Network Specialist - Northern Region
State of Massachusetts
 Lawrence, MA

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is committed to upholding the fundamental mission of protecting children from abuse and neglect to ensure they are able to grow and thrive in a safe and nurturing environment. DCF's vision is that all children have the right to grow up in a nurturing home, free from abuse and neglect, with access to food, shelter, clothing, health care and education. DCF works toward establishing the safety, permanency and well-being of the Commonwealth's children by: stabilizing and preserving families; providing quality temporary alternative care when necessary, safely reunifying families; and when necessary and appropriate, creating new families through kinship, guardianship or adoption. Preferred applicants will possess a demonstrated commitment to the core practice values: 1) child-driven, 2) family-centered, 3) community-focused, 4) strength-based, 5) committed to diversity/cultural competency, and, 6) committed to continuous learning.

This is a statewide position within the Services Network Team (SNT), and will be a valued member of the Northern Regional Office team. The NS will maintain responsibility for contracted congregate care service programs located in the North DCF Region, located in Lawrence. The Network Specialist (NS) will be supervised by the Assistant Director of Caring Together.

General Statement of Duties:

The Central Office Services Network Unit manages the contracted congregate care services utilized by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The Services Network Team is committed to the continuous improvement of knowledge and practice of contract management, and prioritizing the goals of safety, permanency and well-being within our child welfare service system. The Services Network Team (SNT) is looking for a creative and flexible Network Specialist (NS) to join the statewide team. As a key member of the SNT the Network Specialist will work to ensure that the Congregate Care Service quality standards and contractual expectations are met by providers, and understood by DCF field staff, by doing the following:

  • Clarifying and interpreting contractual expectations;
  • Evaluating the extent to which contractors are providing treatment environments which are safe, nurturing, culturally competent, respectful, and conducive to a healing environment;
  • Responding to incidents and issues which raise concern regarding provider compliance to contractual expectations and evaluating actions taken by the provider to address these concerns;
  • Assisting DCF field staff and providers in addressing additional resource needs beyond the contract;
  • Providing technical assistance to providers and DCF regarding how to meet contractual expectations; and
  • In collaborating with others in the Services Network Team, or DCF Central or Regional Offices, and partner agencies, such as EEC, ensuring that the services are available to DCF youth, in congregate care settings, are high qualities, effective and cost efficient.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Evaluate and monitor program performance: Participate in Statewide Service Network performance evaluation system, including routine/annual site reviews
  • Contract Interpretation
  • Apply contractual requirements to specific situations.
  • Participate in system for mediating disputes between DCF, community stakeholders and/or provider staff related to contractual obligations.
  • Problem Solving
  • Assist providers in addressing challenges in service delivery
  • Assist field with identifying circumstances where additional services will be required over and above the contract (add-ons and/or special contracting)
  • Process requests for Additional Services/Special Placements in accordance with the “Field Instructions for Special Placements.“ This occurs when Field staff encounter a situation in which they: are unable to meet a specific need through the congregate care contracted residential system. The Network Specialist will provide technical assistance in order to assist the region in establishing the necessary contracting mechanism to purchase this service and track data.
  • Issue Resolution and Response: Implement and lead a system for response to 51-A reports as well as issues, complaints, and concerns relating to SNT Residential Services, received from EEC, DESE, DPH, DMH or DCF Area Offices, Foster Care Review, the families of residents, community members, the incident reporting system, the providers themselves, etc. This system will include the development of corrective action, as needed.
  • Assessing the providers compliance with contractual obligations
  • In accordance with the Request for Response (RFR) Protocol, determine the need for immediate and longer term corrective action.
  • Coordinate with others on Services Network Team, and SNT Provider Compliance Coordinator, with regard to any potential clinical input into the response.
  • Document response.
  • Participate in interagency needs assessment /gap analysis
  • Assist in Services and Program Development Activities
  • Participate in the development of RFRs in response to identified needs
  • Participate in proposal review for all current Caring Together System quarterly responses, or new contracted service proposals
  • Chair negotiation of contracts and contract/procurement debriefs
  • Assist in Provider Relations Activities
  • Participate in provider forums
  • Maintain good lines of communication with contractors
  • Provide initial and ongoing periodic training to DCF service providers relative to congregate care RFR requirements, including web based reporting.
  • As part of the Services Network Team, participate in the provision of technical assistance and consultation to providers with emphasis on program and administrative issues.
  • Communication / Information Sharing / Record Keeping
  • Maintain active communication to Service Network Team Leadership; and DCF regional and area field liaisons; and partner agency stakeholders.
  • Liaison to EEC, DESE, DPPC, DMH, DPH, OSD, and other internal DCF units such as Ombudsman's office, FCR, DCF Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Procurement, Legal, Budget, CORI, Training, etc.
  • Maintain up to descriptive data (including contact information for Exec Directors and Program Directors) on all congregate care services. This data will become part of a larger SNT shared database.
  • Maintain Special Placement spreadsheet to be shared with Procurement and Budget in order to document special placement decision making and spending. (See #3C above.)
  • Maintain program files for Statewide Service Network in which the NS team will document communication and quality assurance activities with providers.
  • Collaborate with Provider Compliance Coordinator on SNT, regarding dissemination of statewide data or communiqués to providers on policy or programmatic guidance.
  • Collaborate with other members of the Service Network Team in order to address quality concerns
  • In the response to issues related to program performance, the Network Specialist will coordinate with the SNT, The Provider and DCF field, regarding how the to support the proper response.
  • Virtual Gateway Implementation
  • Continue to provide training and technical assistance to providers to support the implementation of the web based reporting system for congregate care providers, including census reporting
  • Respond to issues identified related to provider utilization of the virtual gateway reporting system. Work with providers to improve timely and accurate reporting.
  • Communicate to Service Network Leadership problems identified in the provider community and in the field related to the Virtual Gateway implementation
  • Assist in development and revision of regulations, policy, standards and performance specifications related to RFR.
  • Other tasks as assigned by the Service Network, Assistant Director of Caring Together Service.
  • Travel within Massachusetts and the surrounding states will be required as part of the duties of this position. Successful applicants will need a driver's license and access to a car.


  • Understanding and commitment to the missions of DCF
  • Experience in managing DCF and/or service contracts.
  • Experience in program development.
  • Exemplary communication skills including writing skills.
  • Experience in training and leading groups.
  • Graduate degree with a major in Social Work, Human Services, Public Administration, Education, Child Development or Psychology.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills.
  • Knowledge of programs and program needs in the North Region and DCF.
  • Experience and understanding of cultural competency with ability to provide leadership in implementation in the Department's ongoing efforts to become a multi-cultural agency which reflects our consumer and community populations.
  • Please ensure that you attach a resume with your application submission to this requisition.

Pre-Offer Process:

A criminal and tax history background check will be completed on the recommended candidate as required by the regulations set forth by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services prior to the candidate being hired. For more information, please visit

gov/hhs/cori and click on “Information for Job Applicants.“

Education, licensure and certifications will be verified in accordance with the Human Resources Division's Hiring Guidelines.

Education and license/certification information provided by the selected candidate(s) is subject to the Massachusetts Public Records Law and may be published on the Commonwealth's website.

For questions, please the contact the Office of Human Resources at 1-800-510-4122 and select option #2.

First consideration will be given to those applicants that apply within the first 14 days.

MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must have at least (A) four years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional, administrative or managerial experience in business administration, business management or public administration the major duties of which involved program management, program administration, program coordination, program planning and/or program analysis, and (B) of which at least one year must have been in a supervisory capacity, or (C) any equivalent combination of the required experience and the substitutions below.


  • A Bachelor's degree with a major in business administration, business management or public administration may be substituted for a maximum of two years of the required (A) experience.*

II. A Graduate degree with a major in business administration, business management or public administration may be substituted for a maximum of three years of the required (A) experience.*

III. A Bachelor's or higher degree with a major other than in business administration, business management or public administration may be substituted for a maximum of one year of the required (A) experience.*

  • Education toward such a degree will be prorated on the basis of the proportion of the requirements actually completed.

NOTE: No substitutions will be permitted for the required (B) experience.

An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.