Family Group Decision Making Advocate

The FGDM Advocate will provide family acceptance and preservation services through case management and other family determined services, specifically, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in Wayne County and their families who have contact with Child Protective Services.

Primary Functions

The FGDM Advocate shall provide a wide range of activities designed to help the family carry out the plan that was developed and agreed to at the family group conference; including but not limited to:

1.Using the Family Plan, initiate the Implementation Plan within five (5) days of the family conference and begin face-to-face contact with family members.

2.This Implementation Plan should be developed with participating family members and completed within thirty (30) days of the family conference including, but not limited to: specific steps which will support each item in the family plan; identifying the family strengths, helping family identify specific goals, listing of activities to be performed by the FGDM Advocate, schedule of contacts, and time frames for all steps and activities.

3.Families, including the children, should be seen face-to-face at a minimum of once a week for the first thirty (30) days after the family conference. After the first thirty (30) days, the children and the primary caretaker/parent must be seen face-to-face at least on a monthly basis as identified in the Implementation Plan (or more frequently when necessary). All contacts should be documented in the case file.

4.Must handle all crises with the family that arise; notify CPS by phone of any safety issues and all instances of suspected child abuse and neglect immediately. File DHS 3200 or FGDM Critical Incident Report as needed.

5.Assist and encourage the family to access and utilize community support services that may provide help to them as they carry out their plan, including any available DHS resource.

6.Develop and provide FGDM families with an information packet on community-based support services. This packet shall include but not be limited to: support service information on parenting education, support groups, emergency child care/respite care, legal assistance, healthcare, financial assistance, counseling, and one-time emergency needs.

7.Submit quarterly progress reports on each family to the local referring unit until the case is closed.

  1. Execute the activities specified in the Implementation Plan within identified time frames.

8.Assisting the family in altering the Family Plan when necessary to accommodate changing circumstances, including when key members of the family group are no longer able to give support to the Family Plan.

  1. In cases where the Family Plan becomes no longer viable even if altered, the Advocate, in conjunction with the Coordinator, may convene a second (or subsequent) Family Group Conference in which a new plan is devised, which includes specific actions steps, persons responsible and time frames for their accomplishment.
  2. Assist families in securing a successful permanency outcome within one year of DHS approval of the completed Family Plan. A permanency outcome may include, but not be limited to: living in a stable home with the parent, the successful completion of a family Implementation Plan, or living with a guardian or adoption.
  3. Closure of cases shall be a joint decision between the Contractor and the local referring unit. If the CPS case is still active, the Advocate shall submit closure report to the referring CPS worker. If the CPS case is closed, the Contractor must contact the referring unit’s designated person to discuss the closure plans for the case and submit the closure report to that designated person.
  4. The Contractor can provide services to FGDM families up to one (1) year from the date of DHS approval of the completed Family Plan.
  5. The Advocate shall conduct a termination meeting face-to-face with the family to summarize the progress made during the intervention and options for maintaining progress. Referring staff or the FGDM liaison should be invited to this termination meeting. The meeting shall occur at the final family session. The case shall be considered closed as of that date.
  6. The Advocate shall administer referring worker and family satisfaction surveys as directed by DHS. Locally developed surveys may be substituted for DHS forms until directed otherwise.
  7. Contact, in person, the most involved parent in each family served by the FGDM program and administer a follow-up evaluation at six (6) and twelve (12) months after termination according to guidelines established by DHS. If a home visit is not possible, telephone contact shall be attempted. Five (5) telephone attempts to contact shall be made and documented. This evaluation shall determine the status of the family and whether placement if a child(ren) has occurred.

9. Supports the mission of the Ruth Ellis Center, which is to provide short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless and at-risk gay, lesbian, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning youth in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan.

10. Other tasks and duties as assigned.


A bachelor’s degree in the human service area and one (1) year of experience in home-based services or five (5) years experience in home-based services.

Field experience working with children and families with multiple problems and overall ability to relate to and engage with these families is paramount. An understanding of the FGDM philosophy and intervention strategies is essential.

The expectation for flexibility in work schedule is necessary.

The ideal candidate will be approachable/non-judgmental, organized, and have a dialectic approach with stake holders. The individual should have a strength-based view of youth and community, and understand youth driven work as maintaining structure/supportive accountability. Candidates should understand program data collection and reporting.

Ideal candidates will understand and support the Ruth Ellis Center’s Principles of work:Positive youth development, harm reduction, trauma informed care, restorative justice. And be able to apply the principles and power/oppression analysis all within the policies and regulations of the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Strong verbal and written communication and networking skills are required. LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-attractional, Transgender, and Questioning) cultural and diversity competency is essential. Must have reliable transportation, a valid MI driver’s license, and have valid auto insurance with limits of 100k/300k/50k.

This job description reflects the assignment of essential and other responsibilities of this position; it does not prescribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.

How to apply

Please send a resume and cover letter to:

Fax: 313-962-0333

Mail: Ruth Ellis Center, 1519 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208

Detroit, Michigan
Ruth Ellis Center, Inc
Fax: 313-962-0333
1519 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208