Forensic Peer Advocate/Training Facilitator at Community Advocates of Montgomery County (Montgomery)

Employer Name:

Community Advocates of Montgomery County

Location:

Montgomery County

Position:

Forensic Peer Advocate/Training Facilitator

Hours:

37.5 hours a week, M-F daytime, but two part-time individuals sharing the position would also be considered

Position Description:

Wage:  $14 an hour

Community Advocates of Montgomery County, PA, an affiliate of Hopeworx, Inc., is seeking applicants for a position that will provide mentorship, leadership and training facilitation opportunities. The position requires the facilitation of two advocacy trainings developed exclusively for and by Community Advocates, as well as individual advocacy services. The two trainings include:

  • a 14-week class held at Montgomery County Correctional Facility for men and another held in the community for men and women who have experienced mental health and justice related issues, and
  • a one-day self-advocacy training held four times a year

The 14-week class called “It’s T.I.M.E.” has been offered to men at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF) once a week for the past seven years. The class has also been conducted in the community at behavioral health centers and, recently, expanded to the women’s side at MCCF. The class title stands for “Think, Identify, Make changes and Enter a new life” and is led by a peer with experience in mental health and criminal justice issues. Participants in the class are encouraged to educate themselves about criminogenic needs or risk factors for incarceration, identify ways to change thinking habits, and make plans for reentry so they can succeed when returning to the community. Understanding mental health, addiction and trauma are key outcomes for the class participants.

The Community Advocates Self-Advocacy Curriculum has been offered to peers, family members and provider staff for more than 10 years at various locations throughout the county. More than 1,200 individuals have completed the training, which is held 4 times a year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Facilitates 14-week justice and recovery class at MCCF and in the community
  • Assists individuals in solving problems regarding mental health and criminal justice issues
  • Assists in facilitating Community Advocates’ “Self-Advocacy Training”
  • Participates with the advocacy team in weekly team meetings and in planning and creating goals and activities
  • Provides written documentation on work completed with individuals
  • Participates in workshops, trainings and outreach with team members

Job Requirements:

Minimum of a high school diploma or GED, plus personal lived experience in both the mental health and criminal justice systems, as well as knowledge of those systems and resources in Montgomery County. Completion of state approved Certified Peer Specialist and Forensic Peer Support trainings are preferred. Must be able to get clearance to go into the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

Skills:

Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are required.  Ability to problem-solve and work with others on a team. Good organizational skills and computer skills. Ability to facilitate support groups, workshops and classes. Ability to share personal experience purposefully to help others. Ability to interact with all parties in the justice system, such as probation officers and public defenders.

Characteristics for effective advocacy:

  • The ability to listen actively to someone else, without judging.
  • The belief that the person in need truly knows what he/she needs, since each of us is the expert on ourselves.
  • The ability and willingness to work with others in an organized and cooperative way toward a shared goal.
  • The compassion to care about more than just one’s own situation.
  • Investing time and energy in efforts to make things better, rather than just criticizing “the way things are”.

The belief that he/she can make a difference rather than waiting for someone else to “do something” to improve the system.

Instructions on how to apply:

Send resume to Kim Renninger at krenninger@hopeworxinc.org