Primary Therapist – The House of Good Shepherd


Utica, NY

Title:               Primary Therapist-Exempt

Reports to:     Clinical Manager

Department:   Foster Care and Residential Programs

Position ID:    Multiple codes based on program

Basic Function/Overall Responsibilities: Ensure the development and implementation of an individualized, trauma informed and holistic treatment plan for all children on assigned caseload, maximizing participation of the child and key family members. Provide clinical and Case Management services specific to the child and family’s needs to accomplish identified discharge/reunification outcomes.

Principal Assigned Responsibilities:

  1. Provide initial and ongoing assessments of children and their families receiving services from assigned programs.
  2. Participate as the lead clinical member of the inter-disciplinary treatment team specific to each child on assigned caseload. Ensure the development and implementation of a comprehensive, individualized and discharge/reunification focused treatment plan, utilizing a strength-based approach. Monitor implementation of treatment plans and revise as necessary.
  1. Provide individual, family and /or group therapy for children and families as prescribed on individualized treatment plans.
  2. Ensure that the frequency, nature and location of clinical contacts are in compliance with agency policy and regulatory requirements.
  3. Provide support for Case Planner to complete Case Management activities for assigned caseload through activities that ensure the full integration of all services provided to each child. These activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Ensure that referring/custodial agencies and parents are kept closely informed of case movement, case planning decisions and significant events in the life of the child on an ongoing basis.
    2. Monitor the child’s daily functioning to ensure continuity of service in accordance with the individualized treatment plan and staff participation in the development and implementation of that.
    3. Coordinate treatment efforts with other treatment team members via staff meetings, medication reviews, and other collateral contacts as deemed necessary.
    4.  Facilitate timely and appropriate client transfers within the agency and discharge planning to outside services in a manner that ensures adequate and appropriate aftercare services.

Facilitate collateral contacts with individuals, schools and agencies outside the agency relevant to the treatment plan.

Accompany clients to court, when necessary, and provide advocacy or testimony, as appropriate.

  1. Participate in additional meetings as deemed necessary by the treatment needs of assigned caseload.
  2. Maintain required documentation associated with the provision of services in a timely and accurate manner via the agency’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) and as required by relevant regulatory bodies, e.g. OCFS connections system. Clinical documentation includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  1. Psychosocial assessment and/or semi-annual assessment updates.
  2. Individualized, comprehensive treatment plans that accurately reflect specific discharge criteria, client-centered goals, measurable objectives, child/family participation in the development process, and modalities/methods designed to help the child/family meet the criteria for discharge; and periodic progress notes relevant to goals and objectives on client treatment plan.
  3. Treatment progress documentation as required by agency’s standards and relevant regulatory bodies.
  4. Other documentation associated with the provision of services (e.g. incident reports, court reports).
  5. Partner with staff from other disciplines and /or Foster Parents as relevant to assist in the following:
  6. Ongoing program evaluation and development.
  7. Staff training in treatment-related skill areas.
  8. Provide crisis management and problem-solving support services for caseload within the context of the child’s home, school and/or agency program as deemed necessary.
  9. Participate in program-specific on-call procedure when assigned as it relates to child-specific clinical issues (e.g. psychiatric emergencies, AWOLs, etc.).
  10. Successful completion of all training as defined by program and/or agency policy. Provision of training as requested by supervisor and the agency Training Department.
  11. Maintain and improve clinical skills and competency through:
  12. Active participation in individual and group clinical supervision.
  13. Regular participation in relevant agency in-service training programs.
    1. Attendance at professional workshops or conferences as defined by program and agency competency standards.
    2. Active participation in program and agency-wide performance improvement activities as requested.
    3. Other associated tasks as assigned by supervisor.

Relationships – Supervision and Coordination: The Primary Therapist reports directly to the identified Clinical Manager and has regularly scheduled supervision sessions with that individual. The scope and intensity of clinical supervision varies depending upon the Primary Therapist education and experience level. The Primary Therapist regularly participates with peers in agency group Clinical supervision positive working relationships with agency staff from all relevant disciplines to facilitate successful implementation and review of individualized treatment plans. The Primary Therapist must also maintain effective interpersonal skills with children and their families and positive relationships with referring agencies, and other service providers outside The House of the Good Shepherd.

Education and Experience Requirements:

  1. Master’s degree in social work, mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy or creative arts therapy.
  2. One-year post-graduate experience in a child welfare or behavioral health setting highly preferred.
  3. License in Social Work, mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, creative arts therapy or eligibility to obtain a limited permit.

Required Knowledge, Skills or Abilities and Competencies:

  1. Commitment to following and embracing the Seven Commitments of our Sanctuary Model.
  1. Working knowledge of generally accepted ethics and standard of Social Work Practice.
  2. Understanding of basic needs and developmental issues of children in a way that promotes growth and respects individuality.
  3. Asks age and developmentally appropriate questions and actively listens to children’s responses.
  4. Follows mandated reporting requirements regarding child abuse and neglect.
  5. Develops a warm, positive, nurturing relationship with each child.
  6. Practices infection control, including appropriate hand washing procedures.
  7. Communicates with families in a manner that respects diversity.
  8. Uses knowledge of children’s family, culture, and any risk factors when planning to support the development and learning of individual’s children.
  9. Communicates with parents regarding developmentally appropriate behavior and expectations for children.
  10. Supports the parenting role by providing relevant information about child development and learning.
  11. Current knowledge of appropriate holistic interventions for children and families and the impact of trauma on development.
  12. Demonstrated ability to form significant clinical relationships with children and their families.
  13. Demonstrated proficiencies in the provisions of individual, family and group therapies.
  14. Strong written, verbal and organizational skills.
  15. Demonstrated proficiency in goal and objective writing.
  16. Familiarity with regulations relevant to clinical services, clinical documentation and confidentiality.
  17. Sensitivity and awareness of issues related to cultural diversity.
  18. Demonstrated knowledge of documentation requirements of licensing and accrediting bodies.
  19. Ability to engage in effective team building and collaborative working relationships with program staff, other agency staff, and staff from outside agencies.
  1. The Primary Therapist also works closely with Case Planners to facilitate holistic treatment and effective Case Management. S/he must maintain positive.
  2. Valid New York State drivers license.