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 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.
Job Description This is a full-time attorney position for DAC’s innovative pilot program, First Call for Families (First Call). First Call is a collaborative, prevention-focused endeavor with Santa Clara County’s First 5 and Social Services Agency (SSA). One of the first of its kind in California, this attorney-led interdisciplinary team will offer parents who are at risk of having their children removed 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. Consisting of an attorney, a social worker and two mentor parents with lived child welfare experience, First Call’s interdisciplinary team will provide a creative, holistic approach to prepetition advocacy and family-strengthening, focusing on parents who have been contacted by the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) within the last 12 months or who are currently receiving informal DFCS services.
The First Call attorney will lead the team in providing the following core services: (1) advice calls from eligible parents on a toll-free warmline, (2) “know your rights” community presentations 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 domestic violence issues. If a formal DFCS petition is filed, the First Call attorney may represent the parent through the beginning stages of their legal case in dependency court. When appropriate, there will be a warm hand off to the parent’s ongoing DAC dependency attorney and the First Call team will proactively encourage a successful and communicative relationship with the family’s DFCS social worker to support the goals of family reunification and family preservation. In addition, program components will include weekly case staffings with the interdisciplinary First Call team, networking and outreach to local community based organizations, and consistent data collection for purposes of evaluating and sustaining the program beyond its pilot period.
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 • Supervisory experience preferred • Bilingual Spanish speaking preferred
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?
Additional Salary Information: Full benefits.
About Dependency Advocacy Center
Dependency Advocacy Center (DAC), a nonprofit organization, provides free legal services to indigent parents and some children involved with the juvenile dependency system. DAC is the contract provider for these services in Santa Clara County, CA. Our clients face the removal of their children due to concerns of abuse and neglect. A myriad of issues are presented, including substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health, among others.
Mission Statement: DAC provides zealous 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.