Job Specification

Class Code: SM8
Analyst: LM, TC, CL

Date Originated:    
Date Revised: 8/83, 2/84, 7/90, 5/99, 3/05, 7/17, 5/23




Under direction, to carry a service caseload and to provide the most specialized, sensitive and difficult casework services to perform lead/consultative services to other social service staff; and to do other work as required.


Factors used in allocating positions to this class include complexity, sensitivity and difficulty of casework problems; duration and level of casework intervention and therapy authority for decision making likelihood and consequence of error; the emergency or crisis nature of services; degree of supervision received; and lead/consultative responsibilities for other Social Workers.

Senior Social Worker is the super journey level. Incumbents spend a substantial part of their time on the most difficult, sensitive, and specialized services where major case decisions are made independently and where consequence of error may be significant. Advanced casework skills, a high degree of program knowledge, judgement and creativity are required. Incumbents may, as an additional duty, serve as an alternate supervisor or in a lead/consultative capacity.

A distinct difference in the work Senior Social Workers in other programs and Family Childrenís Services/Adult Protective Services (FCS/APS) is that the latter are held to higher State and Federal mandates to protect the life and wellbeing of children, older adults, and persons with disabilities, including administering a complexity of associated duties, and rotation to work a legally mandated on-call, after-hours childe abuse/neglect hotline system.

A Senior Social Worker in FCS/APS could be tasked with any of the duties listed below based on which program they are assigned.


Family and Childrenís Services / Adult Protective Services


         Interviews applicants, wishing to adopt children and determines their suitability;

         Studies the background, health and development of children which may be adopted;

         Interview natural parents and determines their attitudes, reasons and consent to placing a child for adoption;

         Verifies background information on adoptive and natural parents and ensures that legal matters have been satisfactorily resolved, in cases of child neglect, abuse or abandonment;

         May initiate court action to terminate parental rights of natural parents;

         Prepares and files reports on case background, providing recommendations to the courts;

         Coordinates the adoptions process with other social workers, interested agencies and departments as necessary;

         Counsels natural and adoptive parents prior to and following adoption and supervises adoptive placements;

         Provides leadership in departmental conferences and training programs

         Prepares reports and correspondence as necessary;

         Arranges for the placement of children in kin caregiver homes, foster family homes, or residential treatment homes pursuant to court orders or occasional voluntary agreements with parents;

         Provides or arranges for services including counseling, crisis intervention, emergency shelter care, day care, teaching and demonstrating homemakers, parent training, transportation, and others;

         Meets regularly with the child, natural parents and foster parents to monitor and evaluate progress of the plan;

         Supervises the child in foster care;

         Recommends to the court worker for presentation in Juvenile Court the reunification/termination of parental rights or adoption;

         Testifies in Juvenile Court cases, prepares service plan agreements, other reports and correspondence.

Juvenile Court

         Makes independent investigation of risk and safety based on assessment and whether children can remain safely in the home or if removal of the child is necessary;

         Interviews witnesses;

         Prepares and files legal petitions;

         Prepares evidence and makes a written report to the court based on the agency plan for the child;

         Negotiates with attorneys;

         Presents cases in court;

         May testify in court hearing;

         Assists County Counsel in preparation of contested cases;

         Investigates and makes recommendations to Probate court on step-parents adoptions;

         May also carry a partial or full placement caseload. 



Thorough knowledge of:

         Social casework objectives, principles, methods, and caseload management and organization;

         Social and economic factors which influence family life;

         Principles of human behavior and development and psychological defense mechanisms;

         Reactions to stress;

         Community health, welfare, social, and legal support systems, and other resource available to clients;

         Interviewing and record keeping techniques, including the documentation of all actions and contacts in case files;

         Specialized program area to which assigned.

Working knowledge of:

         Laws, policies, and administrative procedures of County social service programs;

         Use and abuse of medications may be required for certain positions;

         Techniques used to locate and determine client assets may be required for certain positions;

         Investment techniques and management of finances may be required for certain positions;

         Principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and leadership.


Some knowledge of:†††††††

         The principles and techniques of supervision and training may be required for certain assignments.


Ability to:

         Perform the most complex and specialized casework services with considerable independence;

         Deal with crisis situations;

         Deal with hostile, aggressive, and abusive persons;

         Provide leadership with consultation to other social workers in casework concepts and methodology;

         Communicate and relate effectively with clients, who may be emotionally or mentally disabled, medically disabled, elderly, substance abusers, victims of domestic violence or fiduciary abuse

         Establish and maintain effective working relationships with others, including clients, family members and other who may be under distress or duress;

         Locate, develop, and use community and agency resources for the benefit of clients and advocate for services on behalf of clients;

         Facilitate maximum client participation in service plans;

         Manage assigned caseload and establish caseload priorities to meet client needs and agency expectations;

         Perform as a lead worker over a small group of social workers may be required for some positions;

         Prioritize and respond to demands of caseload in a prompt and efficient manner;

         Recognize and analyze problems, gather relevant information, establish facts, draw valid conclusions, respond to case details promptly, and communicate clearly and concisely both orally and in writing;

         Maintain current and accurate records;

         Learn complex laws and regulations and apply them appropriately in management of assigned caseload;

         Work efficiently under pressure and deadlines;

         Administer the estates of mentally or medically disabled persons is required for certain positions;

         Represent conservatees and payees in matters related to their well-being, including hiring, setting goal and procedures for, and monitoring providers and caregivers is required for certain positions.


Training and Experience:

Any combination of training and experience, which would provide the required knowledge and abilities, is qualifying. Typical ways to obtain these knowledge and abilities would be:

  1. Two years of experience performing social service casework services equivalent to a Social Worker II in Santa Cruz County


  1. A Masterís Degree in social work


  1. A Masterís Degree from a two-year counseling program from an accredited college plus one year of social service casework experience.

The Masterís Degree in social work must be obtained within 90 days from the date of employment.


Special Requirements:

Possession of a valid California Class C Driver License or must be able to provide suitable transportation which is approved by the appointing authority may be required for certain positions. Certain positions may require a Masterís Degree or Bachelorís Degree because of state requirements.


Bargaining Unity: 41

EEOC Job Category: 02

Occupational Grouping: 66

Workersí Compensation Code: 0285