Mental Health Specialist (Carver Center, Port Chester Children’s Place and Port Chester Head Start)


Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) provides mental health and social services that strengthen and support families, children and individuals at every stage of their lives. Serving 30,000 people a year, including 20,000 children, with nearly 50 innovative programs, including counseling, education and support, FSW is a pillar of health in the Westchester community.

JOB TITLE: Mental Health Specialist (For two locations: Carter Center, Port Chester Children’s Place, 400 Westchester Avenue, Port Chester and Port Chester Head Start, 17 Spring Street, Port Chester)

JOB STATUS: Full-time

SUPERVISED BY: Site Director


Providing mental health services to children and families is an integral component of the Head Start program. It includes meeting Head Start Performance Standards. The Mental Health Specialist observes children in classrooms, assesses children with social-emotional and behavioral concerns, meets with families to address the needs of their children and supports teaching staff to meet the needs of the children. The Mental Health Specialist conducts parent trainings and workshops in addition to attending policy council meetings. Staff wellness is a critical part of the Head Start program. To support the staff, the Mental Health Specialist provides staff wellness activities and trainings. Additionally, the Mental Health Specialist provides trainings to staff to promote the emotional well-being of children and families.


  • Observe and assess children with behavioral and social-emotional concerns.
  • Assess children’s achievement of developmental milestones.
  • Conduct individual sessions and family meetings to help them support their child’s emotional needs.
  • Co-lead parent workshops and trainings.
  • Support teaching staff and strategize with staff to ensure positive learning environment for all children.
  • Provide assessment based on observation and referrals from Head Start staff.
  • Administer the Ages and Stages Social-Emotional Questionnaire.
  • Administer a Trauma History Screening for every child.
  • Identify any child in need of an evaluation for special services through the Committee for Special Education (CPSE).
  • Help families navigate the school district in order to request an evaluation for special services.
  • Work closely with Disabilities Coordinator when working with a child in need or receiving special services in order to plan integrated services.
  • Engage all staff and children in the Second-Step curriculum.
  • Facilitate referrals for parents and children to community resources when needed.
  • Participate in monthly Mental Health Meetings.
  • Attend monthly Policy Council meetings.
  • Co-lead evidenced based Positive Solutions for Families parenting trainings with Family Advocate.
  • Conducts monthly Parent Workshops.
  • Provides monthly staff wellness activities and trainings.
  • Document all observations, assessments and meetings in COPA.


  • Work collaboratively with teaching staff, Family Advocates and therapists to assure continuity of services.
  • Communicate with the Disabilities Coordinator regarding any child in need of special services through the CPSE.
  • Communicate with other FSW Head Start Mental Health Specialists to provide effective services.
  • Communicate with parents during family meetings, trainings, workshops and CPSE meetings.
  • Communicate to parents in monthly Mental Health newsletter.
  • Foster strong communication between FSW and outside community agencies.
  • Attend supervision with Mental Health Manager.
  • Communicate in a culturally sensitive manner within FSW’s philosophy and mission and Head Start/Early Head Start guidelines.


  • With other Mental Health Specialists, plans and conducts Parent Workshops.
  • With other Mental Health Specialists, plans and implements staff trainings.
  • Along with other Mental Health Specialists, plans monthly Staff Wellness Activities.


  • Maintains children, parents and staff confidentiality at all times.
  • Completes all documentation and filing in a timely manner.
  • Maintains compliance with Head Start Performance Standards.



  • B.A. or B.S. in Social Work, Human Services, Family Services, Counseling or related field with 12 hours of casework.
  • Excellent organization and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent computer skills.
  • Ability to perform multiple tasks effectively in a fast-paced and challenging environment.


  • At FSW, we require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to work at any of our locations.


  • Strong interpersonal skills including excellent active listening and clear oral communication skills.
  • Highly organized, self-directed and able to multi-task.
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.
  • Effective in problem solving.
  • Able to engage effectively with children and families.
  • Knowledge of mental health, human development and community health practices.
  • Knowledge of local community resources helpful.
  • Able to work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  • Culturally competent/sensitive (racial, ethnic, linguistic, LGBTQ+, physical ability, etc.
  • Proficient in Microsoft applications.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) a plus.


  • 3 years + experience working in mental health and/or social services.
  • Experience working with children.
  • Experience with Head Start or Early Head Start desirable.


  • Manual dexterity and regular hours at computer keyboard.
  • Approximately 55% walking/standing and 45% sitting.
  • Local travel in the middle of the day to other sites may be required.
  • Bending and lifting may be required.
  • May be required to lift up to 25 lbs.


  • Requires adherence to OCFS/HS/EHS Standards.
  • Some exposure to communicable diseases.
  • Work is generally performed in a classroom setting or in an office requiring face-to-face interaction.
  • Travel by car, bus, airplane or train may also be required with attendance at conferences, meetings and other duties carried out at distant locations in and out of state and in some cases where some overnight travel may be required.

At FSW, we enjoy working in a collaborative, mission-driven environment and value the benefits of a diversified workplace that prioritizes our clients and the communities we serve. If you want to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people across the communities of Westchester, and if the Mental Health Specialist position speaks to your capabilities, experience and commitment to social service, please apply through Qualified candidates will be contacted by phone and/or email.

Family Services of Westchester, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.

To apply for this position, please email your resume to Susan Scharf: