Expectant Parent Counselor

The Cradle is a 101-year-old not-for-profit, non-sectarian adoption agency, providing lifelong support to individuals and families touched by adoption. Building on our strengths, The Cradle is excited to support a larger and more diverse group of parents in the community in our second century. Members of the Expectant Parent Team will play an important role in the evolution and provision of expanded services to families.

The Expectant Parent Counselor carries a caseload of clients exploring adoption for their child or expected child and clients who have placed a child who are utilizing post placement follow up services. This involves but is not limited to, providing unbiased, non-judgmental options counseling, crisis intervention, grief counseling and other professional clinical services to clients and their families, as well as working collaboratively with community partners and agencies to serve clients’ needs in a comprehensive manner. 

Essential Functions  

  • Provide culturally competent, individualized pregnancy-related options counseling with individuals, couples and extended family members in the states of Illinois and Indiana.
  • Assess client needs and provide referrals/connections to community resources, as appropriate.
  • Provide education and support around parenting and adoption choices.
  • Planning for adoptive placement involves but is not limited to: Collecting available family history; addressing the needs and      rights of expectant fathers (putative or legal); supporting clients in the matching process; working collaboratively with Adoptive Parent Counseling staff and Interim Care staff; accepting and witnessing legal  Surrenders/Consent; attending court appearances and consulting with legal counsel, as required.
  • Provide follow up services to clients who make an adoption plan (grief and loss counseling) and who make a parenting plan      (assess safety of plan, family needs and refer to additional resources).
  • Plan and host supportive gathering opportunities for birth parents to connect with others.
  • Maintain client files and case documentation in accordance with agency policies and applicable DCFS/DCS regulations and state and federal laws.
  • Safeguard client information per HIPAA standards, maintain client and agency confidentiality at all times.

 Minimum Requirements

  • Commitment to The Cradle’s vision, mission, and values.
  • Master’s degree in social work, counseling, or related field required.
  • Two years of experience in adoption, child welfare or related experience preferred.
  • Intermediate proficiency level in Microsoft Office Suite (Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint. 
  • Ability to manage crises and make difficult decisions.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively on a team.
  • Willingness to discuss difficult topics.
  • Ability to adapt to changing environments.
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Participation in individual supervision, team meetings, staff meetings and trainings.
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus.

Working Conditions  

  • Works primarily in the field with some days in an office or remote office setting.
  • Driving is an essential function of this position. Must have a valid driver’s license and daily access to an insured vehicle.      While primarily in the Chicago metropolitan area, clients may be located anywhere in the states of Illinois or Indiana. 
  • Requires flexibility to work some evenings and weekends.
  • Participation in rotating weekend/holiday backup schedules and client trainings is required.

Additional Requirement

All staff are required to undergo a background check, fingerprinting, and medical exam to meet DCFS requirements.