Outreach Specialist

September 1, 2023
Mount Vernon, WA
Job Type



Did you start your career wanting to make the world a better place? Is helping with the social justice needs of your community what motivates you?

We are seeking candidates who want to actively disrupt the behavioral health status quo by unabashedly developing and executing new ideas and practices for the citizens of Mount Vernon who are without homes; working side by side with Officers from the Mount Vernon Police Department to help our most vulnerable citizens achieve their goals. Communities across the state have asked for law enforcement agencies to help their citizens in new and different ways. The Mount Vernon Police Department have been doing that for five years and we're ready to expand!


A non-uniformed, non-sworn employee performing professional, social work functions. The Outreach Specialist responds to people with mental and/or substance use disorders, behavioral, housing, financial and other social service needs. Duties include considerable public contact and are intended to bridge the gap between law enforcement and/or emergency medical response and the social needs of people within this population. Work hours include variable shifts including nights, weekends and holidays.

Essential Functions

Essential functions may include any of the following representative duties, knowledge, and skills. This list is ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY and is not a comprehensive listing of all functions and duties performed by incumbents of this class. Essential duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Works primarily with individuals who are generally self-sufficient however reticent to engage in services or are extremely reticent due to untreated behavioral health issues. With moderate help, they can make realistic decisions, navigate systems and conduct activities of daily living. Provide first response to 9-1-1 police or fire/medical service calls where behavioral health or substance abuse appear the underlying factors and circumstances involving imminent risk of harm to others is not apparent.Engage individuals that are displaying behavioral health or substance abuse conditions and connect them with appropriate social services. This may involve transporting to the appropriate location.Respond to service requests from police, fire, EMS or other first responders who encounter individuals who may benefit from social services as an alternative to criminal justice actions.Assess individuals for immediate safety and stabilization needs and tailor assistance plans to the individual's need which may include coordination with the Case Manager.Visit locations where individuals are experiencing homelessness.Establish and maintain rapport with the population served.Adhere to strict boundaries and professional ethics in the care of others.Develop a network of working relationships with voluntary outreach teams, Designated Mental Health Professionals, Skagit County Justice Center, Skagit County Crisis Center, behavioral health treatment providers, emergency housing providers, veteran's services, and other social service providers.Coordinate service delivery plans with SCCJC Jail Alternatives, Skagit County Sheriff's Impact Team providers, Community Action Outreach Specialist, Community Court Coordinators, and other system providers as deemed necessary. Respond to requests for information about available services for individuals who are homeless, individuals with behavioral health disorders, and those with other human and social service needs.Serve as a liaison with other City departments, police divisions, outside agencies and the community. Participate in system planning, including representation on various committees.Assist the target population served with obtaining basic resources such as shelter, food, medical services, behavioral health treatment, and other social and human services as needed. Communicate and collaborate effectively with peers (Outreach Specialists, Case Managers, ARNP, IOS Supervisor) and other team members.Attend function related community, coalition, and committee meetings serving and contributing subject matter expertise as an IOS Outreach Specialist.Provide transportation service for individuals when safe to do so and it's necessary as part of linking to services or their continuing care plan.Make referrals to appropriate service providers and coordinate service delivery. Promote best practices in treatment approaches, support systems, and interventions. Meet with and interview contacts, families, and other care providers to assess needs and eligibility of services. Advocate needs of contacts within and outside system; liaise between contact, caregivers, and service providers. Provide client-level and system-wide troubleshooting and advocacy. Follow-up with individuals who are extremely reticent to accept services in an effort to bridge system gaps that interrupt the continuity of care.Prepare memos, correspondence, records, and reports that relate to social services activities performed. Maintain records of individuals served, services provided, outreach activities conducted, surveys completed and other data reporting as assigned.Flexible to work varied hours and days as need is determined by the IOS Supervisor.Perform related work and special projects as assigned. Self-direct and organize work time efficiently and effectively.Consult with Case Managers, IOS Supervisor and other agency professionals on people with complicated issues.Work with individuals enrolled in the Outreach Intern program as determined by the IOS Supervisor.Provide training to front-line (police officers, Community Service, Park Ranger, Firefighters, Paramedics, etc.) on social service resources. Attend and testify at court hearings and other legal proceedings as required. Assist in the development and recommendation for procedures identifying and screening people with social service needs. Participate in program development and improving best practices for community outreach.Follow Police Department policies, procedures, and training.Punctual, regular and reliable attendance is essentialPerforms related duties as assigned.

  • A Master's Degree in social work is required by date of hire.
  • Two (2) years' experience in the direct treatment of acutely and severely mentally ill, homeless and/or chemically dependent individuals is preferred.
  • Relevant clinical license including a Substance Use Disorder Professional certification per Department of Health, preferred OR an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of:

  • Principles, beliefs and objectives for effective social services and community service programs.
  • Symptoms, common behavioral and social characteristics, and other manifestations of the disabilities affecting the population served and appropriate techniques for providing a Continuum of Care.
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation and the application of its practices.
  • Motivational interviewing
  • The addiction process, substance use disorder treatment approaches and expected outcomes.
  • Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security Entitlement programs (i.e. SSDI and SSI ) guidelines that is applicable to the job function.
  • Local, state and regional resources and programs for the homeless, mentally ill, substance abusing population and those with other social service needs.
  • The premise of human development and behavior to a level that is effective for the duties of this position.
  • Judicial procedures, sentencing implications, and the corrections environment suitable for the needs of this position.
  • Applicable local, State, and Federal laws, codes, regulations, and ordinances.
  • General office policies, procedures, and equipment.
  • Customer service principles, practices, and etiquette.
  • Related state and federal mandates including those surrounding medical and legal privacy and confidentiality
  • First aid principles and ability to demonstrate skill in their application.

Skill in:

  • Applying safety practices, department policies, procedures, and applicable federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, codes, and regulations.
  • Recognizing the presentation of mental illness related behaviors and understanding appropriate clinical interventions.
  • Counseling, treating and transporting persons under the influence of controlled substances, intoxication and/or experiencing mental illness.
  • Public speaker in the areas of presentations, facilitation, and conflict resolution.
  • Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, and other MS Office applications.

Ability to:

  • Follow oral and written instructions.
  • Use computers and various software programs and other computer applications, including word processing, data management, spreadsheets, and other programs.
  • Read, interpret, and apply work-related laws, rules, and other regulations
  • Maintain a work environment free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Support diversity and multi-cultural understanding in the workplace and the community.
  • Participate in and seek clinical supervision with focus on self-reflection and deepening skills with identified population as required for the position.
  • Effectively conduct in-service training sessions.
  • Work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Effectively identify and resolve conflict.
  • Be discreet and maintain confidentiality of information.
  • Exercise a high degree of initiative and independent judgment, problem solving, and decision making within the scope of assigned authority.
  • Work within a law enforcement response environment, which includes exposure to high stress, rapidly evolving incidents, public safety responder culture and norms.
  • Assess, develop, navigate, and document an individualized care plan with the community member.
  • Establish and maintain rapport with the population served.
  • Set strong professional boundaries.
  • Develop effective working relationships with members of the community experiencing adverse effects from the underserved population (Downtown business community, public facility managers, private property owners, peer social service providers, etc.)
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, other City Departments, Skagit County Human Services, the public, local and state hospitals, community organizations providers and leaders.
  • Work effectively in team environments.
  • Analyze, programs, policies, procedures, and operational needs and make appropriate recommendations or seek assistance when needed.
  • Effectively prepare and present departmental reports and make public presentations in a persuasive manner to various audiences.


  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurances
  • Life Insurance policy
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Department of Retirement Systems Retirement Plan
  • Paid vacation, holidays and sick leave
  • Gym Membership reimbursement
  • Deferred Compensation (voluntary)

Interested applicants must submit cover letter and resume with their application. The entire application process will include:

  • A written take home Assessment
  • Oral Board Assessment
  • Background Check
  • Polygraph Exam
  • Psychological Exam
  • Medical Exam

For additional information, or a complete job description, please contact Human Resources at mvhr@mountvernonwa.gov .

The City of Mount Vernon provides and enforces a drug free workplace and maintains a smoke free work environment.

The City of Mount Vernon is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurances
  • Life Insurance policy
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Department of Retirement Systems Retirement Plan
  • Paid vacation, holidays and sick leave
  • Gym Membership reimbursement
  • Deferred Compensation (voluntary)

Closing Date/Time: Continuous

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