January 27, 2014

Center for Children and Families Summer Treatment Program 2014 Summer Lead Counselor Internship Positions

Center for Children and Families Summer Treatment Program

2014 Summer Lead Counselor Internship Positions

The Center for Children and Families (CCF) at Florida International University announces internship positions for Summer Treatment Program counselors. Counselors will work in one of three related programs, for children in preschool or entering Kindergarten (STP-PreK), children ages 6-12 in elementary school (STP-E), or adolescents in middle and high school (STP-A). Counselors will work with children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, learning problems, or other behavior problems. The program provides treatment tailored to children's individual behavioral and learning difficulties. The STP is directed by William E. Pelham, Jr., Ph.D., who is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Florida International University (FIU) and the Director of the CCF. 

Counselors will be needed from June 2, 2014 through August 15, 2014. Lead Counselor hours of employment are from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and on three Saturdays (June 7, June 14, and August 9). In addition, Lead Counselors will participate in a parent training group that meets one evening weekly until 8:30 PM. Many Lead Counselors put in additional hours on other evenings and on weekends finishing tasks and attending meetings. Lead Counselors are paid a salary of $6,000. In addition, practicum credits for current students can often be arranged on an individual basis through the student's own program. 

During the program, children and counselors are assigned to groups that remain constant for the duration of the program. Each group consists of four or five counselors and 10 to 15 children or adolescents of similar age. Counselors implement an extensive behavior modification treatment program during age-appropriate activities. In addition, children and adolescents participate in academic classroom activities that are staffed by teachers and classroom aides. The program includes feedback and associated consequences for positive and negative behaviors, daily and weekly rewards for appropriate behavior, social praise and attention, appropriate commands, and age-appropriate removal from positive reinforcement. 

In addition to participating in daily activities and implementing the treatment program, Lead Counselors have primary responsibility for supervising the counselors in their groups with their assigned duties. This includes reviewing plans for activities such as sports skill drills for appropriateness, reviewing daily recording and tracking forms for accuracy, and observing group counselors during daily activities to ensure that all group members are implementing the treatment components with fidelity. Lead Counselors will also review daily treatment records to determine individual areas of impairment and to determine target behaviors and any need for individualized programming for children or adolescents who do not respond to the standard treatment components. Finally, Lead Counselors will be responsible for daily communication with parents as well as assisting in weekly parent-training sessions. Lead Counselors will work under the supervision of Ph.D. level clinicians and experienced STP staff members and will receive regular feedback about their performance.

Detailed descriptions for each program follow.

Counselors in the STP-PreK (children ages 4-6) deliver the treatment components within both classroom and recreational contexts. Lead Counselors will assist in the following each day: (1) leading the self-regulation, emotional awareness, and social skills training curriculum; (2) leading an academic center (i.e., English/Language Arts (ELA), Math, Science, Writing); (3) leading a sport (i.e., Soccer, Kickball, Teeball); (4) delivery of treatment components during large group instruction periods; (5) supervising adolescents in the STP-A program during their job-training periods in the classroom; (6) organizing and supervising counselor behavior tracking and activity preparation; and (7) assist in the delivery of an evidence-based reading intervention program. Lead Counselors will also be responsible for preparing End-of-Treatment Summary Reports. Required qualifications for Lead Counselors are as follows: A Bachelor’s or higher in Psychology/Mental Health, Behavior Analysis, or related field. Candidates are required to have research, clinical, leadership, or field experience working/volunteering with young children, tutoring, coaching sports, or leading extracurricular activities (e.g., dance, music, art). Sports or teaching experience is not a requirement.

Lead Counselors in the STP-E deliver the treatment components during three daily sports-based recreational periods in which children practice and play soccer, teeball/softball, and basketball. Counselors also carry out daily social skills training sessions, participate in an art classroom led by an art teacher, and at some sites participate in daily swimming activities. These activities take place outdoors and counselors will be physically active throughout the day. Counselors also prepare and lead weekly Fun Fridayactivities (e.g., movies, water activities, carnivals, parties) that serve as reinforcers to children who behaved appropriately during the week. During the recreational activities, counselors will act as coaches and referees of the games and are required to be familiar with the rules and fundamentals of each sport. Counselors in each group will be named as Sport Leaders for each sport and will plan and implement skill drills to address children’s specific deficits and to improve children’s skills in each sport. Lead counselors will be expected to review Sport Leaders’ plans for sports instruction and to provide feedback to the counselors regarding their implementation of the sports activities. Some Lead Counselors with the required experience and skills may also function as Sport Leaders.

Lead Counselors in the STP-A will participate and supervise counselors in the following each day: (1) leading a 50-minute elective period (e.g., art, dance, videography, journalism, Frisbee golf) designed to teach basic skills in available extra-curricular activities during the school year, (2) orchestrating a junior-achievement style student government meeting focused on fundraising and service projects; (3) delivering individual organization skills training interventions to adolescents; (4) implementing a behavioral homework intervention to students during a daily study hall, (5) supervising adolescents for 1 to 3 hours daily in a job-training program (e.g., managing sports equipment, helping with younger children, recording sports statistics, facilities management, keeping bulletin boards up to date), and (6) participating in daily sports skills (middle school only) and game (all adolescents) periods in age-appropriate sports such as soccer, softball, flag football, Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, or volleyball. Counselors in the STP-A will model appropriate skills and will be expected to know or learn the fundamentals of each sport played in the STP-A. They will not be required to teach sports as much as counselors in the STP-E, but will need to exhibit appropriate skill and enthusiasm.

Prior to the start of the program, Lead Counselors will be required to read the treatment manual and to be extensively familiar with behavior modification program and rules and procedures for daily activities, including the rules and fundamentals for sports played in the program. Lead Counselors will need to spend a significant amount of time preparing prior to the training session. Lead counselors will take part in a two-week training session. During the first four days of the training session, Lead Counselors will take part in preliminary training designed to introduce the treatment components and prepare them for the responsibilities of supervising their group counselors, both during the training session and the treatment program. During the remainder of the training period, Lead Counselors will participate with their groups and will be expected to take a leadership role in supervising and training their groups. The training session will include lectures, slide and video presentations, testing, and daily active role-plays during which staff members will act as counselors and children during activities such as sports.

Following the program, during the last week of employment, Lead Counselors will write treatment summaries for each child in their groups. They will also complete staff evaluations for the counselors they supervise during the summer.

Desired qualifications for Lead Counselors include graduate-level study in clinical psychology, mental health counseling, social work, education/special education, or related field of study, or extensive experience in related programs. Importantly, participation in the STP requires staff members to ensure the safety, well-being and treatment of children and adolescents with mental health, learning, attention and behavior problems. Counselors must be able to visually scan the environment, effectively attend to and hear verbal exchanges between children, provide neutral, corrective feedback on children’s misbehavior (which can include aggression), provide a consistent, warm, positive climate for children, and actively engage in sports and physical activity. Lead counselors must be able to meet the above requirements of the position.

The Summer Treatment Program has been conducted at Florida State University from 1980 to 1986; at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic from 1987 to 1996; at the University at Buffalo from 1997-2009; and at Florida International University from 2010-present. The STP was named as a Model Program for Service Delivery for Child and Family Mental Health by the Section on Clinical Child Psychology and Division of Child, Youth, and Family Services of the American Psychological Association. The STP has also been used in clinical trials conducted under the auspices of the National Institute of Mental Health, has been named a Model Program in Child and Family Mental Health by the American Psychological Association and SAMHSA, and has been named a program of the year by CHADD, the national parent advocacy group for children with ADHD. The STP is listed in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

Lead Counselors who have worked in the summer treatment program have found it a valuable opportunity to gain intensive experience and training in working with children and adolescents who have behavior problems, as well as an excellent chance to obtain supervisory and research experience and letters of recommendation to help them in their future careers. They have uniformly reported the experience to be the most demanding but also the most rewarding clinical experience of their careers. Several positions will be available, and applications will be competitive. 

All finalists must clear a Criminal Background Check initiated by the Division of Human Resources at FIU before an offer of employment will be made. All finalists must be digitally fingerprinted and cleared by the FIU Division of Human Resource before beginning assignment.

Employees placed on Temporary Appointments are not eligible to participate in employee benefit programs (i.e., paid leave, health insurances, etc.) but are enrolled in the FICA Alternative plan. 

To apply for this position, please visit http://ccf.fiu.edu/employment/stp

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and is an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer.

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