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City of Newton: Director of Social Services

Position Title: Director of Social Services
Department: Health and Human Services
Supervisor: Commissioner of Health and Human Services
Employment Type: Full-Time
Compensation: $85,440 – $90,641

For more information or to apply, please visit

Primary Purpose:
This senior leadership position provides critical management of the social services division to implement programs and identify resources to maximize assistance to Newton residents. The division is designed to be wide ranging and the Director must be able to address various types of needs including but not limited to: housing, financial assistance, workforce development, access to benefits, mental health support and referral, substance use referrals, and general case management across the life span.

The Director manages a small division, focusing on both short-term case management and community programming designed to educate and support Newton residents. The Director conducts regular analysis of community needs and keeps up to date on current trends and best practices in the field, using this information to set divisional goals and track achievement. The Director also provides consultation and support across city departments and with a wide range of community partners on social service issues. This includes facilitating working groups and building and leading coalitions around social service issues. It also includes public presentations and in-service trainings on various topics. The position serves to bridge other public health related activities with human services related activities, promoting a holistic approach to community health in Newton. The position is also responsible for identifying funding opportunities, applying for them and overseeing grants awarded. A visible leader in the community, the position requires strong professionalism, an exemplary work ethic, a solution-oriented attitude, and a willingness to be flexible and collaborative as the needs of our City change over time.


Scope and Judgment: This position requires a strong clinical background, management experience at both the clinical and the programmatic level and the ability to work within a very wide range of social service arenas. The position must be able to take fast, decisive action when matters are time sensitive, while recognizing the municipal setting and limits to resources. The position must be able to learn new social service arenas quickly and frequently in order to respond to the wide ranging and ever-changing needs in our community. The position must be able to effectively advise supervisees and role model excellent clinical and professional judgment.

Supervision Received:  Position reports to the Commissioner of Health and Human Services and operates in accordance with applicable state and local laws and regulations, department policies and procedures, requiring the ability to plan and perform operations to independently complete assigned tasks according to a prescribed time schedule. Independently establishes own daily work plan based on regular routine and special assignments.

Supervision Given: Provides supervision to Assistant Director of Social Services and Case Manager. May provide clinical supervision to other city employees and/or interns and students.

Job Environment:
Work is performed under typical office conditions as well as other settings including home visits, community-based settings and responding to emergencies.

Frequent contact with the general public, other city departments and officials, outside agencies, businesses, vendors, and other governmental organizations and attorneys, etc.  Communication is by means of in person meetings, telephone, online meeting platforms, personal discussion, and correspondence and involves discussing routine and confidential information, requiring patience, courtesy and judgment.

The work is often unpredictable, and the Director should expect sudden requests for assistance, walk-in clients, responding to off-site settings to support colleague or resident needs (the latter is less frequent).

Has access to confidential and sensitive information. Errors in judgment could result in significant delay or loss of services, legal ramifications, adverse public relations, and monetary loss.

Essential Functions:
(The essential functions or duties listed are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed.  The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position.)


  • Provides strategic analysis of the needs of residents and develops cost effective proposals for how to enhance current social service delivery approaches and create new systems to better serve current and potential recipients.
  • Works with and supervises a small social services team to determine the needs of residents and to coordinate mental health and social services directly with clients and through referrals.
  • Develops and implements clear, responsive protocols to serve client needs in a timely and effective manner, leveraging limited social service personnel and resources to their greatest potential.
  • Leads, consults and actively participates in emergency and/or crisis situations.
  • Researches and compiles resources for clients for referrals.
  • Identifies areas of unmet need, advocating for more comprehensive services when necessary.
  • Convenes and facilitates goal-oriented working groups consisting of diverse stakeholders from across city departments, Newton Public Schools, nonprofits, health care institutions, resident advisors and more, to identify areas of need and develop and implement impactful responses. These might include issues such as: hoarding, substance abuse, elderly abuse, utility advocacy, human trafficking, emergency shelter, housing, transportation, workforce development, access to quality child-care and more.
  • Provides presentations to community members and/or in professional settings to promote education and dialogue on a wide variety of social services. Must be comfortable with public presentations.
  • Assigns social services caseloads and provides social work supervision to employees in assigned social service program areas. Provides direct service to residents when needed.
  • Carries out supervisory responsibilities consistent with city policies and applicable laws. Supervisory responsibilities include performance evaluation/management of social service staff.
  • Establishes and maintains close working relationships with other city departments, nonprofits, school personnel and more to effectively create collaborative approaches to serving residents.
  • Supervises, oversees and provides advocacy and needed social work services, medical and financial assistance for individuals and families, based on highly sensitive, confidential and personal information.
  • Interprets and explains rules and regulations governing eligibility for public benefits and assistance resources.
  • Supervises the City’s participation in the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) fuel assistance program to assist low-income individuals and families during heating season. Works cooperatively with ABCD to provide emergency heating service such as system repair/replacement and weatherization.
  • Maintains working knowledge of current and new resources that social work staff utilize in assisting clients, including, but not limited to fuel assistance, SNAP (food stamps), housing options, emergency relief, transportation, Medicaid/Mass Health, Medicare, SSI, SSDI.
  • Researches, writes and manages grant funding to provide additional resources to the Newton community as well as participates in funding decisions as needed.
  • Maintains working knowledge of all local, state and Federal legislation and educates/advises Executive Office, City Council, and other city departments about its potential impact on Newton and its residents.
  • Advocates at local, state, and federal level for affordable and appropriate housing, financial resources, access to health care, and community resources that support optimum quality of life for Newton residents.
  • Maintains knowledge of trends and developments in the field of social services.
  • Recruits/supervises/mentors undergraduate and graduate level student interns in the field of social work and other social service areas.
  • Participates in the budget planning and implementation process relevant to social services.
  • Participates in departmental planning and management as requested to promote a unified and strong department.
  • Provides ongoing evaluation of social service program goals and objectives.
  • Develops, implements and leads community-based programs
  • Assures adherence to confidentiality policies, procedures and laws.
  • Ensures records, reports, documents, forms and other data are prepared and protected as necessary.
  • Performs other duties as required.

Education, Training, and Experience:

  • MSW/LICSW, MA psychology, LMHP or similar degrees and 5-10 years of management and clinical experience. Experience supervising staff a must. Experience developing and overseeing community programs strongly preferred.  Demonstrated organizational, time management and prioritization skills.
  • Strong computer skills including Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel and experience using data bases.
  • Community based needs assessment experience preferred.
  • A strong commitment to public service required.
  • Valid Massachusetts Driver’s License is required.

Knowledge, Ability and Skill:
Knowledge. Position requires knowledge of social service trends and best practices, appropriate clinical responses in a wide range of situations, clinical and professional supervision best practices and appropriate documentation and confidentiality protection approaches.

Ability.  Position requires the ability to comprehend the scope of laws, rules and regulations pertaining to specialty area.  Ability to organize time, work independently and accomplish tasks despite frequent interruptions.  Ability to maintain detailed records and data base.   Ability to operate various types of office equipment.  Ability to maintain confidentiality of information. Ability to organize clerical and statistical records.  Ability to maintain detailed and extensive records and to prepare reports from same.  Ability to work effectively under time constraints to meet deadlines.  Ability to deal tactfully and appropriately with the general public and City departments in an effective manner.  Ability to interpret and follow departmental procedures and guidelines. Ability to be a strong team player.  Ability to absorb and learn quickly and maintain a departmental sense of urgency. Ability to use judgement in the analysis of facts and circumstances to solve practical problems and deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram or schedule form. Ability to be a strong team player.  Ability to perform public presentations to educate and support residents and/or colleagues.

Skills.  Expertise and skill in using personal computers and common computer programs (Outlook, Word, Powerpoint, Excel) and database and spreadsheet applications. Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills.  Excellent writing skills including memos, reports, proposals, analyses and professional communications.

Physical Requirements
(The physical demands described here represent those requirements that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.)

Regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, feel or operate objects, tools, equipment, machinery or controls, and reach with hands and arms as in picking up/accessing paper, files, and other common office objects as well as equipment and supplies relating to programs and needs in the HHS Department. Lifts and/or moves objects weighing up to 20 pounds. Manually operates all office equipment and other necessary equipment. Needs to operate a computer keyboard at an efficient speed. 

Performance Standard
Employees at all levels are expected to effectively work together to meet the needs of the community and the City through work behaviors demonstrating the City’s values. Employees are also expected to lead by example and demonstrate the highest level of ethics.

(This job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer and requirements of the job change.)