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Job Description

Behavioral Specialist - Early Head Start/Head Start

Job Title:

Behavioral Specialist - Early Head Start/Head Start

Grade Level/Terms of Employment:

Grade 123/216 days (11 months)

FLSA Status:


Work Location:

Assigned Site

Immediate Supervisor:

Head Start Program Manager

General Description:

The Behavioral Specialist oversees the implementation of trauma responsive, social, emotional, mental and behavioral health education services and programs for children in RPS’s Head Start/Early Head Start program. The Specialist provides guidance, tracks pertinent data, and offers supports on mental and behavioral health services in alignment with the Head Start Standards including a broad range of other activities and programs to support student success and kindergarten readiness, which are typical in a school and/or community child care setting. The Specialist also provides classroom support through classroom observations, writing Behavioral Intervention Plans, offering feedback on appropriate interactions and skills, and providing developmentally appropriate resources and training for children, teachers, and parents. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

●        Works in collaboration with other child development staff, teachers, instructional assistants, directors, and other support staff to support positive teacher-child interactions and a classroom environment that promotes each child’s cognitive, social, and emotional growth

●        Directs a comprehensive social/emotional, mental health services delivery system that includes identifying and supporting children with mental health and social and emotional concerns and when appropriate, refers child and family for further assessment and services

●        Designs and facilitates training for staff and/or families to build awareness and teach appropriate practices related to child mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, typical and atypical behavior, and child development

●        Provides technical assistance, classroom observations, and monitoring of teaching staff to facilitate the integration of mental health activities within the curriculum and to implement mental health and disabilities services plans for children and their families

●        Conducts classroom observations and collects data on children’s behaviors to inform on-going the writing and implementation of behavioral plans, develops behavioral intervention plans and/or  makes appropriate referrals to outside community agencies as needed

●        Establishes community partnerships with mental and behavioral health agencies to facilitate family and staff access to additional resources and services, as needed

●        Assists families with developmental screening completion, identifying, accessing, and navigating community mental health care services and systems, as needed

●        Tracks referrals for social/emotional and mental health services in the programs’ database system; ensures mental health and social emotional services documentation is inputted and updated in the database at predictable intervals in alignment with program needs

●        Utilizes data results to determine additional child, family, and/or classroom supports and services; Prepares required monthly reports to be submitted to the Head Start Manager and other RPS Early Childhood Leadership to inform programmatic decisions

●        Ensures program plans, systems, partnerships, and services support the social/emotional, mental and behavioral health needs of children and families to meet the Head Start Performance Standards and Head Start Act

●        Performs other related duties as assigned


●        Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Social Work, Psychology, Counseling, or related field; Master’s degree preferred

●        Qualified Mental Health Professionals (QMHPs) credential preferred

●        Minimum of three years of experience working with young children with challenging behaviors and families; experience working in early childhood settings and/or a Head Start Program preferred

●        Skilled in modeling/coaching appropriate and effective behavioral strategies

●        Knowledge of the development and implementation of positive behavior intervention plans

●        Excellent verbal and written communication skills; ability to communicate complex ideas simply and succinctly

●        Outstanding interpersonal and teamwork skills; ability to work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders

●        Strong organizational skills, including keen attention to detail and ease at managing competing demands and determining priorities independently

●        Experience working in a fast-paced, environment; adaptable when managing multiple, shifting priorities; comfortable with ambiguity

●        Possess a valid driver’s license and/or able to obtain a valid Virginia Driver’s License within six months of employment, as well as, use of a personal vehicle

●        Bilingual/fluency in Spanish preferred

●        Special Information: Must pass a physical examination and complete Tuberculosis (TB) test every three years