified through Family Finding to explore placement options
  • Provides information to kinship caregivers considering becoming certified as resource parents
  • Supports the kinship caregivers with the emergency foster home approval process to include completion of the mutual family assessment
  • Visits kinship caregivers in their homes
  • Uses automated technology in multiple systems to maintain client data, case records, and correspondence
  • Assesses and evaluates the potential kinship caregivers and provides information and resources
  • Collaborates with social services specialists within the Division of CYF to provide services to kinship caregivers and their families
  • Participates in kinship practice improvement teams within CYF and within the community
  • Provides support and resources to Fairfax County residents through responding to calls on the Kinship Resource Line
  • Works collaboratively with CYF Quality Assurance staff to evaluate kinship services and promote positive outcomes for kinship families
  • Provides supervisory support to staff during the absence of the unit supervisor
  • Perform other duties as assigned to ensure child safety and improve outcomes in families and improve outcomes in families

Illustrative Duties

(The illustrative duties listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list. A complete list of position duties and unique physical requirements can be found in the position job description.)

Contributes to the development of protocols, policies, procedures, grants and contracts for a social services program, department, and other entities;
Assists the supervisor in planning and carrying out training for new staff, providing guidance to staff. May directly supervise staff, and covers for the supervisor in their absence;
Serves as a policy expert in an area of social work specialization;
Conducts comprehensive clinical assessments and prepares and implements service plans;
Works with clients to develop a plan of service to meet social, health, emotional and economic needs. With the client, formulates objectives and identifies actions to resolve the clients' problems;
Conducts home visits to families for the purpose of monitoring, counseling and supervision;
Provides crisis intervention on a timely basis to clients or families whose well being is seriously and immediately threatened, to include Child Protective Services after-hours;
Conducts mediation services to families in conflict;
Investigates allegations of abuse and neglect of children, elderly persons and incapacitated adults who live in the community and institutional facilities;
Makes assessment of risks posed to clients in accordance with state and local policies, and works to ensure risks are eliminated or minimized;
Evaluates child's readiness for placement and recommends placement, ensuring compliance with legal provisions;
Evaluates and trains foster and adoptive parents;
Works with the community to identify families, children and individuals needing services and to coordinate these services using a wrap-around approach;
Advocates and assists families and individuals in obtaining services (e.g., mental health, intellectual disability, alcohol and drug, housing referrals, home based services, training and medical services);
Communicates and works with colleagues, clients and the community in a manner that supports the agency and program goals and objectives;
Participates as a contributing member on interagency, multi-disciplinary teams, community groups and professional organizations;
Collaborates and contributes to child specific teams on non-agency cases as assigned to assist in identifying community resources and services for families;
Assesses eligibility for foster care protect/prevent funds;
Participates, collaborates and contributes to Comprehensive Services Act activities for families on caseload;
Provides training and education on a variety of social work topics;
Uses automated technology and hard copy files to maintain and update case data, notes, documents, records, contacts and summaries of information;
Manages and maintains program data and outcomes.

Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities

(The knowledge, skills and abilities listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list.)

Thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of social work;
Thorough knowledge of current social service problems and methods/approaches to address issues;
Thorough knowledge of regulations and guidelines relating to the assigned area of social service specialization;
Knowledge of casework supervision practices and procedures;
Ability to analyze case information and to reach sound decisions on the basis of such information;
Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing;
Ability to use automated technology to establish and maintain case records;
Ability to maintain professional ethics and confidentiality of client information;
Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a variety of individuals.;
Ability to schedule and manage workload sufficiently to meet deadlines;
Ability to provide guidance, direction, supervision and coaching to less-experienced staff;
Ability to provide management and oversight of a program or project.

Employment Standards

Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor's degree, plus three years of professional social work experience. A master's degree in a related field may be substituted for one year of the required experience.

Contingent upon the area of assignment, some positions within this class may require specific certification(s) prior to employment and/or the ability to acquire necessary certification(s) within a specified time period following employment. The certifications are identified in the position description and employment advertisement.

Valid driver's license.

The appointee to this position will be required to complete a criminal background, a driving record check, and a Child Protective Services check to the satisfaction of the employer.


  • Master's degree in social work (MSW) or a related human services degree
  • Knowledge of kinship practices and experience working with kinship families
  • At least four (4) years of work experience in Child Welfare
  • Experience working with individuals and families from diverse multi-cultural populations and facilitating community outreach.
  • Spanish Speaking

Sufficiently mobile to attend home visits, court, meetings, and community events outside the office. Ability to use automated technology. Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing. Work requires performing tasks with risks of secondary traumatic stress (STS). Ability to navigate through and make decisions in stressful and crisis situations. All duties performed with or without reasonable accommodations.

Panel interview and may include a practical exercise.

The population of Fairfax County is very diverse where 39.8% of residents speak a language other than English at home (Spanish, Asian/Pacific Islander, Indo-European, and others) and we encourage candidates bilingual in English and a foreign language to apply to this opportunity.

Fairfax County Government prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetics, political affiliation, or military status in the recruitment, selection, and hiring of its workforce.

Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 703-324-4900 for assistance. TTY 703-222-7314. EEO/AA/TTY.


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