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Supervising Psychiatric Social Worker I

California State Personnel Board Specification

  • Schematic Code: XP20
  • Class Code: 9867
  • Established: 1931
  • Revised: 04/21/1987
  • Title Changed: --


Under general direction, to provide supervision to psychiatric social workers working with and on behalf of mentally and emotionally disturbed, mentally deficient or physically disabled patients and their relatives in a State institution or clinic or in an assigned district and where there is no higher level psychiatric social work supervisor, to plan, organize, and direct the psychiatric social work program; and to do other related work.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The class of Supervising Psychiatric Social Worker I is the first supervisory level in the psychiatric social worker series. Employees in the class supervise a staff of Psychiatric Social Workers and clerical personnel and where there is no higher level psychiatric social work supervisor to plan, organize and direct the psychiatric social work program. Employees in the next lower class of Psychiatric Social Worker personally carry a caseload requiring the more difficult and responsible casework, but normally do not supervise other caseworkers. Employees in the next higher class of Supervising Psychiatric Social Worker II are responsible for directing the psychiatric social work program in addition to providing casework supervision in State Department of Mental Health facilities where the number of social workers justifies more than one supervising social worker and in the Department of Developmental Services district offices where there are at least two subordinate supervising psychiatric social workers.

Typical Tasks

Provides supervision to a psychiatric social work staff; in an assigned district or in an institution or clinic for the mentally and emotionally disturbed, mentally deficient or physically disabled, having no higher level psychiatric social work supervisor, plans, organizes, and directs the psychiatric social work program; assigns cases and counsels social workers on casework problems; maintains adherence to social work policies of the department; conducts staff meetings; trains staff, evaluates staff performance and takes or recommends appropriate action; supervises the training of psychiatric social work students; personally performs or supervises research relating to psychiatric social work; participates in staff conferences; assists in the development of effective social work procedures; works with mental facility and departmental administrators for the purpose of improving policies and procedures as they relate to the social work program; establishes and maintains cooperative working relations with community agencies; assists in the development of programs of community planning, education, and consultation in mental and physical health; develops and directs a boarding home program for the area and arranges for placements of patients on leave of absence; addresses groups on the psychiatric social work program; dictates correspondence and prepares reports.

Minimum Qualifications

Either I


Two years of experience performing the duties of a Psychiatric Social Worker in the California state service.



Experience: Four years of experience in Psychiatric Social Work, at least one year of which must have been as a social work supervisor and at least two years of which must have been in a child guidance or psychiatric clinic, in a psychiatric extramural program, in a psychiatric hospital, or in a psychiatric department of a hospital; or in a hospital for the physically disabled. and


Education: Completion of a two-year graduate curriculum in social work in a recognized school of social work. (In appraising experience, more weight will be given to the breadth of pertinent experience and the evidence of the candidate's ability to accept and fulfill increasing responsibility than to the length of his experience.)

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: Principles, procedures, techniques, trends and literature of social work with particular reference to psychiatric social work; community organization principles; applying the principles of mental health education; characteristics and social aspects of mental and emotional disturbances and mental deficiency and physically disabled scope and activities of public and private health and welfare agencies; current trends in mental hygiene, public health and public welfare and Federal and State programs in these fields; principles and practices of supervision and supervising others, evaluating their work, and giving in-service training; the department's affirmative action program objectives; a supervisor's role in the affirmative action program and the processes available to meet affirmative action objectives.


Ability to: Arrange placements for patients on leave of absence; apply the principles of mental and physical health education; supervise others, evaluate their work, and give in-service training; establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the work; secure accurate social data, record such data systematically, write clear, accurate and concise reports, and interpret statistical data; develop and direct a boarding home program for patients; give field work training to psychiatric social work students; analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action; speak and write effectively; effectively contribute to the department's affirmative action objectives.

Special Personal Characteristics

An objective and sympathetic understanding of the mentally, emotionally disturbed or mentally deficient or physically disabled; tolerance; tact; and emotional stability.

Updated 6/3/2012
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