BHIS Street Outreach Youth Advocate

Employment Status



Open Until Filled


Des Moines, IA

The Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) Street Outreach Youth Advocate will supervise, provide support and establish rapport with Youth Opportunity Center participants including Emergency Bed, Drop-In, and Outreach participants during assigned hours while providing an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect.

75% of duties will be as a Street Outreach Youth Advocate, 25% will be providing one-on-one BHIS Services to identified participants. The BHIS Street Outreach Youth Advocate is expected to provide on-site, participant-centered services including skill development, and crisis intervention in order to build or restore participant linkages with the community, schools, and family, with the goal of alleviating and/or eliminating identified participant problems. The advocate will engage in services and activities designed to provide identification of and intervention to support the participant and prevent or alleviate the consequences of identified concern areas.

A team approach is emphasized with close coordination with participant supports and service providers, including the participant’s therapist, Street Outreach Advocates, Program Coordinator, and other team members.  The advocate will provide support to young people ages 16 through 24 years who are precariously housed, experiencing homelessness, or at-risk of experiencing homelessness through the Youth Opportunity Center Drop-In Center and Emergency Bed Program.

  • Bachelor’s degree in a social sciences field plus one year of full-time experience or 20 hours training in child mental health; or a Bachelor’s degree in a non-social sciences field plus two years of full-time experience or 30 hours of training in child mental health is required.
  • This position should have a solid background and understanding of the needs of homeless and precariously housed youth; behavioral intervention; solution-focused treatment theory, techniques, and process; knowledge of current DSM; knowledge of principles of child and adolescent development; knowledge of family counseling and dynamics; knowledge of community systems; crisis intervention; laws and legal ramifications of laws dealing with children’s rights; and knowledge of chemical dependency treatment interventions.

Street Outreach Youth Advocate (75%)

  • Conduct intakes with new youth and orient them to the Youth Opportunity Center.
  • Provide program information to potential participants, referral sources, and other groups, both in-person and over the phone, as needed.
  • Supervise, provide support to and establish rapport with all YOC program participants, while maintaining an atmosphere of safety and respect.
  • Ensure clients have access to resources and services to assist in meeting their basic needs, including referrals to safe shelter, food, transportation, clothing, hygiene assistance, referrals to appropriate health care services and assistance in those accessing services, crisis intervention, including de-escalation, referrals to victim services, and assistance in accessing other community resources as needed.
  • Check-in any pocket knives or potential weapons from youth to ensure that there are no weapons or illegal substances unsecured in the facility.
  • Alert on-call staff or Program Manager of major incidents or emergencies.
  • Ensure safety, cleanliness, and appearance of the facility.
  • Clean out recently vacated rooms: bagging and labeling personal items, washing bedding, sweep/mop/sanitize entire room.
  • Assist and track inventory of household supplies, personal care products, and food items.
  • Daily data entry into Service Point including intakes, services and case notes. Complete all necessary logging, shift reports, and other documentation.
  • Attend all Team meetings and Staff meetings if scheduled during work hours.
  • Responsible for facilitating group sessions, including basic living skills as needed.
  • Responsible for presenting information related to Iowa Homeless Youth Centers and youth homelessness in the community as needed.
  • Must have broad, working knowledge of Des Moines area resources and ability to identify and connect young people to appropriate resources.

BHIS (25%)

  • Assess, observe, and document assigned participants’ behaviors and interactions as per agency policies and procedures.
  • Provides one-on-one skill development, and crisis intervention services to identified participants.
  • Advocate for and secure specialized services and resources as needed for participants to address identified problem areas.
  • Work as a team member in a collaborative effort with other IHYC staff, informal supports and referral sources.
  • Serves as a model for the participants in demonstrating how to deal with difficult interactions and communications with others.
  • Establishes positive relationships and networks within assigned service area.
  • Submits and keeps current a weekly work schedule of participant sessions.
  • Meets regularly with licensed master’s level prepared mental health practitioner authorizing BHIS services for clinical supervision and consultation.
  • Supports and helps facilitate interagency and community referrals for treatment services.


  • Maintains control of self in crises and adverse conditions.
  • Hear and understand others as they communicate emotions of various intensity.
  • Communicate effectively with coworkers, youth, parents, and the general public.
  • Attends meetings and in-service training as required.
  • Understand and adhere to all applicable agency policies.
  • Seeks consultation and educational opportunities to improve skills.
  • Maintains confidentiality in all dealings regarding individuals served within the agency.
For more information, please contact Julia Anderson at

All applicants are required to complete an online application.
YSS hires nicotine-free staff only. EOE