Fred Finch Youth Center Mental Health Counselor   in San Diego, California

Mental Health Counselor


Job Summary:

The Mental Health Counselor is responsible for day-to-day care and counseling of at-risk teens with special needs in a residential treatment program. The Mental Health Counselor provides high quality care and ensures the safety of residents, staff, and site in accordance with policy, helping to implement the treatment/behavior plans for each resident in collaboration with an experienced multidisciplinary team. The Mental Health Counselor also dispenses medications when needed, helps residents to tend to their health and wellness, and may help residents to manage their schedule or attend outside appointments or activities. Participants have complex needs, and the Mental Health Counselor builds relationships with them and their families in a supportive environment that utilizes a strengths-based, culturally responsive, trauma-informed approach and values compassion, respect, diversity, and accountability.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Participant Care and Supervision: 1) Supervises the general care and safety of participants. 2) Instructs the program participation of participants by providing a consistent, nurturing environment with clear expectations and limits. 3) Assists in the development and implementation of positive behavioral interventions and in the implementation of treatment plan goals. 4) Participates in supporting participants' progress through attending groups, treatment reviews, and special staffing meetings. 5) Provides transportation for participants to any off-site activities, medical appointments, or individual/family therapy as needed. 6) Provides services to participants with an awareness and integration of the developmental milestones of children or youth. 7) Acts as primary counselor to several participants assigned and carries out all duties of primary counselor function. 8) Assists in the team approach to planning and implementing program needs of age-appropriate recreational, skills building and community integration activities. 9) Provides conflict resolution/crisis intervention appropriate to target population.Documentation: 1) Completes all paperwork; such as logging, daily progress notes, incident reports, and any other paper work as assigned in a timely manner.

Professional Development: 1) Attends and participates in all required agency and Community Care Licensing-mandated staff meetings and trainings, which may include Pro-ACT, First Aid/CPR, medication administration, and cultural responsiveness. 2) Participates in individual and group supervision, clinical discussions in group settings, and additional trainings as assigned, which may include professional development activities approved by supervisor. .

Medication: 1) Supervises participants' daily health needs, communicating any health concerns to the Medical Services Coordinator or Residential Supervisor, or other manager. 2) Assists participants with administration and overseeing of their medications adhering to all medication protocols, when required. 3) Demonstrates competency in administering medications after completing training.

Safety: 1) Reports any unsatisfactory conditions in the care and upkeep of the residential facility to the Residential Manager/Assistant Residential Supervisor and/or Maintenance Department. 2) Adheres to and supports all individualized Safety Plans and precautions for participants and communicates and safety risks to the team.

Compliance:1) Maintains excellent professional boundaries and adheres to all professional ethical standards including abuse reporting, maintenance of participant confidentiality 2) Adheres to all agency and program policies including Boundary Code of Ethics, Core Competencies, Code of Conduct, HIPPA, Employee Handbook and state and federal regulations.

Other Duties: 1) Must be licensed in CA and have the ability and skill to drive cars, vans, or other vehicles. 2) May participate in agency Continuous Quality Improvement committees to contribute to critical areas of focus within the organization. 3) Other related duties as assigned.

Position Requirements



  1. Education:

1.1. B.A. Arts/ Science Degree (preferred) or

1.2. High School Diploma/GED and one of the following:

1.2.1. Valid Child Development Teaching Permit or

1.2.2. Completed 12 semester units of Early Childhood Education, Adolescent Development, or Foster and Kinship Care Education and have at least 100 hours of experience work with youth or

1.2.3. Valid certificate as an Alcohol Counselor, Drug Counselor or Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and have at least 100 hours of experience working with youth or

1.2.4. Valid Vocational Training Certificate, credential or documentation demonstrating that the individual is a trade journey person who instructs children in vocational skills and have at least 100 hours of experience working with youth or

1.2.5. Previous employment as a staff or volunteer for a minimum of one (1) year at a group home or short-term residential therapeutic program or

1.2.6. Previous relevant experience as determined by CA’s Department of Social Services to meet any of the above requirements. Please see for more information.

1.2.7. New Yosemite program only: a minimum of one (1) year providing direct care or supervision of youth

  1. Demonstrated knowledge of the developmental stages of the population served.

  2. Clean driving record; current CA Driver’s License required, or ability to obtain within 10 days after hired.

  3. Basic computer and keyboarding competence with the ability to use Microsoft Office Suite and/or competency with electronic clinical documentation systems.


  1. Four (4) years of work experience.

  2. A minimum of one (1) year experience with program target population (Example: intellectually disabled, homeless, teens or young adults, emotionally disturbed); Preferred

  3. At least one year experience with program modality (example: school-based, residential, mobile/community-based, assertive community treatment, wraparound, etc.) Preferred

Physical Demands:

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment can, at times, be loud but is, at all times, maintained within safe California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL/OSHA) standards.


  1. Communicates clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing, with co-workers, supervisors, and participants.

  2. Prepares clearly and concisely written reports and summaries.

  3. Must be able to comprehend, follow, and clearly convey instructions to others.

  4. Must be computer proficient and be able to work on a computer for up to 5 hours per week.

Physical Activities

  1. Possesses the ability to actively supervise participants’ recreational activities, including noncompetitive sports.

  2. Must be able to bend, lift as much as 25 lbs., and walk up to a mile at one time.

  3. Must be able to physically hold aggressive participants, if required and trained, according to principles taught at the agency.

  4. Must be licensed and have the ability and skill to drive cars, vans, or other vehicles.

  5. Must be able to respond quickly to emergencies, and to learn and implement Pro-ACT (or other agency approved training).

  6. Must be able to physically monitor participants to ensure they do not hurt themselves or others.

  7. The job has potential for injury or harm, and the ability to assess and avoid threats posed by participants and the community is necessary to maintain safety.


Medical, Dental, and Vision insurance (PPO or HMO options) Employer matching 401(k) retirement plan Employer paid life insurance Employee Assistance Program Flexible Spending Account (both medical and dependent care) 8 Paid holidays 21 days of Paid Time Off


Req NumberSOC-18-00038

LocationSan Diego - Palm Street

About the OrganizationFor over a century, Fred Finch Youth Center has brought hope and healing to vulnerable youth and their families. Our clients are children, teens, and young adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities or emotional disorders that may be transitioning from foster care or homelessness, recovering from abuse, or underserved by traditional service providers. We provide over 3,000 youth each year with residential care, special education, vocational training, transitional housing, homeless youth programs, school-based counseling, and in-home support on residential campuses in Oakland and San Diego and in homes, schools, and communities in over several counties throughout California. Join us in making a difference in the lives of others.

This position is currently accepting applications.