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Telephone Screener, DCF After-Hours Hotline

Telephone Screener, DCF After-Hours Hotline


Job Title: Telephone Screener

Department: DCF After-Hours Hotline

Reports to: Unit Supervisor

Job Class: Non-exempt


The Department of Children and Families (DCF) Hotline, operated by Judge Baker Children's Center (JBCC), is a statewide emergency response system that provides a critical service to ensure the safety and protection of the Commonwealth's children. The Hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with DCF Area offices fielding calls weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Hotline fields over 100,000 calls a year. Hotline staff are trained to assess the urgency of each call, elicit critical information, and initiate an emergency response when children are at imminent risk. We also provide information and referral when needed. The Hotline works in partnership with DCF managers and on-call workers across the state to respond to emergency reports, imminent safety situations and reports of missing or absent children. The newly redesigned Hotline program consists of three units: Child Abuse and Neglect Unit, Missing or Absent Child Unit, and the Hotline Support Unit, which supports DCF with coordinating emergency placements when necessary. 

Founded in 1917, JBCC is a Harvard Medical School affiliate with proven leadership in children's mental health, special education, and child welfare. Recognized for integrating research, training and direct service, JBCC is committed to enhancing the quality of care by bringing best practices to children and families of diverse communities. 

Position Description 

Judge Baker Children's Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, is seeking a full-time Telephone Screener to work in the DCF After-Hours Hotline program. This is an exciting opportunity to work on a new team implementing and operating a significantly expanded and redesigned DCF After-Hours Hotline program. 

The Hotline Telephone Screener is responsible for answering calls from individuals reporting concerns about a child or children at risk for abuse and/or neglect or about a child who is missing or absent from care. They are responsible for engaging the caller to ensure the facts critical to the report are recorded and accurately reflected in the electronic intake report, and for reviewing and assessing the information from the caller and from other sources to make informed clinical screening decisions. By nature this position requires working evening and nighttime shifts, weekends, and holidays. Telephone Screeners are considered "essential employees" and may be required to work during weather-related and other local, regional or statewide emergencies. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Demonstrate understanding of DCF's mission, vision, priority objectives, and priority populations.

  • Exhibit knowledge of and familiarity with relevant DCF policies and procedures. 

  • Maintain a non-judgmental non-confrontational and professional demeanor with callers.

  • Engage callers in order to gather the facts and information needed to make a screening decision.

  • Outreach to collateral contacts as indicated or requested to gather additional information on the case.

  • Ensure all of the information gathered is recorded accurately in the electronic intake report for Child Abuse and Neglect cases and in the electronic case record for Missing and Absent Children.

  • Complete detailed, accurate, and thorough case reports, internal logs, and memoranda.

  • Confer with Supervisors according to protocols.

  • Facilitate DCF interventions and coordinate DCF requests.

  • Actively participate in required staff meetings and trainings.

  • Engage in organization-wide committees and activities.

  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

Child Abuse and Neglect Unit

  • Exhibit a thorough understanding of the terms and policies relative to screening as outlined in the DCF Protective Intake Policy and ability to critically apply those to screening decisions.

Missing or Absent Child Unit

  • Exhibit a thorough understanding of the terms and requirements included in the MA DCF Missing or Absent Child Policy.

Qualifications and Skills

  • Bachelor's Degree Social Work or related field is required.

  • Ability to engage and elicit critical information from callers.

  • Experience with crisis management and de-escalation.

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced work environment.

  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills, including respect, compassion, tact and professionalism.

  • A minimum of one year of experience working in child welfare, social services, behavioral health, or related field, specifically working with children and/or adolescents and their families.

  • Understanding of and commitment to DCF's mission, vision, priority objectives, and priority population.

  • Commitment to cultural humility, diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Proficiency with Word and basic familiarity with Excel. 

All applicants must apply and be granted access by DCF to the iFamilyNet system

Physical Requirements (with or without accommodation)

Must be able to climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, reach, stand, walk, push, pull, lift, finger, grasp, feel, talk, hear and be capable of repetitive motion. Position requires exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally and/or 10 pounds of force frequently, and/or negligible amount of force constantly. Work requires close visual acuity. Position is not substantially exposed to adverse environmental conditions

Salary and hours

Compensation will be based on experience. This is a full-time, benefit-eligible position. 

Salary range: $37,000-$39,750. 

Hours include evening and overnight shifts, weekends, and holidays. Telephone Screeners are considered "essential employees" and may work during weather-related and other local, regional or statewide emergencies. 

Judge Baker Children's Center is dedicated to the achievement of equality of opportunity for all its employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other protected group status under federal, state or local law. Judge Baker Children's Center is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. 

The preceding statements shall not be considered a detailed description of all the work requirements of the job.  There may be other duties and responsibilities required to achieve the principal functions of the position and to advance the mission of Judge Baker Children's Center.


Interested applicants should send (1) a cover letter specifically addressing your experience related to the job responsibilities above, and (2) a curriculum vitae to The position will remain open until filled, and is contingent upon available funding.


Judge Baker Children's Center (JBCC) is seeking individuals who are passionate about the safety and protection of children to work at our Child-at-Risk After-Hours Hotline operated in partnership with the Department of Children and Families. We currently have full-time entry level positions available in shifts throughout the evening and nighttime perfect for social work students wanting to gain experience in the field. These can be found on the Handshake platform. In addition, we have two part-time positions including Administrative Coordinator and Quality Improvement Manager. For more information please contact Trevor St. Pierre at or apply at