DSHS SCC Ombudsman

US Government, Dept. of Social and Health Services

Are you passionate about serving vulnerable populations? Are you an outstanding communicator, with comprehensive investigative experience, and stellar judgement?  This may be the unique opportunity you are looking for.
As the Ombuds to the Special Commitment Center (SCC), you will provide external oversight regarding the care, treatment, and control of adults civilly committed to the Department’s custody, under RCW 71.09. In this role, you will examine complaints and conduct independent, neutral reviews of program conformance with internal SCC policies. You will carry out this critical work by working collaboratively with diverse groups of stakeholders (including SCC Residents, Program Staff, and Department leadership) to achieve creative solutions to systemic challenges.
This is a unique opportunity to join the Department’s newly established Office of Justice and Civil Rights, where you will work in partnership with SCC Resident Advocates to support individuals in our care and custody, while improving organizational efficiency, performance, and effectiveness. As the Ombuds, you will provide quality assurance and consultation to high-level decision makers- crafting and advocating for recommendations that will improve the experience of SCC Residents, lessen the likelihood that objectionable acts will occur, strengthen rapport between the Residents and the program, uphold the integrity of internal policies and operations, and support a person-centered culture.
Some of what you’ll be doing: 

  • Conduct independent investigations into complaints related to the care, treatment, and control of SCC Residents. 
  • Create investigative and critical reports, which will include findings of fact and recommendations, as well as an annual report summarizing the activities and recommendations of the Ombuds. 
  • Provide impartial reviews, risk analysis, and formal recommendations regarding Program conformance with internal policies, rules, statutes, and relevant court decisions. 
  • Work in direct collaboration with SCC Program Staff and SCC Resident Advocates to better understand programmatic challenges, respond to Resident inquiries, and identify systemic trends. 
  • Interact regularly with SCC Residents to receive their complaints and understand their experience. 
  • Meet regularly with the Behavioral Health Administration and SCC Executive Leadership Teams to discuss substantive issues and recommendations. 

Who should apply?
Enthusiastic professionals with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Criminology, Public Administration, Sociology, Psychology, Counseling, Journalism, Organizational Development, or other closely allied field, AND at least two years of experience working directly with adult forensic populations.
Relevant experience may be substituted for educational requirements, please discuss how your experience qualifies you for this role in your cover letter.  
This opportunity operates in a hybrid work environment and requires weekly travel to a secure confinement facility accessible only by 20-minute ferry ride.
What we’re looking for

  • Excellent judgement and personal accountability to our mission of Transforming Lives. 
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills. 
  • A passion for treating individuals in the Department’s care and custody with the utmost dignity and respect, throughout every interaction. 
  • A strong knowledge of mood and personality disorders, as well as behavioral characteristics related to forensic populations. 
  • Experience conducting credible, independent, impartial investigations, reviews, interviews, audits, or critiques.
  • Experience conducting risk based analysis. 
  • Experience in mediation or facilitating negotiations between interested parties. 
  • Proven ability to interpret and analyze complex policy.
  • Experience and comfortability working directly with adult offenders in a total confinement setting. 
  • The ability to multi-task while working independently with a high degree of autonomy is vital to your success in this role. 

Completed applications will include:

  • A letter of interest describing your interest in this position and related experience. 
  • A current chronological resume. 
  • Three professional references.  

Our Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) mission to Transform Lives requires that we come together with a sense of belonging, common purpose, shared values and meaningful work. It is crucial to our agency’s mission that you bring an equity, anti-racism and social justice commitment to your work with DSHS. We strive to create greater access and affirming representation of the communities we serve, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color, people with physical, behavioral health, and intellectual disabilities, elders, LGBTQIA+ individuals, immigrants and refugees, and families building financial security. 
Questions? Please email the recruiter at Jourdan.Kovacs@dshs.wa.gov and reference 10893

NOTE: Per Governor Inslee’s  Proclamation 21-14   (Download PDF reader)  state employees must be fully vaccinated. Your vaccine status will be verified. Please note medical or religious accommodation may be available, once an offer of employment is made. 

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