FIRST CALL FOR FAMILIES MANAGING ATTORNEY POSITION

Organization Description

Dependency Advocacy Center (DAC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, provides interdisciplinary family defense legal services to indigent parents and children involved with Santa Clara County’s child welfare system and the juvenile dependency court. Our adult clients face the risk of permanent separation from their children due to allegations of abuse and neglect. Substance use disorder, intimate partner violence, and mental health concerns are commonly presenting issues, often rooted in the layered effects of poverty, marginalization, and intergenerational trauma. DAC was founded on the belief that traditional legal advocacy is insufficient to adequately represent our parent and youth clients. Our approach to holistic family defense utilizes an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, social workers, and mentor parents to create client-centered legal strategies designed to support the family’s long-term success.

Job Description

This is a full-time managing attorney position for DAC’s innovative program, First Call for Families (First Call). First Call is a prevention-focused endeavor in collaboration with Santa Clara County’s Social Services Agency (SSA). One of the first of its kind in California, this attorney-led interdisciplinary team offers crucial early access to legal advice and resources designed to help stabilize the family and, where possible, prevent unnecessary entry into the foster care system. Comprised of two staff attorneys, two social workers, three mentor parents with lived child welfare experience, and one part-time paralegal, First Call’s interdisciplinary team provides a creative, holistic approach to pre-petition advocacy and family-strengthening for families at risk of entry into the formal child welfare system.

The First Call team provides three primary services: (1) advice calls from eligible parents on a toll-free “warm line,” (2) Know Your Rights to educate the community about child welfare system involvement, and (3) limited scope representation to assist with family stabilization and address specific areas of vulnerability such as housing instability, substance use disorder, mental health, and/or domestic violence issues. If a formal petition is filed in dependency court, the First Call attorney may represent the parent through the beginning stages of their legal case.

The primary responsibilities of the First Call Managing Attorney include:

  • Managing and supervising the interdisciplinary team;
  • Staffing all First Call client and warm line work in collaboration with the team;
  • Developing Know Your Rights materials;
  • Acting as the liaison with the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS);
  • Coordinating outreach efforts and building networks with community partners;
  • Working with executive management to ensure all programmatic needs are met, including data collection, budget oversight, and team protocol.

In addition, the managing attorney may take on a limited caseload of clients as appropriate, and as required by the needs of the program.

Desired Qualifications

  • Member in good standing of the State Bar of California;
  • High degree of professionalism and strong commitment to social justice;
  • Experience working with and advocating for marginalized communities on issues such as housing, family law, mental health, domestic violence, public benefits, immigration and child welfare system involvement;
  • Ability to work collaboratively and lead an interdisciplinary team that includes social workers and parents with lived child welfare experience;
  • Ability to work compassionately and respectfully with clients in crisis;
  • Ability to network and build partnerships with community based organizations
  • Trained in cultural competency, motivational interviewing and trauma informed service delivery
  • Familiarity with data entry and reporting preferred
  • Management experience preferred
  • Bilingual Spanish speaking preferred

Salary/Benefits

Salary Range: $103,000-$106,000 annually, commensurate with experience. Medical, dental, and vision coverage available. Generous PTO.

COVID-19 Considerations

DAC is taking full precautions to keep their staff and clients safe. DAC requires that all staff be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Application Process

Please send cover letter and resume via email to DACjobs@sccdac.org. In your cover letter, please include the following information: In order to best serve our clients and our community, DAC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. How has your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to social justice, race equity, and diversity among our staff

DEPENDENCY ADVOCACY CENTER – STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION

Organization Description

Dependency Advocacy Center (DAC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, provides interdisciplinary family defense legal services to indigent parents and children involved with Santa Clara County’s child welfare system and the juvenile dependency court. Our adult clients face the risk of permanent separation from their children due to allegations of abuse and neglect. Substance use disorder, intimate partner violence, and mental health concerns are commonly presenting issues, often rooted in the layered effects of poverty, marginalization, and intergenerational trauma. DAC was founded on the belief that traditional legal advocacy is insufficient to adequately represent our parent and youth clients. Our approach to holistic family defense utilizes an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, social workers, and mentor parents to create client-centered legal strategies designed to support the family’s long term success.

Mission Statement

Dependency Advocacy Center provides zealous legal representation to indigent clients in the juvenile dependency system to promote timely reunification and preservation of families in a safe, healthy environment.  DAC believes that every parent and child entering the dependency system has a right to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect.

Responsibilities and Duties

The staff attorney will be responsible for a full caseload representing parents and some children at all stages of the juvenile dependency process.  The position requires extensive court appearances and daily client contact.  Representation includes client interviews, providing ongoing assessments of the merits of cases, conferring with social workers, opposing counsel, and other service providers, appearing at all court hearings, preparing witnesses for trial, participating in mediations and presenting clients’ cases to the court during uncontested hearings and bench trials.  The attorney will also participate in frequent trainings to build legal knowledge, strengthen courtroom skills, and develop a deeper understanding of relevant systemic and social issues.

Desired Qualifications

  • Member in good standing of the State Bar of California
  • Knowledge and experience of juvenile dependency law preferred
  • Experience in courtroom advocacy preferred
  • Ability to work compassionately and respectfully with clients in crisis
  • High degree of professionalism
  • Ability to interact respectfully with judicial officers and adhere to the court’s schedule
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest issues
  • Ability to flourish in a high-energy environment
  • Ability to multi-task and be a productive team player
  • Excellent verbal, interpersonal, writing, interviewing, and organizational skills
  • Bilingual skills preferred
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of an interdisciplinary team of social workers and mentor parents

Salary/Benefits

Salary: $85,500 annually. Medical, dental, and vision coverage available.

Application Process

Please send cover letter and resume via email to DACjobs@sccdac.org. Cover letter to include answers to the following questions:

  1. Why are you interested in working as a family defense attorney and at DAC specifically?
  2. In order to best serve our clients and our community, DAC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. How has your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to social justice, race equity, and diversity among our staff?

COVID-19 Considerations:
DAC is taking full precautions to keep their staff and clients safe. DAC requires that all staff be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

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DEPENDENCY ADVOCACY CENTER VOLUNTEER AND INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

DAC has had the good fortune to work with a number of exceptional law student, paralegal and high school interns. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities with DAC, please send your email inquiry to DACjobs@sccdac.org.

“The staff at Dependency Advocacy Center (DAC) are a truly unique group.  I’m inspired by their compassion and level of service that each team member provides daily.  The staff shares a message of advocacy, determination, and hope to motivate allies, professional partners, and families to work together to build stronger families.  DAC is not only a remedy for the problems associated with child maltreatment & neglect but offers a viable solution to helping families reunify while achieving stability and self-sufficiency.  DAC provides a holistic approach by using a multi-disciplinary team to increase family reunification and improve the quality of lives for families to thrive.

I’m incredibly grateful to have interned at Dependency Advocacy Center.  I gained a well-rounded learning experience in working with families, especially within the juvenile dependency system.  I have learned to assess the bio-psycho-social aspects of an individual and client, recognizing the client’s challenges and above all their support systems, strengths, and resiliency to overcome traumas and hardships.

I will forever by grateful to my Field Instructor Hilary, DAC staff, and the clients I served during my internship that have taught me the true spirit of determination, resiliency, persistence, and strength.  Thank you!”

-Y.C., San Jose State University School of Social Worker, MSW Intern 2017-18

“I’ve worked in many different areas of dependency law, from policy making at the Judicial Council, to representing the Agency with the County Counsel. No other environment provided the depth of personal interaction with clients and attorneys, and no other experience inspired me to pursue an area of law as much as my time with the Dependency Advocacy Center has.

I was able to meet real people and help them with their deepest struggles, as they were fighting to keep their family together. They were often battling very significant personal problems, but it was deeply moving to see how much they would accomplish, and the obstacle they could overcome, when motivated by love for their family.

The DAC attorneys are extremely intelligent and also abundantly compassionate. As advocates in the court room, they are effective and determined. As counsel for their clients, they are firm and direct about the work that must be done, but also encouraging and supportive. I was especially impressed with how supportive the attorneys also are of each other and their staff. The atmosphere of camaraderie in the office allows the attorneys, staff, and clients to share the burden of their difficult and emotional cases, and alleviate additional stress.

Working here would be an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in a meaningful and rewarding legal career.”

-T.G., USF School of Law, Summer Intern 2009