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Senior Social Worker – Veterans Justice Outreach

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration

This is a Full-time position in Big Spring, TX posted July 20, 2021.

Summary Recruitment Incentive authorized.

This vacancy will remain open until filled.

The first cut-off date is 02/12/2021.

Additional applications will be referred as needed.

The Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Social Worker primary responsibilities are to provide psychosocial assessments, case management, evaluation, placement, and referral & linkage to community agencies for Veterans who are within 6 months of release from correctional institutions and/or are being monitored by the courts.

Responsibilities *NOTE: Applicant Expiration: Applicants will remain active for 3 months after their initial application is received and/or updated.

After that time you must update your application through your USAJobs account if you would like to be made active again for possible consideration during the open period.

The VJO Social Worker works in conjunction with the HUDVASH, Community Employment Coordinator and other Health Care for Homeless Veteran Programs to coordinate needs and services of this program with VA and non-VA providers to assure access and ongoing services as needed.

Program Coordination The VJO Social Worker meets with judges, officers of the court, correctional administrators and staff on a regular basis to design and/or maintain appropriate policies and procedures required for each setting.

They attend justice system staff training relevant to working with offenders and high risk populations and represents the VA at community meetings, seeking or maintaining membership on relevant boards, councils and task forces.

The VJO Social Worker also collaborates with other Justice Outreach clinicians to support engagement in care for eligible Veterans recently discharged from correctional institutions.

Collaborations include VA Behavioral Health staff, providers who serve Veterans by contract or formal agreement with the VA, government staff, social, financial, legal, health and mental health agencies, Veterans and/or their families/relatives, Veterans’ conservators, friends, employers, landlords, police, attorneys, judges, and probation and parole officers.

The incumbent conducts justice-related staff development programs for mental health and other program staff and provides opportunities for staff to update their mental health professional knowledge and practice skills.

Provides training and guidance to entry level staff and graduate students.

Outreach The incumbent is required to conduct active outreach to Veterans involved with the justice system, including those who may be participants, or candidates for participation, in treatment court programs, including Veterans Courts.

This outreach may also include field interviews, assessments and referrals for Veterans contacted in community settings, courts and/or prior to release in jails or prisons, as well as those referred by VA residential programs, medical centers or outpatient clinics.

Clinical Assessment Advanced clinical training, insight and experience is utilized to interpret data and identify viable treatment options.

The VJO Social Worker assesses high risk factors, acuity, and the need for services.

This Social Worker has the ability to serve Veterans who tend to have frequent and severe crises, lack family or an adequate community support network, be poor at self-monitoring, and frequently fail to comply with instructions and treatment, or have significant deficits in coping skills and require continuing professional psychosocial support.

Incumbent provides crisis intervention services, seeking to address the cause as well as the presenting complaint, coordinates family conferences and serves as liaison to family members.

Incumbent maintains knowledge of Suicide Prevention policy and procedure, recognizes warning signs for suicide ideation or recent self-directed violence, and utilizes the identified screening tools to assess suicide risk.

Comprehensive Case Management The incumbent functions as an ongoing case manager for justice-involved Veterans who are being monitored by treatment courts (and as needed for Veterans released from correctional institutions) by performing duties to facilitate independent community living by coordinating mental health and community care.

As appropriate, completes release of information and assists with completion, submission of forms and follow-up regarding VA eligibility and enrollment, other VA Forms or application for benefits through VBA.

The incumbent serves as a consultant on the complex processes Veterans encounter when interacting with government and community agencies.

Work Schedule: Monday
– Friday, 8:00AM
– 4:30 PM Financial Disclosure Report: Not required Requirements Conditions of Employment Qualifications Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.

Education: Have a master’s degree in social work from a school of social work fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Graduates of schools of social work that are in candidacy status do not meet this requirement until the School of Social Work is fully accredited.

A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for the master’s degree in social work.

Verification of the degree can be made by going to to verify that the social work degree meets the accreditation standards for a masters of social work.

Licensure: Persons hired or reassigned to social worker positions in the GS-0185 series in VHA must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master’s degree level.

Current state requirements may be found by going to

Once licensed or certified, social workers must maintain a full, valid, and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment.

Loss of licensure or certification will result in removal from the GS-0185 social worker series and may result in termination of employment.

Physical Requirements.

See VA Directive and Handbook 5019, Employee Occupational Health Services.

English Language Proficiency.

Candidates must be proficient in spoken and written English to be appointed as authorized by 38 U.S.C.

§ 7403(f).

May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation).

Preferred Experience: Experience in conducting outreach to those involved in the judicial system.

Experience in conducting interview/assessments in community setting, jail, courts, & prisons.

Experience in working with those who are being monitored by treatment court and Veterans being released from correctional institutions.

Experience in providing case management and discharge planning to a variety of clients spanning community, courts, and legal institutions.

Experience in working with clients who have co-occurring medical and mental health disorders.

Grade Determinations: GS-12 Senior Social Worker Experience/Education.

The candidate must have at least two years of experience post advanced practice clinical licensure and should be in a specialized area of social work practice of which, one year must be equivalent to the GS-11 grade level.

Senior social workers have experience that demonstrates possession of advanced practice skills and judgment.

Senior social workers are experts in their specialized area of practice.

Senior social workers may have certification or other post-masters training from a nationally recognized professional organization or university that includes a defined curriculum/course of study and internship or equivalent supervised professional experience in a specialty.


Senior social workers must be licensed or certified by a state at the advanced practice level which included an advanced generalist or clinical examination, unless they are grandfathered by the state in which they are licensed to practice at the advanced practice level (except for licenses issued in California, which administers its own clinical examination for advanced practice) and they must be able to provide supervision for licensure.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities.

In addition to the experience above, candidates must demonstrate all of the following KSAs: 1.

Skill in a range of specialized interventions and treatment modalities used in specialty treatment programs or with special patient populations.

This includes individual, group, and/or family counseling or psychotherapy and advanced level psychosocial and/or case management.


Ability to incorporate complex multiple causation in differential diagnosis and treatment within approved clinical privileges or scope of practice.


Knowledge in developing and implementing methods for measuring effectiveness of social work practice and services in the specialty area, utilizing outcome evaluations to improve treatment services and to design system changes.


Ability to provide specialized consultation to colleagues and students on the psychosocial treatment of patients in the service delivery area, as well as role modeling effective social work practice skills.


Ability to expand clinical knowledge in the social work profession, and to write policies, procedures, and/or practice guidelines pertaining to the service delivery area.

Assignments: Senior social workers are licensed or certified to independently practice social work at an advanced level.

Senior social workers typically practice in a major program area such as but not limited to: Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or Polytrauma Network Site; a Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Center, or a national VHA referral center, such as a national Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or a national Transplant Center, or other program areas of equivalent scope and complexity.

The senior social worker may be assigned administrative responsibility

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