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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 351Q
Category: Social Services


Functions as a lead worker or sole case manager in a remote location.


Performs advanced level specialized case management in high profile or complex cases involving children or vulnerable adults.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Positions that serve as a lead worker or sole case manager in a remote location are responsible for the full scope of social services provided in that location.


Positions that perform advanced level specialized case management are responsible for intake, assessment and investigating allegations of child abuse, and neglect or abandonment, financial exploitation, personal exploitation, and self-neglect of children or vulnerable adults in the community. Positions are also responsible for investigating high-profile licensed and certified settings where any of the above types of allegations have been reported.

Typical Work

Conducts investigations into allegations of abandonment, abuse neglect, personal exploitation, financial exploitation, self-neglect of vulnerable individuals within the community and licensed certified settings;

Ongoing case management to individuals at high risk of institutionalization or to those adults whose need for case management is part of a service plan developed following an adult protective service investigation;

Conducts comprehensive assessments, develops an initial or ongoing plan of care and authorizes services;

Prepares case file documentation and/or reports;

Consults with and makes referrals to appropriate law enforcement agencies and other social services agencies;

Provides training and consultation to community agency personnel and community groups;

Provides transportation for clients;

Serves as program liaison between the agency and community social service, educational, law enforcement, medical, and judicial agencies;

Evaluates complaint information and determines degree of risk (e.g., information only; low, moderate, or high risk of abuse and/or neglect);

Evaluates complaint information and determines need for emergent response;

Processes complaints, or refers the emergency to the appropriate direct service unit;

Conducts decision-making assessments and refers victims for capacity determinations to psychological/psychiatric, and/or medical evaluations;

Investigates complaints of abuse, neglect or failure to comply with licensing regulations;

Testifies as a State’s witness and gives legal dispositions at administrative hearings, Board of Appeals, civil case and superior court hearings;

Participates in case staffings; multidisciplinary team/multi-agency staffings; and coordinates with intra- and inter-agency organizations;

Explains department policies and provisions of the law to facility providers, families, individuals, and members of the community;

Provide assessment, casework and service planning for individuals who are missing from care;

Approves or denies applications to license or relicense day or foster care homes;

Recruits and licenses adult family homes, provides initial and ongoing training to licensees and social work staff; monitors for contract compliance; investigates complaints of abuse, neglect or failure to comply with licensing regulations;

Processes applications/reapplications for foster care and day care homes;

Interviews applicants for basic information related to minimum licensing requirements;

Maintains case records and required forms and reports in prescribed agency format;

Performs on-site inspections of applicant's home to assess compliance with minimum licensing requirements;

Provides recruitment, orientation, and training for applicants and/or providers of foster and day care homes;

Provides foster and day care home providers support services such as counseling, problem resolution, guidance, referrals to community resource advocacy and mediation;

Approves or denies applications to license or relicense day or foster care homes;

Prepares documentation for licensing denials, suspensions and revocations;

Conducts investigation of minimum licensing requirement violations and/or cooperates in the investigation of alleged abuse and/or neglect within a day care or foster home and provides follow-up on the plan of correction;

In consultation with agency attorney, prepares and documents cases for court proceedings; prepares and presents written and oral testimony for court proceedings;

Provides case management services to facilitate out-of-home placements; reviews Provide assessment, casework and service planning for youth who are missing from care;

Develops unique search strategies for individual youth;

Act as a resource to youth and social service specialist in locating services to address the youth’s needs after a run episode, stabilizing the youth in care and/or to provide support to prevent future runs;

Provides training, mentoring, feedback and consultation to Social Service Specialist staff who conduct work in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD), or Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) Referral program areas;

In conjunction with the supervisor, may assign and audits work, detects error trends, identifies training needs and reviews case actions for accuracy;

Provides full scope of case management services in remote locations;

May provide supervisory coverage, as needed, both in-person and remotely;

May provide regional social service coverage, as needed, both in-person and remotely;

In conjunction with the supervisor, may assist with hiring, developing training plans, prioritizing and assigning work, managing caseload assignments, and facilitating ongoing process improvement efforts.

Provides assistance with coverage of assigned caseloads in the absence of a Social Service Specialist;

Assists individuals on TANF, ABD, or HEN;

Performs other duties as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: social casework principles and practices; parenting-skill enhancement content, and teaching and training methods for both natural parents and foster parents; risk assessment and decision making; gerontology; residential and in-home care; interviewing techniques; role of expert representative in both court proceedings and multidisciplinary team service delivery; principles of child development; concepts of group work and group dynamics as applied to family counseling and multidisciplinary team approach to service delivery; current literature on child welfare practices; concepts of community organization as applied to the development of community resources; principles of individual and social development, vocational counseling, psychology, and applicable Federal and State laws, medical terminology and services; job training and educational resources; community resources.

Ability to: work cooperatively with groups and individuals; organize and prioritize own work; manage a large caseload in an efficient and effective manner; assist other workers to develop and implement effective techniques for caseload management; present material effectively in written and oral form; develop and implement casework plans to remove medical and employment barriers for socially and economically disadvantaged clients; identify economic, cultural, physical, and environmental factors which support or limit family or individual functioning; work independently and make decisions around program issues; apply principles and techniques of psychosocial casework.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

One year as a Social Service Specialist 2.


A Master's degree in social services, human services, behavioral sciences, criminal law/justice or an allied field and one years of paid social service experience equivalent to a Social Service Specialist 2.


A Bachelor's degree in social services, human services, behavioral sciences, criminal law/justice or an allied field, and two years of paid social service experience performing functions equivalent to a Social Service Specialist 2.

NOTE: A two year Master's degree in one of the above fields that included a practicum will be substituted for one year of paid social service experience.

NOTE: Employees must successfully complete the formal training course sponsored by their division within one year of their appointment.

Class Specification History

New class: 8-1-88
Revises minimum qualifications: 10-14-88 (emergency basis; permanent basis 12-9-88)
Revises minimum qualifications: 1-12-90
Revised minimum qualifications: 6-15-90
New class code: (formerly 35220) effective July 1, 2007
Revised title (formerly Social Worker 3), definition, and distinguishing characteristics; adopted August 11, 2011, effective January 2, 2012.
Revised legal requirement and desirable qualifications effective January 1, 2014.
Revised salary range, definition, distinguishing characteristics and typical work; adopted June 30, 2017; effective July 1, 2017.
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work and desirable qualifications; adopted June 13, 2019; effective July 1, 2019.
Revised desirable qualifications; effective March 25, 2020.