Social Service Worker

North Santa Barbara County, Mid Santa Barbara County, South Santa Barbara County
Full Time
County of Santa Barbara Department of Social Services

SALARY: $5,061.96 – $6,054.04 Monthly,

$60,743.54 – $72,648.47 Annually

plus bilingual allowance when applicable



OPENING DATE: 03/25/24                                                                CLOSING DATE: 04/08/24


We are accepting applications to fill current vacancies in the Social Services Department. The current vacancies are in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara for the Social Services Department.


We are also establishing a list for future vacancies in the Social Services Department, Sheriff’s Office, and Public Defender’s Office. Vacancies may be available in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Lompoc. Candidates interested in the Sheriff’s Office or Public Defender’s Office must be available and willing to work at All Locations throughout the County.  To be considered for future vacancies in the Sheriff’s Office or Public Defender’s Office, applicants must select “All Locations” in the location section of the application as well as in the supplemental questionnaire.



  • Vacation: 12 to 25 days per year, depending on the length of public employment.
  • Holidays: 13 days per year.
  • Sick Leave: 12 days sick leave per year. Unlimited accumulation, one year of which can be converted to service credit upon retirement.
  • Health Plan: Choice of medical and dental plans (with vision care). The County contributes toward the employee’s premium.
  • On-Site Employee Health Clinics in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria: Provides ongoing and episodic services to eligible employees and their eligible dependents over 5 years of age.

The County of Santa Barbara offers generous benefits. For more details visit: SEIU Local 721.

Applicants from other public sector employers may qualify for:

·         Retirement reciprocity

·         Time and service credit towards an advanced vacation accrual rate


POSITION: Under direction, performs social work and other related duties as required.


Incumbents in the Department of Social Services will initially be working under close supervision in a training status and are expected to learn departmental organization, social service programs, case study methods, and casework services and perform without close supervision within one year.  Trainees assigned to work in child/adult protective services may perform more difficult social service work.  Upon completion of training, incumbents are expected to perform journey-level social service work.  Incumbents carry a complex social service caseload in such areas as child protective services, adult protective services, and in-home supportive services, supplemental security income advocacy services, or in a locked facility.


DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS:  This class is the entry-level to professional social service work. Incumbents initially work under close supervision in a training status and are expected to learn departmental organization, social service programs, case study methods, and case work services and to perform without close supervision within one year. Trainees assigned to work in child/adult protective services may perform more difficult social service work. Upon completion of training, incumbents are expected to perform journey-level social service work. Incumbents carry a complex social service caseload in such areas child protective services, adult protective services, as in-home supportive services, supplemental security income advocacy services, or in a locked facility.

Ideal Candidate will possess:


  • Ability to adapt and be open to a changing work environment
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Strong written and verbal skills with ability to demonstrate clear communication
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize simultaneous responsibilities

·         Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to handle difficult situations with tact and diplomacy.

  • Understanding of family dynamics
  • Interest in and ability to learn complex material in various formats



·         Conducts in-home or on-site visitations to interview clients, family members and other interested parties to assess needs for social services; gathers and evaluates information regarding employment history, housing situation, physical functioning, financial status, capacity for independent living and availability of domestic services; evaluates clients concerns and observes behavior; develops service plans and establishes case files.

·         As a protective service worker, investigates reports of child or vulnerable adult abuse, neglect and/or exploitation; assesses the degree of immediate risk to the child/adult and takes necessary action to minimize the risk; coordinates activity with other agencies and involved parties including relatives, school personnel and officers of the court.

·         Develops service and treatment plans, evaluates client and/or family behavioral adjustment and monitors client progress toward delineated objectives; counsels clients using a variety of counseling modalities.

·         Counsels clients on available resources, barriers to employment, independent living skills and other areas involving defined problems or concerns; explains procedures, rights and responsibilities.

·         Assists clients in identifying and obtaining basic services needed for independent living; identifies and makes referrals to a variety of public and community agencies providing food, shelter, clothing, medical, educational and other services; schedules client appointments; acts as client advocate in obtaining services.

·         Manages assigned caseload; prepares narrative and statistical reports, documents and correspondence regarding client status; documents case files; prepares and serves legal documents; testifies in court and State Hearings.

·         Identifies and assesses suitability for out-of-home care placements and conducts on-site visits to assess living conditions



  • Possession of a bachelor’s degree including 30 semester or 45 quarter units of course work in social work, psychology, counseling, sociology, child development, geriatrics, or other behavioral or health sciences; OR,
  • Two years of experience equivalent to Eligibility Worker or Social Services Case Aide with Santa Barbara County, plus 30 semester or 45 quarter units of course work in social work, psychology, counseling, sociology, child development, geriatrics, or other behavioral or health sciences related to social work; OR,
  • A combination of training and experience that is equivalent to the experience requirement listed in #2 above; however, candidates must also possess the 30 semester or 45 quarter units of course work in a related field of study.

Note: Applicants who are currently in their final quarter or semester of study leading to the required degree are encouraged to apply. Such applicants may compete in the examination process but may not be considered for appointment until they have attained the required degree.

Additional Qualifications: The ability to read, write, and converse fluently in English and Spanish is required for some positions.

Note: If you indicated on your application that you are bilingual, Human Resources will place you on the employment list for a job requiring bilingual skills. Hiring departments may test you on your fluency. If you do not demonstrate sufficient fluency, your name may be withheld from future certifications or removed from the employment list, in accordance with Civil Service Rule 7.

Additional Requirements:

·         Possession of a valid California Class C Driver’s License is required at the time of appointment.

·         Independent travel, including transportation of client, within the county, throughout California, out of state, or country is required.

·         Will be required to work outside normal business hours and be available on call.

·         Positions allocated to this class may require bilingual skills.

The following Additional Requirements apply only to the Department of Social Services:

·         Selectees for employment in this class must, as a condition of employment, sign a statement agreeing to comply with Section 11166 of the California Penal Code relating to child abuse reporting and Section 15630 of the Welfare and Institutions Code relating to dependent adult abuse reporting.

·         Selectees for positions in this class assigned to Child Welfare Services are subject to being fingerprinted for the purpose of criminal record clearance, as authorized under Section 11105.3 of the California Penal Code and Section 16501 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

Knowledge of: basic functions of social service systems, public assistance or non-profit social services; practical application of human behavior and child development/parenting or aging principles; socioeconomic/psycho-social factors affecting individual behavior, independent living social functioning and social abnormalities; organizational and time management methods; report writing principles including rules of correct grammar, punctuation and sentence structure; basic computer skills and word processing applications.


Ability to: learn, apply and explain complex regulations and policies governing processes of assigned program; interview a variety of people with diverse socio-economic backgrounds and temperaments; work independently; understand and follow direction; listen; cope with unusual life circumstances; manage a caseload and recall case details; maintain confidentiality of information; write clear, accurate and concise reports and prepare routine statistical reports; organize and prioritize work assignments; make decisions and independent judgments; determine the appropriate course of action in emergency or stressful situations; understand program objectives in relation to departmental goals and procedures; deal firmly and fairly with clients; maintain accurate records and document actions taken; identify and make referrals to local and regional providers of social, medical and/or other specialized services; act on behalf of client to obtain needed services; operate a computer in the completion of assignments; communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; establish and maintain cooperative working relationships.




1.     Review applications and supplemental questionnaire to determine those applicants who meet the employment standards.

2.     Spelling and Grammar Online Assessment:  Candidates will be notified by email with instructions on obtaining and taking an online Basic Spelling and Grammar assessment.  Candidates must pass the assessment in order to advance to the next step in the selection process.

3.     Supplemental Questionnaire Ranking: Responses to the required supplemental questionnaire will be evaluated and scored. Candidates’ final score and rank on the eligibility list will be determined by their responses to the supplemental questionnaire.


Applicants must receive a percentage score of at least 70 on the Supplemental Questionnaire Ranking to be placed on an employment list. An adjustment may be made to raw scores based on factors listed in Civil Service Rule VI. Those candidates who are successful in the selection process will have their names placed on the employment list for a minimum of three months. At the time the employment list is established, all candidates will receive an email notice of their score on the exam(s), rank on the employment list, and exact duration of the employment list.


VETERANS PREFERENCE POINTS: Veteran’s preference credit is applicable for this recruitment (5 points for veterans, 10 points for disabled veterans). To be eligible for this credit, you must be applying for this position within five years from your most recent date of:  (1) honorable discharge from active military service; or, (2) discharge from a military or veterans’ hospital where treatment and confinement were for a disability incurred during active military service; or, (3) completion of education or training funded by a Federal Educational Assistance Act. No time limit exists for veterans with 30% or more disability. To receive veteran’s preference points, you must:  (1) check the Veteran’s Preference Points box on the employment application form, (2) submit a copy of your Form DD214 to the Human Resources Department on or before the application deadline, and (3) pass all phases of the examination process. The preference points will be added to your final test score.


REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: The County of Santa Barbara is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to applicants. Qualified individuals with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation during the application or selection process should contact the recruiter listed on the job posting. We require verification of needed accommodation from a professional source, such as a Medical Provider or a learning institution.


BACKGROUND CHECK AND MEDICAL EVALUATION:  Sheriff’s Office and Public Defender’s Office will conduct a background investigation. Current or excessive use of drugs, sale of drugs, serious criminal history, or deception relating to employment history may bar employment. Other departments may require an extended background check including credit history; this is at the discretion of each department.

The following process is only used for the Sheriff’s Office:

  • Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ).  Once candidates are placed on the employment list, the Human Resources Department will email candidates a notice regarding completion of a Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ).


Candidates who pass the PHQ and are in the top certified group, their names will be sent to the hiring department for consideration.  Top candidates will be invited to a selection interview. Selected candidate will advance to the next step in the hiring process, which includes the following:

  • Polygraph Examination: measures the accuracy of information disclosed on the PHQ and during the background investigation.
  • Background Investigation: includes an interview and in-depth background investigation of arrest records, personal and virtual character, military, credit, and employment history; inquiry of persons who know you and evaluate whether you respect the law and rights of others; are dependable and responsible; have demonstrated mature judgment in areas such as the use of drugs and intoxicants; are honest; and a safe driver.



  • An admission of having committed any act amounting to a felony within five years in California, or in another state which would be classified as a felony in California
  • An adult felony conviction in California, or with a conviction for an offense in another state which would be classified as a felony in California
  • Currently on Probation or Parole
  • Adult felony and/or misdemeanor conviction(s) may be disqualifying depending on type, number, severity, and how recent
  • Conviction of/or sustained petitions for any sex crime
  • Recent use and/or possession of illegal drugs; Failure to reveal prior use will be disqualifying
  • Unfavorable work history
  • Poor credit history
  • History of committing domestic violence
  • Dishonesty or failure to reveal pertinent information


Conditional Job Offer: Once a conditional offer of employment has been made, candidate will be required to successfully complete a background check, which includes a conviction history check, and satisfactory reference checks. The appointee will be subject to a post-offer medical evaluation or examination. The appointee must satisfactorily complete a one-year probationary period.


Recruiters will communicate with applicants by e-mail during each step in the recruitment process. Applicants are reminded to check spam filters continuously during the Recruitment & Selection Process steps listed above to ensure they do not miss required deadlines.


Disaster Service Workers: Pursuant to Governmental Code section 3100, all employees with the County of Santa Barbara are declared to be disaster service workers subject to such disaster service. Activities as may be assigned to them by their superiors or by law.


Statement of Commitment

The County of Santa Barbara is dedicated to cultivating and sustaining an environment that exhibits equity and inclusion everywhere, and at all levels of our organization.  The County believes equity is a fundamental principle that must be imbedded in policies, institutional practices and systems. The County recognizes the negative impacts of systemic racism and is committed to eliminating the barriers affecting our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian community members, as well as people of other diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. We envision a world where society and its systems (e.g. education, criminal justice, and health care, housing the economy) are just, fair, and inclusive, enabling all people to participate and reach their full potential.


We celebrate community and employee diversity, strive for inclusion and belonging, and promote empowered participation. We aspire to build a workforce that is reflective of these values and the communities we serve. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and will resolutely uphold federal, California state law and/or Santa Barbara County ordinances.


We believe equity and inclusion are vital to fulfill the County’s mission and to embody a culture of “One County, One Future.” Expanding the full range of employee talent allows the County to deliver our best to all our community members.


We believe in the dignity and humanity of all people. We strive for a healthy and prosperous society that promotes all people having equitable access and opportunity.


APPLICATION AND SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONNAIRE DEADLINE: 04/08/24, 4:59 pm. Postmarks will not be accepted. Applications and job bulletins can be obtained 24 hours a day at


DSS Recruiter: Jasmine Gaytan, email at


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