Director of Disability Services - Department of Children and Families (DCF), Massachusetts State Government, Boston, MA

Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Director of Disability Services

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is seeking a mission-driven, dedicated individual with leadership and disability community experience for the role of Director of Disability Services. The selected candidate will oversee statewide development and implementation of policies, practices and trainings that support effective casework practice with DCF involved children, youth and families challenged by a disability. The Director of Disability Services will have a deep understanding of protective child welfare practice principles and an understanding of the impact of adverse childhood experiences, trauma informed approaches in child welfare, the strengthening family's framework as well as the impact of secondary traumatic stress.

Reporting to the Associate Deputy for Protective Operations, the Director of Disability Services will work closely with DCF Central, Regional and Area Offices in providing statewide support, tracking, and identifying challenges in accessing and provision of consultation and care for children and families with disabilities. This includes collaboration with the Department's Statewide Disability Coordinator and Regional Disability Liaisons. They will also work closely with the Directors of Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Medical Units, as well as colleagues in multiple specialized areas in developing policy and practice, maintaining relationships amongst the clinical specialist teams and to ensure the ongoing development of best practices to support field staff.

In this role the Director will interface with field clinical teams to provide statewide coordination of best practices in meeting the needs of DCF involved children and families. The Director will serve as a resource and support to provide disability related information and assistance to staff. Additionally, the Director will provide leadership in advancing trauma informed practice and understanding the impact trauma can have on children who have experienced abuse/neglect as well as an adult caretaker's ability to safely care for their children who are challenged with a disability.

Duties and Responsibilities (these duties are a general summary and not all inclusive):

  • Contribute to the development and implementation of policies, practice and training that supports best casework practices with DCF involved children, youth and families living with disability to ensure compliance with substantive and administrative state and federal disability laws.
  • Collaborate across DCF divisions field managers and staff to identify challenges and opportunities for effectively meeting the needs of these families involved with DCF.
  • Create and foster internal and external relationships, provide leadership in identifying barriers, develop strategic approaches to improving DCF practice, as well as the development of policy, training, and resources.  Therefore, they must be able to work effectively at the case level and systemic levels, transition between them smoothly and use information and experiences from each to inform their work.
  • Work collaboratively with other state agencies and community-based disability coalitions and providers, and advocate to ensure timely and effective service and support access for DCF involved children and their families. 
  • Maintain a deep and active relationship with the Department of Developmental Services, Mass Developmental Disabilities Council, Mass Commission for the Blind, Mass Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Mass Rehabilitation Commission, Mass Office on Disability and Disabled Persons Commission will be critical to this role.
  • Establish effective communications and maintain formal mechanisms for case level problem solving that engages key Area Office, Regional Office and Central Office managers and staff as appropriate to ensure timely response to all clinical case questions and concerns related to children and families with disabilities.
  • Oversee provision of timely consultation on individual cases involving families challenged with a disability to support casework practice and decision-making at every step in the child protective process.
  • Develop policy language, practice guidance, protocols, procedures, and other written materials to provide resources, information, and direction to DCF managers and staff in understanding and working effectively with DCF involved families impacted by a disability.
  • Support DCF staff and managers to integrate knowledge of families with disabilities with highly complex circumstances and multiple risk factors including mental health, domestic violence, and untreated trauma; and ensuring a multi-disciplinary approach with families.
  • Collaborate with the Statewide Disability Coordinator and Regional Disability Liaisons in their review and resolution of disability related complaints.                                                 
  • Coordinate with the Directors of the Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence Units on protocols, procedures, and policies as they relate to the behavioral health care needs/issues of children in the custody/care of the agency and to support each unit's consistency of practice in supporting DCF field staff. 
  • In collaboration with the Child Welfare Institute and other relevant agency staff, identifies needs and develops/supports delivery of training for DCF staff and managers on issues related to child welfare involved families challenged by a disability; participates in and regularly updates training for newly hired DCF social workers; develops and provides on-going or one-time training as needed  for existing staff; and develops and delivers trainings to other state agencies and community stakeholders related to Department disability policies and practices. 
  • Act as liaison to regional/area management teams to build capacity and expertise in providing professional, caring, empathic, clear, and timely assistance and resource referral to families challenged by a disability; facilitates collaboration with key stakeholders and participates on relevant work groups or task forces.
  • Develop and maintain linkages with state/community agencies and service providers to promote a consistent, integrated response to DCF families and children challenged with a disability. 
  • Design and implement community education plans to expand state/community agencies and service providers' understanding of child welfare protective services.


  • Master's degree in social work, psychology, public administration, public health, or related field.
  • Knowledge and understanding of disability related issues impacting families.
  • Experience promoting or enhancing services to the disabled community.
  • Knowledge and understanding of child welfare practice principles and the impact of adverse childhood experiences.
  • Knowledge and understanding of trauma informed approaches in child welfare, the strengthening family's framework and parental capacities, and safety and risk assessment.
  • Extensive understanding of large systems and the ability to participate in a robust systems reform process.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide clinical consultation services.
  • Skill in problem-solving, consensus building, conflict resolution, and team building.
  • Ability to work with diverse and multi-cultural populations.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with multiple disciplines and able to accomplish work objectives in a high paced, complex environment.
  • Proven ability to supervise and manage.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in both writing and in oral presentation.
  • Willingness to travel state-wide for work related purposes.
  • Demonstrated skills in advocacy, training, policy analysis, and quality improvement.

To Apply:

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