Youth Support Specialist - Independent Living Program
Santa Ana, CA Programs
Job Type


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 (YSS) – ILP 

Employment Classification: Hourly, Non-exempt

Reports to: Program Supervisor, Independent Living Program (ILP)

Department: Programs

Program Summary: The Independent Living Program provides workshops, special events and support services to help youth ages 16-21 prepare for emancipation.

Position Summary: YSS provides one-on-one engagement, assessment, instruction, guidance, and support to youth. YSS will facilitate and provide supportive services that will ensure youth is able to secure and maintain their housing placement and achieve independence. This position requires a flexible schedule including evenings and some weekends.


Major Areas of Responsibility:

  • Complete initial and on-going assessment of youth for eligibility and needs in order to set goals and action plans.
  • Regularly meet with youth to support progress toward goals and action plans
  • Independently make significant case plan decisions regarding assigned youth
  • Provide crisis intervention and link youth to appropriate crisis services
  • Conduct internal and external referrals and linkages as needed to ensure youth success in their housing placement
  • Connect youth to Orangewood and community services such as shelters, medical & mental health treatment, public assistance, and other applicable services
  • Provide a strong, positive, and highly professional presence amongst partners and in the community
  • Participate in partner collaboration meetings and be able to evaluate processes and discuss challenges assigned youth may be experiencing
  • Maintain contact with stakeholders such as social workers, etc.
  • Update and maintain web-based database to track notes, goal progress, etc.
  • Provide outstanding customer service
  • Participate in all other organization meetings and trainings

Knowledge, Skill and Experience Requirements:

  • Must be a minimum of twenty-one years old.
  • Pass a criminal background check, FBI/DOJ fingerprinting, TB test, drug screen, employment verification and DMV clearance.
  • Possess a valid California driver’s license and proof of automobile insurance.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services, Sociology, Social Work, Education, Psychology, or related field required.
  • One-year experience in the human services field, higher education, working with homeless transitional age youth, current and former foster youth, counseling, or relevant experience.
  • Possess basic understanding of developmental learning theory and adolescent and child abuse issues.
  • Ideal candidate will have an understanding of systemic issues which impact transitional age youth such as issues with social services, law enforcement, criminal and civil legal systems. 
  • Responds appropriately and with sensitivity to youth in crisis or experiencing mental, physical, emotional or behavioral distress and uses a variety of methods to offer short term, immediate assistance. 
  • Ability to work sensitively with traumatized youth using a trauma informed, survivor centered and harm reduction approach.
  • Makes sound and timely decisions under pressure. Recognizes what is most suitable in particular situations. Effectively makes decisions in non-standard situations. Exhibits independence, decisiveness and responsibility.  
  • Ability to work under pressure, manage and meet deadlines.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Preferred Bi-lingual in Spanish but not required
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications; Outlook, Word, Excel, Power Point, and Access.

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.
  • 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.

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 up to approximately 50 lbs. (i.e. tables, chairs, food, water, etc.) 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 law.

Salary Description
$24.04 - $26.04 per hour