POSITION TITLE: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counselor PeerLINKS Imperial Valley program 

PeerLINKS Imperial Valley is a new program that provides an enhanced array of peer assisted support services for persons ages 14 and older who reside in the Imperial Valley, are served by San Diego Regional Center, and have a co-occurring mental health or substance use disorder but are not effectively connected to necessary Behavioral Health Services.  Our team, comprised of two Peer/Family Support Specialists, an AOD Counselor and Program Manager will provide: enhanced peer support, care coordination and recovery related case management services to our participants, as well as provide support to their families, and will conduct extensive outreach with various agencies, programs, and the community. 

Primary Responsibilities/FunctionThe Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counselor reports directly to the Program Manager and is primarily responsible for maintaining a client caseload and delivering culturally competent, trauma-informed, individualized treatment and recovery services as a drug and alcohol counselor for youths and adults with developmental disabilities, including those with co-occurring conditions, mental health, substance use disorder, and criminal justice involvement. 

  • Recovery Services: Provide brief individual recovery services, information, education, linking to community resources and relapse prevention. Provides a variety of interventions including brief individual counseling, crisis intervention, collateral services, and other relevant recovery-related services to patients. Assess, and understand stage of change, and choose approach/intervention to match their stage of change and their preferences. Our AOD Counselor will promote recovery while understanding that our program is participant-centered, thus, goals are set based on our participants goals and preferences and understanding that participants are not required to maintain their sobriety or to strive towards it to be in our program. Conduct outreach with various SUD providers and other community resources to increase awareness about our program and access to our participants. 
  • Participants: You will be assigned to work with approximately 15-20 participantsYou will be your participant’s main point of contact and support from our team. All of your participantwill have developmental disabilities and behavioral health challenges (mental health challenges and/or struggles with substance use)Furthermore, when they join the program, they will not be effectively connected with behavioral health servicesSome may have a history of justice involvement.  
  • Peer Support: In addition to AOD counseling, you will provide peer support, which includes: sharing your lived experience with your participants (when appropriate) to provide a sense of connection and hope; developing rapport and building trust; relating to their needs; and modeling recovery and hope  
  • Case Management: Provide information to your participant and support them in being connected with a variety of resources and services, including mental health treatment, treatment for substance use; food pantries, clothing, housing; employment services; enrolling in GED, college, vocational programs; groups, meetings, faith-based services, and much more; applying for benefits such as Cal-Fresh and General Relief; obtaining federally funded phones, birth certificates, IDs.  
  • Care Coordination: Collaborate and coordinate care with the San Diego Regional Center, hospitals, crisis homes, clinics, case managers, law enforcement, probation/parole, housing navigators, and a variety of other providers, as needed.  Collaborate with family members or significant others, as needed. 
  • Crisis Intervention: Evaluate participants for suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, and intervene to ensure safety of your participant and others.  
  • Advocacy and Education: Tactfully advocate for your participant as needed. In addition to connecting with resources and services, show your participant how to access these services in the future, and help them learn more about their health, mental health and struggles with substance use, as needed. 
  • Documentation: Complete assessments to document participant’s progress towards goals, in a timely manner. 

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with qualified disabilities to perform the essential functions.  

  • Prolonged periods sitting at a desk and working on a computer.  
  • Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds at times. 
  • Pulling/pushing items such as a cart with resource materials. 

Minimum Requirements 

  • Successful completion of an accredited AOD Counseling program (Certificate program or Associate’s Degree in AOD Counseling or Addition Disorder Studies). 
  • Actively working toward certification as an alcohol and other drugs counselor in compliance with all DHCS standards. 
  • Experience should demonstrate the competencies outlined in SAMHSA’s TAP 21. 
  • Experience providing AOD Counseling to individuals living with struggles with substance use. 
  • Must have experience working with or supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. This can be from professional or personal experience. 
  • Must be empathetic, have excellent interpersonal skills and want to work as part of a team. 
  • Must be proficient in using computers, word processors, web navigation, and spreadsheets.  
  • Must be willing to transport participants in your own vehicle (see “work location” below for clarification on this during the pandemic); must have a reliable vehicle with current insurance, have a satisfactory driving record and be willing to enroll in the DMV Pull Notice Program. 
  • Reliable and consistent attendance. 

Additional, Preferred Qualifications 

  • Bilingual: English/Spanish. 
  • Lived experience: 1) you are living with a behavioral health challenges and/or developmental disability and are grounded in your recovery OR 2) you have a close family member/partner who is living with behavioral health challenges and/or developmental disabilities and you have lived through this experience with them.  
  • Experience working with individuals living with a mental health challenge. 
  • Completion of Peer / Family Support Specialist training or Peer Employment Training. 
  • Have extensive experience providing peer supportcase management or closely related experience, such as: housing specialist/navigator, and employment services.  
  • Knowledge of behavioral health and social services in Imperial County. 
  • Knowledgeable regarding recovery language. 
  • Experience supporting participants experiencing suicidal ideation / homicidal ideation, as well as experience making reports to and working with Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services, etc. 

Work Locations: This position is based in the Imperial Valley. 

Due to the pandemic, our team will initially be working from home and in-person visits to participants will be limited. When it is not possible to deliver services via telehealth, you will meet with participants in person following all public health and CDC recommendations. Additionally, for the time being, outreach will be conducted virtually, and no participants will be transported. Our office is located in El Centro, CA. 

The program will serve individuals within all areas of the Imperial Valley; therefore, you may periodically visit participants/families and conduct outreach in areas such as: Ocotillo, Winterhaven, and Salton City.  

You will meet with participants and/or conduct outreach in various locations including, participant homes, libraries, parks, emergency rooms, jails, schools, etc. Once pandemic improves substantially, you will periodically transport participants in your personal vehicle. 

Full-time40 hrs.                                                      

Hourly Salary: $20  20.50 per hour 

To apply: Please send your cover letter and resume to  PeerlinksIV@namisd.org   and indicate “AOD Counselor” in the subject line.