This is a position in the Integrated Assessment Program for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) under a contract with Northern Illinois University. The program involves conducting specialized clinical assessments of and interviews with children birth through 18 years of age, birth and foster parents and other significant adults in the lives of the children. The purpose of the program is to ensure that all clients entering into IDCFS custody receive an appropriate clinical assessment by a licensed mental health professional to identify any important behavioral, developmental, or mental health problems. This is not a position on the NIU campus. The Clinical Screener works throughout the state of Illinois, based on case assignment. A Clinical Screener must have a masters degree in a related field and a clinical license (LCSW, LCPC, Clinical Psychology) issued by the State of Illinois to engage in the function of an independent mental health practitioner. The person must have at least three years of clinical experience after receiving the license conducting specialized diagnostic clinical assessments, psychotherapy, or similar work. The primary function of the Clinical Screener is to independently conduct high level clinical forensic type assessments of human behavior and personality. The assessments will include developing a DSM-5 diagnostic impression, an assessment of violence potential as well as an assessment for capacity to parent. A Clinical Screener will provide diagnostic impressions as well as recommendations to address clinical findings. In addition, a Clinical Screener conducts specialized developmental assessments, which include the assessment for autism spectrum and other disorders of infancy and childhood. The Clinical Screener completes a specialized report of findings that will be presented in a court of law as part of the adjudication and determination of the permanency of the case. The work of the Clinical Screener is highly specialized and is conducted to meet federal and state mandated guidelines for families and individuals who are involved with state child welfare agencies.
Duties and Responsibilities (generally)
Conducts highly specialized trauma-focused assessments of individuals who are at high risk of serious harm toward others; the assessment provides a diagnostic impression (i.e., uses DSM-5 criteria) of their psychiatric state including their affect (i.e., symptoms of depression, mania, and anxiety), thought content (e.g., illogical, homicidal, or suicidal thoughts), and behaviors (e.g., impulsivity, withdrawn behaviors, agitation). Conducts early childhood developmental screenings and other assessments of severely abused and neglected infants, toddlers and pre-school age children (i.e., those who have experienced shaken baby, head trauma, unexplained broken bones, malnourishment, and sexual abuse) to develop a diagnostic impression of the presence of developmental disorders (autism spectrum disorder, developmental delay, attachment concerns, speech delay, fine and gross motor delay).
Conducts assessments of children and adolescents to determine significant psychiatric and behavior concerns (suicide, behavioral deterioration, assault, rape, homicide, PTSD, personality disorder, psychosis); these assessments are used to inform recommendations for treatment including the appropriate level of care (e.g., specialized foster care, residential treatment placements, psychiatric hospitalization). Uses clinical information to determine if an individual is a threat to significantly harm (assault, murder) another individual. 5%
Conducts diagnostic substance abuse assessments and makes a determination of the level of substance abuse intervention required.
Conducts parenting capacity evaluations and makes a determination of the types of parenting interventions that are necessary.
Conducts assessments of interpersonal violence in the home and makes appropriate recommendations for interventions, as needed. Integrates information from conducted assessments, case file, and documentation of other providers and writes forensic reports informed by Illinois statutes that are used by a Juvenile Court Judge to make a determination on the status of a DCFS family case (i.e., determination of whether parental rights will be terminated); these reports include the prognosis for being able to return a child to their family in a timely fashion (based on research in this area) and recommendations for services that should be provided to families in order to improve functioning, if there is a plan to return the children to the parents’ care. 25%
Completes clinical documentation and shares with appropriate entities and supervisors (e.g., Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths , Early Childhood assessment and screening tools, weekly case notes). Takes a leadership role in IDCFS clinical meetings (e.g., family meetings, report staffing, priority clinical staffing, CIPP meetings).
Minimum Required Qualifications for this position
Current Illinois LCSW, LCPC, Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
Must have Masters Degree from a related field.
Must have 3 years of clinical experience.
Must have a working knowledge of DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.
Must have knowledge of empirically supported clinical practice.
Must have knowledge of social, emotional and physical development across the lifespan.
Must possess the knowledge to make risk determinations of self-harm, or violence. Excellent written and verbal communication skills of clinical knowledge.
Education and Experience Preferred
Experience using diagnostic screening tools is preferred.
Experience independently determining DSM-5 diagnoses is preferred.
Experience conducting developmental screenings of infants and toddlers is preferred.
The ability to conduct mental health assessments in Spanish is preferred.
Certification or credentials to engage in clinical work with specialty populations (early childhood, CADC, sexual abuse assessment) is preferred.
Experience working with DCFS or a government agency providing mental health services is preferred.
The ability to conduct assessments in another language, in particular Spanish, is preferred.
Experience testifying in court is preferred.
Training or experience conducting psychological evaluations is preferred.