The Office of the Child, Youth, and Family Advocate is seeking its first Deputy Director. This newly established office promotes and advocates for the welfare of children and youth involved in the child protection system, the juvenile justice system, and those who receive services directly from, or through funds provided by, the Vermont Department for Children and Families. The Office is independent but situated in State government. This position provides an exciting opportunity to improve child, youth, and family well-being on both individual and systemic levels, with particular attention to eliminating disparate outcomes. The Deputy Advocate will be the second Office employee and will work closely with the Advocate daily.
This position may offer a combination of in person and remote work. This position may be stationed in various parts of the state, based upon the location of the successful finalist. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply.
• Receive and review complaints concerning the actions of the Department and of any entity that provides services to children, youth, and families through funds provided by the Department; collaborate with the Advocate to make appropriate referrals; and respond to those complaints where the Advocate determines that a child, youth, or family may be in need of assistance from the Office;
• Work in collaboration with diverse constituencies to strengthen services for children, youth, and families;
• Support children, youth, and families by providing information about service recipients’ rights and responsibilities;
• Assist the Advocate in providing systemic information concerning child, youth, and family welfare to the public, the Governor, State agencies, legislators, and others, as necessary;
• Analyze and monitor the development and implementation of federal, State, and local laws; regulations; and policies relating to child, youth, and family welfare and recommend changes;
• Support the annual submission to the General Assembly and the Governor of a substantial report containing both qualitative and quantitative outcomes and recommendations, including:
o (A) the conditions of placements for Vermont’s children and youth;
o (B) findings related to services for and assistance to children, youth, and families within the child protection and juvenile justice systems;
o (C) recommendations related to improving services for children, youth, and families; and
o (D) data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, disability status, and any other categories that the Advocate deems necessary.
The Office of the Advocate works in collaboration with the legislative Oversight Commission on Children, Youth, and Families and consults regularly with an Advisory Council. The Advisory Council’s membership reflects the growing diversity of Vermont’s children and families, including individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color, as well as with regard to socioeconomic status, geographic location, gender, sexual identity, and disability status. In collaboration, the Office will work to strengthen services for children, youth, and families in Vermont. The Deputy Advocate serves as the acting Child, Youth, and Family Advocate upon any vacancy in the position of the Advocate, and until such time as a replacement is appointed and confirmed, and in those circumstances the Deputy has the full responsibilities of the Advocate and the same compensation as the previous Advocate.
Starting salary is estimated to be between $60k and $80k, depending on experience and qualifications, plus excellent benefits.
The successful candidate will be qualified based on reason of education, expertise, and experience, and may have a professional degree in law, social work, public health, or a related field. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply.
• Experience working with a high-volume caseload and triaging constantly changing priorities.
• Experience working with those who are actively experiencing toxic stress.
• Commitment to racial and social justice.
• Understanding of child-development and accepting and non-punitive approach to children, youth, and families.
• Knowledge relevant to addressing social and racial inequities and adverse childhood experiences of children, youth, and families in Vermont’s child protection system.
• Ability to work with many stakeholders including children, youth, families, foster families, kinship families, DCF workers, service providers, GALS, and state employees.
• Willingness to travel across the state and beyond.
• Experience with public speaking and media interactions.
Equal Opportunity Statement
The State of Vermont celebrates diversity, and is committed to providing an environment of mutual respect and meaningful inclusion that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. The State does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion or belief, national, social or ethnic origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, physical, mental or sensory disability, HIV Status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, past or present military service, membership in an employee organization, family medical history or genetic information, or family or parental status. The State’s employment decisions are merit-based. Retaliatory adverse employment actions by the State are forbidden.
The child welfare, juvenile justice, and children’s mental health systems disproportionately target BIPOC children, youth, and families. Vermont’s outcomes are especially poor given the state’s resources. This Office is deeply committed to addressing these systemic and historical problems, both externally in its approach to policy, and internally in its power-sharing structures and commitment to diversity of identity, strategy, and thought. The Deputy Advocate will have the opportunity to shape their position according to their own vision and skills, with access to many of the corridors of power necessary to create lasting positive change for BIPOC children, youth, and families.