Youth Peer Support Specialist-YES Waiver

The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD

Youth Peer Support Specialist-YES Waiver , Houston
General Information
Job Title:
Youth Peer Support Specialist-YES Waiver
6032 Airline Dr
Houston, TX, 77076
United States
Base Pay:
$34672.00 – $36769.00 / Year
Employee Type:
Job Category:
Direct Care
Health Care
Required Degree:
4 Year Degree
Manage Others:
The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD (“The HARRIS CENTER”) is looking for a Youth Peer Support Specialist to join our team. Under the general direction of the Practice Manager, Clinical Team Lead, or designated staff the YES WAIVER Youth Peer Support Specialist (YPSS) provides youth-driven wraparound services for young people, increases youth engagement, and expands capacity for youth voice across the agency and community. The YPSS work alongside, complement, and enhance the work of the clinical team. The YPSS draws on their own lived experience navigating behavioral health systems to inspire hope and model relationships built on respect, trust, and validation. By sharing their own lived experience,  YPSS help youth to enhance wellness, create strategies for self-empowerment, and take concrete steps towards building fulfilling, self-determined lives for themselves. The YPSS is an ally and advocate for young people. The YPSS promotes connection, builds rapport, and inspires hope.    

What you will do:


provide support to youth who choose to engage with the youth peer support specialist.
develop authentic, meaningful relationships with individuals and families through empathy, sharing experiences, listening, and collaborating with genuine curiosity and interest.
identify and actively share information about community resources that are available to youth.
assist and support youth to identify and build community and natural supports.
promote self-advocacy by assisting youth in articulating their personal goals and desires.
support the team and agency in collaborating with and engaging youth.
maintain open and frequent communication with the team, including reporting safety and other concerns to the team.
attend, participate, develop, and support youth engagement in youth advisory councils, governance meetings, workgroups, statewide youth leadership meetings, and other relevant meetings that inform and/or may impact decisions related to services and supports available to youth and young adults.
participate in regularly scheduled supervision.
collaborate with the team to ensure that services and agency culture are youth-driven, youth-friendly, culturally and linguistically competent, trauma-informed, and responsive to the needs of the youth who are served.
develop a network of colleagues to support youth voice and coordination of care.
serve as the primary point of contact for the Texas System of Care to provide technical assistance and other support related to youth engagement.
The YES WAIVER YPSS Job responsibilities may frequently require travel across the community and work inside the family home, schools, and other community settings. There may also be occasional travel outside of the region.
educates family members so they may understand the individual’s mental health symptoms, treatment and assist with referring to community resources.
completes electronic documentation each workday as outlined in YES WAIVER Operating Guidelines. This documentation becomes part of the medical record for the Agency.
when interacting with the community and colleagues follows the key principles of a trauma informed approach (i.e. safety, trustworthiness and transparency, peer support, collaboration and mutuality, empowerment, voice and choice, cultural, historical, and gender issues).
performs related work as assigned and adapts to changing work requirements.
demonstrates ethical conduct in all professional activities.
complies with Agency policies, procedures, and YES WAIVER Operating Guidelines.
available to provide any assistance not listed above to the Agency, Practice Manager, Clinical Team Lead, or staff as requested and required. 
What qualifications you will need:

A minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Must have valid Texas driver’s  license.
If not certified as a Peer Specialist, certification must be obtained within 90 days of employment.
Must self-identify as a user of Mental Health Services with no crisis services utilized within a year, and no hospitalization within a year.  May consider one stay within a year if it was a short duration.  Must have at least a 12 months treatment history of one of the severe and persistent mental illnesses.  Background check is required.  Preferred experience effectively collaborating and advocating alongside youth.
Have personal lived experience navigating behavioral health systems and juvenile justice system.  Demonstrate strong interpersonal communications skills and the ability to empathize, with, relate to and effectively collaborate with youth and team members. .Demonstrate a strong understanding of boundaries and principles of self-care. Have the willingness to disclose their lived experience, where appropriate, for the purpose of empowerment.  Basic understanding of mental illness, common signs, symptoms, and the ability to identify difficulties coping in community settings.  Bi-lingual is a strong plus.  Group affiliations a strong plus; i.e., NAMI, DBSA, AA, NA, etc.   
Must have basic understanding of mental illness and able to identify common signs and symptoms. Must have strong communication skills, listening and interpersonal skills. Written documentation must be clear, concise, and well-constructed.  Must be able to work respectfully and maintain professional boundaries with other  disciplines.  Must have effective time management and organizational skills.  Must be able to enter required documentation into a database and online medical record. 
Must be able to use basic word processing and data spreadsheets. 
Must have good written and spoken communication skills in English. 
What we have to offer:

The HARRIS CENTER offers competitive salary, excellent benefits package, retirement plans with company matching, prior service credit towards generous PTO accrual, outstanding wellness programs and professional development.   

Employees can also take advantage of business casual dress code, corporate discounts, and gym memberships.  New hire referral bonus, discounts are also available on an optional basis. These include mobile phone service, fitness centers and other wellness amenities.  

What else you should know:


About us:

The HARRIS CENTER is the state-designated Local Mental Health Authority and Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Authority serving Harris County, Texas.  As the largest behavioral and developmental disability care center in Texas, The HARRIS CENTER provided care to over 79,000 people in fiscal year 2019 and has an annual budget of over $275 million.

As part of its mission to transform the lives of people with behavioral health and IDD needs in the third largest county in the United States, The HARRIS CENTER provides a full continuum of services at 86 different sites across Harris County. In addition, services are provided in more than 42 different languages as well as sign language in order to better serve what is one of the most diverse and multi-cultural communities in the nation.

By utilizing the unique expertise of its more than 2,300 employees, The HARRIS CENTER is committed to meeting the behavioral health and IDD needs of Harris County residents and giving them hope to live to their fullest potential.
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