Alameda Family Services

Keywords: adolescents, school-based, families, young childrenen
Application deadline: Feb 26, 2021
Application requirements: Send resume and cover letter to Kale Jenks, Program Director,
Best point of contact for inquiries: Kale Jenks, Program Director,
Additional Information:
Attachments: Internship Program Brief, School Based Services Program Flyer


Tell us your name, your role, the name of your site/agency.

Kyle Sinkoff and Sarah Sass (Clinical Supervisors), and Kale Jenks (Program Director) at Alameda Family Services - School Based Program.

Give us a brief overview of the site, the population served, its philosophy and mission.

Alameda Family Services’ (AFS) School Based Services Program provides counseling services to youth on school campuses in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD). AFS has a long history of providing behavioral health services onsite at AUSD schools dating back to 1993, stemming from an effort to minimize barriers to access. Counseling services take place during school hours (8-4) and at no-cost to the youth and families. Our mission is to improve the emotional, psychological and physical health of children, youth and families.

What are the typical duties of a trainee? In particular, what are they responsible for beyond client work?

School based trainees will be placed (remotely during COVID) at one of the 15 elementary, middle, or high school sites, where they will gain clinical experience providing individual and group therapy services to youth. As an integrated member of the school community, the trainee may also provide collateral and case management services with family and school staff to support student success. Trainees will develop in-depth knowledge and direct practice of working within the AUSD school systems, such as gaining exposure to school specific support systems such as the Coordination of Services Teams (COST) and Student Study Teams (SST). Trainees may also provide crisis intervention work at the schools, such as risk assessments and safety planning. Additionally, trainees are encouraged to explore their own interests through our community outreach events i.e., friendship education, body image workshops, depression/SI presentations for high school classes, etc.

How does the client assessment and referral process work at your site?

Clients are typically referred through the school (COST), but can also be referred by their families and/or self referral for older youth. We provide a thorough screening process to assess goodness of fit for our services, type of service (individual or group therapy), and provide any connection to resources or outside referrals to support continuation of care as needed.

What can you tell us about a typical caseload for trainees?

Trainee caseloads are determined by the amount of hours allotted to the internship. Supervisors work closely with trainees to assure they are able to reach the client hours desired, while also supporting workload expectations and individual growth. Typically, trainees may carry a caseload of 4-8 clients, as well as get experience with 2-4 groups. Common clinical issues that the trainee will address include trauma, self-regulation, grief and loss, anxiety, social issues, as well as sadness and stress. Although independent on a school site, trainees will have on-going support with their clinical supervisors, staff therapists, and peers in group supervision.

How is supervision structured at your site?

Trainees will receive weekly individual and group supervision from a licensed mental health professional.

How is training structured, and what kind of training is offered?

Didactic training is an important part of the School Based Services Program.

Onsite (currently via Zoom due to COVID) trainings are focused on a variety of topics that directly relate to serving students and their families and generally occur weekly. These trainings are provided by professionals within the agency, as well as organizations and contractors that specialize in relevant topics. Some trainings that we’ve offered this year include: Working with Substance Use, Trauma Informed Care, Videogaming Considerations, Integration & Pandemic Resiliency, Working with LGBTQ identified teens/youth.

In your experience, what attributes contribute most to a trainee’s success?

Trainees that can demonstrate flexibility and adaptability often have more success navigating the quicker paced and creative challenges that come with school based services. Along with that, communication is a key component of success; trainees that can utilize supervision effectively, collaborate on a team, and be transparent are often more equipped to excel in the role. Ultimately, trainees who embody a passion and excitement for working with youth contribute to long term advancement and fulfillment of being in this field.

In your experience, what have trainees found most challenging at your site?

Although not exclusive to AFS, as a program we continue to navigate the new and unfolding challenges (and positives!) of providing telehealth therapy to our students. We continue to learn strategies to reach youth and their families to make sure we are addressing any barriers to accessing mental health services, as well as providing ongoing outreach to students. As a team, we continue to be reflective of our practices, share resources, provide trainings, and find creative ways to provide remote services to students in need during this time.

Is there anything else you’d like potential trainees to know?

AFS has a strong and long-lasting commitment to social justice and anti-racism practices.  We are committed to working together as a team to play a supportive role in cultivating safety, healing, and resilience in our community.

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