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18 month time limited position

Key’s Direct Care Position and the 18-Month Time Limited Position

Key is a unique organization in that staff in direct care positions are limited to a maximum 18-month period of employment.* Direct care staff often come to Key as entry-level professionals in the process of learning and developing human service skills. Key views its role as assisting direct care staff in their own development by providing solid, hands-on experience with an intensive training and professional development supervision program. *Many assistant program supervisors, program supervisors, clinicians, directors, etc. have begun as direct care or other positions and been promoted.

The philosophy behind Key’s 18-month time-limited position is based on the pursuit of growth and development. Direct care workers may come to Key with an undergraduate degree in a human service-related field, but are often unsure where they want to focus their careers. Key provides entry-level, direct care workers the opportunity to build skills in many different areas of human services.

Whether in a residential program as a Residential Caseworker or Overnight Shiftworker or working in a non-residential program, Key’s direct care workers are exposed to a variety of helping professionals who work within the field of human services. For example, through Key’s legal advocacy work, direct care workers are exposed to and learn the juvenile justice and social welfare systems. They are exposed to social workers, probation officers, police officers, attorneys and judges. When advocating for a youth’s educational needs, direct care workers learn how education plays a role in human services. This provides them exposure to teachers, special education instructors, assistant principals, school psychologists, school adjustment counselors, and guidance counselors. Many youth and families are involved in some type of individual and/or family therapy. Direct care workers have working relationships with therapists, counselors, clinicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Learning the roles of these support professionals helps direct care workers plan their own professional career path.

Each youth has many supportive caregivers involved in his or her life already. The role of the Key direct care worker is to provide care coordination and assist youth and families to pursue their own growth and development. This means that the direct care worker is the central contact person who keeps the lines of communication open between all the supportive individuals involved in the youth and families’ case.

With new hands-on knowledge of the many facets of human services and an understanding of the roles of the different professionals involved, the direct care worker assists in coordinating the best treatment services for each client.

Within the 18-month time-limited position, a direct care worker will not only learn and build direct care worker competency skills but they will be led by their supervisor to identify and develop a career path plan which may include: assistance with graduate school research and enrollment; additional exposure and/or training in a specific human services-related area of interest; leadership and guidance to prepare the direct care worker for an internal promotion; or outsource placement assistance for a new position outside of the agency.

Key offers an educational reimbursement benefit to all staff levels. Directors may, at their discretion, also nominate select employees enrolled in clinical graduate degree programs for a graduate school scholarship to assist with tuition expenses. This financial assistance provides opportunity for staff to return to school to pursue their human service career. In the event a direct care staff member has been receiving excellent performance evaluations and is currently enrolled in a human services-related degree program, it is at the discretion of the Director that the staff member be granted an extension to their 18-month time limited position.

Many of Key’s former employees have selected career paths that have led them to positions such as social workers, probation officers, local and state police officers, therapists, clinicians, teachers, special education teachers, guidance counselors, school adjustment counselors, attorneys, and supervisors/managers at other provider agencies.

Key strives to promote the growth and development of all its employees. Over the past 43 years, Key has introduced thousands of human/social service professionals into an exciting and interesting career by providing them with their first intensive direct care, supervisory and/or clinical experience.