Youth Support Specialist - Youth Emergency Services
Santa Ana, CA Programs


Founded: 1981

Mission: To strive for equity for our youth by valuing and supporting the life   they envision.

Values: Trust, Respect, Empathy, Inclusion & Advocacy


Position Title: Youth Support Specialist-Youth Emergency Services

Employment Classification: Full Time; Hourly, Non-exempt

Reports to: Program Supervisor - Youth Emergency Services  

Department: Youth Emergency Program

Position Summary: 

Emergency Services and Housing (YE) Program is established to provide a range of housing options that meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness and to provide crisis intervention and stabilization services so that the immediate crisis these youth face can be resolved, and they can focus on their goals. YE program provides engagement, assessment, and resource coordination support to transitional age youth (TAY) (ages 18-24).

Position Summary:

Youth Support Specialists – assists and coordinates housing supportive services to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness by developing housing and service plans through case management.


Major Areas of Responsibility:

  • Provide trauma informed, strength-based, person-centered case management services that include assessment of needs, safety planning, advocacy, referrals to supportive services and relationship building and empowerment.
  • Assist youth with navigating and accessing housing options through the Coordinated Entry System/HMIS data base, link to YE program funded partners and other programs as needed.
  • Provide encouragement, positive role modeling and life skills through ‘teachable’ moments while assisting youth to explore and resolve issues related to their situation. Use theory of motivational interviewing (MI) as well as a solution focused approach as a   collaborative, goal oriented, and person-centered approach to support youth’s positive behavior change.
  • Provide crisis intervention to youth at the drop-in space and in the community and actively engage with youth to reduce risky behaviors by creating verbal/written safety plans and implementing the ‘Stages of Change’, encouraging youth’s autonomy in their decisions, and providing non-judgmental care.
  • Engage in community outreach to identify partners who will best support the youth and their goals.
  • Provide support and education to families and caregivers as identified by the client treatment plan.  

Knowledge, Skill, and Experience Requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree completed in Psychology, Social Work, Human Services, or related field is required OR 3 years of experience.
  • Minimum of 1-year experience working with TAY population, and TAY experiencing homelessness is required; 2+ years’ experience is highly preferred.
  • Minimum of 1-year experience with crisis intervention/de-escalation techniques; 2+ years’ experience is highly preferred.
  • Minimum of 1-year experience working directly with Orange County housing resources and programs (emergency, transitional, permanent supportive housing) and 1-year experience working with Coordinated Entry System, HMIS database preferred. 
  • Demonstrate a moderate understanding of Trauma Informed Care, challenges/barriers with TAY population, resources available within Orange County community. 
  • Ability and flexibility to work in a high crisis, fast paced environment.
  • High tolerance and respect for youth survival actions, while promoting harm reduction strategies.
  • Excellent listening and interpersonal skills and ability to establish rapport with young adults who may be difficult to engage within different community settings.
  • Available to work weekends and evenings, as needed.
  • Effective communication skills including writing, public speaking, and conflict resolution/mediation skills.
  • Highly motivated, willing to learn, and able to work independently at times.
  • Be comfortable with and understand young adult, adolescent & child abuse issues.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, Power Point.


Essential Qualities: 

  • Understanding of and passion for the Orangewood Foundation’s mission, vision, and values.
  • Demonstrates operating principles of communication and teamwork.
  • Displays the essential attitudes by approaching projects, activities and other job functions with flexibility and a positive attitude.
  • Ensure a welcoming environment that supports and respects all youth regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Displays ethical decision-making ability and confidentiality.
  • Models’ leadership and professionalism.
  • Ability to multi-task and maintain organization.
  • Must be detail-oriented team player with the ability to self-start.
  • Enjoys working with youth, young adults, volunteers, community partners, etc. 
  • Must be able to pass a DMV Clearance, criminal background check, FBI/DOJ fingerprinting, TB test, and drug test. Professional work experience will be verified.


Working Environment/Physical Requirements:

  • Position requires use of personal vehicle to transport youth and occasional driving to meetings, workshops, events, etc. Physical requirements include standing, sitting, typing, bending, and lifting to 50 lbs.
  • Modification to work schedule may be made based on need of the Foundation.

Orangewood Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex. gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military and veteran status, or any other protected group, in accordance with all applicable federal or State laws.

Salary Description
$24.04 - $26.04 per hour