Skip to Main Content

Office of Mental Health

Home and Community Based Services Waiver
Guidance Document
Family Support Services Worker Competencies

  1. Information
    The Family Support Services Worker (FSW) demonstrates knowledge in the following areas:
    1. Developmental Issues
      • Basic stages in child, and adolescent development
      • Developmental and learning delays
      • Child and adolescent mental health and the impact of mental illness on the child and family
      • Adolescent development and how development affects parenting
      • Recovery and the principles associated with wellness
    2. Family Relationships
      • Developmental stages of parenting and family life
      • Appropriate and effective communication within families
      • Differences between healthy and unhealthy family interactions
    3. Family Support and Parenting Education
      • Philosophy and goals of the Home and Community Based Services Waiver
      • Value of child and family involvement in the development and implementation of the Individual Service Plan
      • Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) core principals
      • Strength-based, family empowerment approach to family support work
      • Effective, creative methods for engagement and retention of participants in support groups
      • Group process and facilitation skills
      • Parent educational opportunities including parent/professional partnership and collaboration, parenting skills and individual rights and responsibilities of the child and family
    4. Providing Guidance
      • Guidance techniques such as responsiveness, active listening, creating a safe environment, setting limits, goal-setting, role modeling, and dealing with anger and other emotions – and how to model these techniques for parents
      • Strategies parents can use to encourage character development and self-control
      • Community resources available to provide families the opportunity to socialize and link w/ natural supports
    5. Health and Safety
      • Essential components of safe and healthy physical and emotional environments for families
      • Signs and symptoms of mental illness in family members, such as depression in mothers, trauma, psychosis, substance abuse
      • Suicide prevention and referral protocols
      • Resources in the community for victims of domestic violence
      • Child and family Safety Alerts Plan and strategies for talking about health and safety issues with families
      • Importance of healthy diet, nutrition, and physical activity for individual and families health and well-being
    6. Relationships Among Family, School, and Community
      • HCBS Waivers philosophy to provide services in the home and in the community, making full use of natural supports
      • Roles of the community, including formal social institutions (e.g., schools, churches) and the informal social network (e.g., families, friends), in nurturing, protecting, and supporting families
      • Advocacy in the community on behalf of children and families – including how parents can be advocates for their own children
      • Methods to help families identify and access financial and social resources in their communities
      • Child and family rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and NY State Education regulations regarding Special Education including the IEP and 504 process (Part 200)
  2. Cultural Competence
    The FSW practices cultural competency as indicated by demonstrating:
    • Respect and appreciation for diversity in families
    • Non-judgmental approaches to working with families whose background and/or current circumstances are different from their own
    • Valuing of intergenerational relationship to family life and child-rearing
    • Sensitivity to cultural and ethnic norms
    • Recognition of strengths in culturally driven parenting patterns and approaches to discipline
    • Acknowledgement and ability to address culturally driven barriers to engagement
    • Skills in linking children and families to culturally relevant community resources
    • Provision of assistance to children and families in addressing stigmatization and/or discrimination
  3. Tasks And Skills
    The FSW demonstrates competency in performing the following tasks:
    1. Personal Safety
      • Identifies predictors of violence in the home and community
      • Follows safety procedures of HCBS provider
      • Understands and implements the Safety Alerts Plan
      • Sets and maintains professional boundaries and limits
    2. Engagement of Child and Family
      Empowerment and Partnership with Child and Family:
      • Identifies child and family strengths and utilizes community supports to further develop these strengths
      • Actively engages families in support groups and social activities
      • Offers family activities to alleviate sense of isolation and build natural supports
      • Partners with child and family in attaining goals identified in the service plan
    3. Building relationships with children and families that facilitate trust and communication:
      • Communicates clearly and accurately to define expectations of FSW role
      • Frequently offers families positive and constructive feedback
      • Communicates empathically to demonstrate understanding
      • Advocates in the community on behalf of the child and family when requested
      • Supports the child and family’s personal advocacy efforts
      • Demonstrates sensitivity to family’s cultural and ethnic background
      • Respects confidentiality
    4. Collaboration
      • Collaborates, throughout Waiver enrollment, with the ICC to gain and share information on the families progress toward service plan goals
      • Collaborates with child and family to work toward achieving the goals indicated in the service plan
      • Collaborates with community supports to remain informed of resources available to meet the needs of HCBS Waiver families
      • Functions as a member of the HCBS Waiver team by attending service plan reviews, agency and interdisciplinary team meetings as required
    5. Service Plan and Documentation Requirements
      • Communicates clearly in written form
      • Completes and submits Progress Notes per Waiver guidelines
      • Relates each progress note to specific goals and objectives
      • Completes all Medicaid billable information
      • Follows HCBS Waver agency procedures for documenting and tracking utilization of flex dollars
    6. Fulfillment of Requirements
      • Adheres to NYS and agency requirements (e.g., HIPPA and ethical guidelines)
      • Completes all required training (see 300.5 of Waiver Guidance Document)
      • Attends agency and interdisciplinary team meetings as required