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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 351O
Category: Social Services


This is the entry level in-training classification for the professional social services series. Performs intakes, assessments, and/or investigations of abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, personal exploitation or self-neglect of vulnerable adults or abuse and neglect of children. Clients served are children and/or families in which risk of child abuse or neglect are minimal or adults with disabilities resulting from varying degrees of incapacity, or vocational, social, cultural or health impairments that hinder economic or residential independence.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Incumbents receive extensive and advanced level on-and off-site structured training related to assessments, community placement, information and referral, medical treatment, vocational training, risk assessment, protective services, and/or licensing activities. In the first six months, cases are not assigned to this classification. When cases are assigned, they are pre-screened, closely supervised, and limited in number and complexity. As a component of their training program, incumbents shall assist professional level staff with cases that will enable them to experience a full range of specific service functions. Employees remain in this classification for up to 18 months and then automatically promote to the Social Service Specialist.

Typical Work

Performs the full range of specific service functions, such as: interviewing children, parents, adults and others; case assessment, formulation and implementation of service plans; legal intervention;  

Performs investigations and risk assessments of vulnerable adults, including; abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and self-neglect in the community and in licensed and certified settings;

Participates in staff conferences and required in-service training that is program area specific, department wide, or between agencies;  

Participates in in-house case staffings;  

Participates in multidisciplinary team/multi-agency staffings;  

Studies and applies principles and techniques of casework and investigations;  

Interviews families/individuals for basic information relating to social history;  

Identifies economic, social, cultural, physical, and environmental factors which support or limit family or individual functioning; 

Implements and monitors appropriate service objectives or treatment ­and care plans;  

Coordinates with appropriate intra- and inter-agency organizations to meet service goals or treatment ­and care plan objectives;  

Identifies needs requiring services and enables clients to resolve needs through referral to appropriate resources;  

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

Develops and maintains case records relative to client needs, and steps taken to alleviate those needs utilizing prescribed agency forms and reports;  

Performs other related work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of:  goals and objectives of services to adults and children; social services related to children or adults; laws, rules and regulations in the field of child and adult welfare; social casework principles and practices; social and economic conditions which affect the work of a public social service agency; interviewing techniques; social problems which call for the use of public and private community resources; principles of individual and social development, vocational counseling, and psychology; medical terminology and services; job training and educational resources; community resources.  

Ability to:  learn and act upon new information; work cooperatively with individuals and groups and be able to coordinate service plans with other social service agencies; exercise mature and sound judgment in problem solving and the decision making process; organize own work; present material effectively in written and oral form; properly and accurately document activities, paper flow;

Identify economic, social, cultural, physical and environmental factors which support or limit family or individual functioning; learn and apply principles of psycho-social 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

A Bachelor's degree or higher in social services, human services, behavioral sciences, criminal law/justice, or an allied field.

Note:  Employees must successfully complete the formal training course sponsored by their division within eighteen months of their appointment. 

Equivalent education/experience.

Class Specification History

New class:  8-1-88
Revised minimum qualifications:  1-12-90
Revised minimum qualifications:  6-15-90
Revised new class code:  (formerly 35200) effective July 1, 2007
Revised title (formerly Social Worker 1), definition, and distinguishing characteristics; adopted August 11, 2011, effective January 2, 2012. 
Revised legal requirements and desirable qualifications effective January 1, 2014.
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, desirable qualifications, and salary adjustment adopted June 30, 2017 and effective July 1, 2017; previously range 41.
Base range salary adjustment adopted 5/17/2018, effective 7/1/2018.
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work, knowledge, abilities, and desirable qualifications; adopted June 13, 2019; effective July 1, 2019.