Milieu Counselor, Congregate Care

TITLE: Milieu Counselor
DIVISION: Congregate Care
PROGRAM: Congregate Care
REPORTS TO: House Manager / Program Supervisor
HOURS: Variable; full-time or part-time positions
REVISION DATE: April 25, 2014

PURPOSE: The Milieu Counselor(s) are members of the congregate care team and work with youth in CFCS’s group home programs for transition age youth (16-22) at either the Malden or Dorchester location. The program assists youth referred by the Department of Children and Family or the Department of Mental Health to increase their self-sufficiency and independent living skill development. The Program support youth to:

• Develop skills and abilities needed to be productive members of residential program;
• Develop skills and abilities needed to live independently;
• Establish and promote lifelong connections;
• Establish and achieve educational and vocational goals; and
• Successfully transition to adulthood.

Milieu Counselors are responsible for providing a safe and healthy environment, and welcoming atmosphere, while ensuring the safety of the residents. They would be required to report any runaways or disturbances to the Agency’s on-call staff. This position is responsible for reminding residents of their daily schedules, providing supportive and crisis intervention counseling. Milieu Counselors are expected to be strong role models for the adolescents we serve and have the ability to develop positive relationships with our youth.

• Providing supervision to the milieu, documenting all activities within the milieu and on program sponsored outside activities, following all protocol.
• Provide supportive counseling and crisis intervention services to residents as needed.
• Maintain shift coverage and primary supervision and support of residential clients.
• Assist the Case Manager/House Manager/Program Supervisor with monitoring the residents’ compliance with daily expectations as outlined in the Program Expectations re: chores, curfews, etc.
• Set and contribute to a safe, dignified, orderly atmosphere by enforcing program rules, policies, and procedures as well as through observing stated agency policy.
• Assist the Case Manager in monitoring resident’s compliance with service plan tasks and goals.
• Act as a role model - guiding clients and facilitating appropriate behavior about daily living skills, self-care, personal interaction, social relationships and constructive time management.
• Coordinate social activities for residents.
• Maintain the programs daily logbook. Ensure residents daily activities, issues or problems are recorded.
• Maintain residents’ case records in accordance with program guidelines.
• If MAP certified, ensure all medications are administered and recorded in medical log.
• Provide vocational and educational counseling and training whenever necessary.
• Assist residents with completing school assignments whenever necessary.
• Attend weekly staff meetings.
• Facilitate informal group discussions with residents on a regular basis in order to establish a basis for communication about house issues, maintenance, schedules, and other program matters.
• Conduct regular rounds of the facility and interact with participants to share information, provide supplies, conduct intakes, and facilitate interventions as necessary. Rounds include the interior (client living quarters, bathrooms, community rooms) and exterior of the building;
• Maintain appropriate professional boundaries with clients and staff; Respond to client requests in a professional and courteous manner; Observe and adhere to client confidentiality standards.
• Ensure the safety of participants by limiting access to facility to participants, staff, and authorized visitors and service providers; help to ensure adequate health and safety standards are maintained throughout the facility.
• Perform daily maintenance, cleaning and kitchen duties (assist in preparing bedrooms for incoming residents, cleaning and maintaining the kitchen and dining areas, daily upkeep and cleaning of common areas and office areas); Assist with serving resident meals as needed.
• Assist in maintaining positive community relations.
• Respond appropriately to emergencies including contacting appropriate staff, interacting with police, fire, and medical personnel as needed. Contact on call agency worker in all emergency situations in accordance with program guidelines.
• Maintain and promote the cooperative, harmonious, teamwork environment CFCS strives to promote within the workplace; Maintain and promote an atmosphere of dignity and respect in line with the philosophy and policies of Cambridge Family and Children’s Services.
• Interact with other team members to assure communication, consistency and teamwork among staff.
• Provide reception duties in a professional and courteous manner; relay timely and accurate messages. Provide information upon request about available services offered.
• Complete designated shift-specific tasks.
• Other duties as assigned.
Duties and responsibilities are carried out in conformance with relevant Competences (attached).
• High school diploma or equivalent; Associate Degree in Child Development preferred.
• 2-3 years of experience working with families and children preferable in a residential setting.
• MAP (MA Medication Administration Program) certified or the ability to obtain it within 3 months of hire for part-time employees working more than 22.5 hours per week. Those regularly working less than 22.5 hours per week would not be required, but highly encouraged, to obtain their MAP certification.
• Demonstrated ability to engage families and youth who are struggling with some challenging behaviors.
• Ability to read and write English and to document and to update case records and logs proficiently.
• First Aid/CPR certified or the ability to obtain it within 1 month of hire.
• Ability to work with high-risk youth and diverse staff, clients, and volunteers.
• Flexibility with a team player mentality; ability to work with minimal to moderate supervision; an extreme focus on good judgment with a proactive approach to problem-solving.
• Ability to maintain a professional demeanor with great interpersonal and communication skills.
Other requirements:
• Valid driver’s license
• Clearance of CORI and SORI background checks as required by state and federal law.

COMPETENCIES FOR MILIEU COUNSELOR: The following is a summary list of competencies required for this position. Detailed listing of the attitudes, knowledge and skills involved can be found in the full Competency document.

LEADERSHIP: Demonstrates:

1. Ability to develop productive, respectful and empathic relationships

2. Understanding of legal and ethical principles that govern practice.

ORGANIZATION: Demonstrates:

3. Ability to manage own workload.

4. Ability to anticipate and avoid or mitigate crises to reduce risk and disruptions arising from crises.

5. Understanding of and applies conflict resolution principles and process to promote consensual agreement.

6. Ability to actively pursue improvement of own skill, knowledge and abilities.


7. Understanding of process and elements needed to engage families and children in assessing strengths and needs, planning and providing service, reaching service goals, and concluding service provision.

8. Understanding of evidence-based and best practices.

9. Understanding of importance of existing family relationships to children and acts to support such relationships.

10. Understanding of importance of permanent and long-term nurturing relationships for children and youth.

11. Thorough knowledge of child and youth development, and applies knowledge in conclusions and decisions which might influence a child’s or youth’s course of development.

12. Understanding of medical and educational needs of children and applies that knowledge in conclusions and decisions about a child’s care.

13. Understanding of family dynamics, and can explore family dynamics to discover family strengths and needs, surface assumptions of and about the family, and tailor services respond directly to family requirements.

14. Understanding of importance of planning for adulthood and independent living for youth in foster care, and acts to ensure such planning occurs.

ENHANCED COMPETENCIES: Knowledge, attitudes and skills not required at hiring, but expected to be acquired on the job, and that will enhance performance.

15. Ability to promote agency values and goals and exert influence within the program, agency, with public and private partners and in the community.

16. Understanding of role of culture in provision of service, including effects of stereotypes, biases and prejudices and assists staff in exploring their own stereotypes, biases and prejudices.

17. Understanding of licensing and contractual compliance.

18. Ability to gather and use information and data to for case planning and decision making.

19. Understanding of accurate and complete documentation and record keeping.

20. Understanding of laws governing CFCS practice, including statute, regulation and case law.

21. Understanding of system of public and private agencies involved in services CFCS provides.

22. Understanding of trauma, prevalence of trauma in population served, and elements of trauma-informed interventions

23. Understanding of case management as a comprehensive role including needs assessment, planning, linkage, monitoring, and advocacy.