BHIS Youth Advocate – Des Moines, IA

BHIS Youth Advocate

YSS, Inc

Des Moines, IA


The role:

As a Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) Youth Advocate, you 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.

What you will need:

Bachelor’s degree in a social sciences field plus two years of full time experience or 20 hours training in child mental health; or a Bachelor’s degree in a non-social sciences field plus three years of full time experience or 30 hours training in child mental health is required.

This position should have a solid background and understanding of the needs 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

Experience working with individuals of diverse identities, including racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status is preferred.

An understanding of the dynamics of homelessness and trauma is essential.

At least 21 years old with a valid driver's license to meet requirements to drive agency vehicles.

Ability to work evening hours.

Broad, working knowledge of Des Moines area resources to identify and connect young people to appropriate resources.

What you will do:

Youth Advocate (75%)

YOC 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.

What we offer:

Downtown parking space

Fun team environment

Mission-driven work

Insurance coverage options

Wellness program offerings

Paid time off & leave programs

Discounts on pet insurance

Flexible shift and hours

Training and development opportunities

Full-time employee benefits include: 

Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance

Supplemental accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurance


Birthday as a paid day off

Paid time off

Holiday pay

Employee Assistance Program

Years of service recognition

YSS is a qualified employer under the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program.


Up to $35,000

For more information, please contact Julia Anderson at .


All applicants are required to complete an online application.