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Public Policy Specialist - Mental Health & Intellectual Disabilities

 

About Disability Rights Texas

Disability Rights Texas is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Our mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society.  

Job Summary

Disability Rights Texas is hiring a Policy Specialist for the Institutional Rights & Civil Liberties Team.  This full time position will be based in our Austin, TX office. The Institutional Rights and Civil Liberties (IRCL) Team serves persons with mental illness living in institutions and the community, persons with intellectual disabilities living in State Support Living Centers (SSLCs) or who have recently transitioned to the community, and persons with mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities in jails and juvenile justice facilities. Services include community integration and prevention of institutionalization, abuse and neglect investigations, advocacy around rights violations, and guardianship restoration. This position works under the direction of an attorney, will serve as the in-house expert on assigned issues and, lead the agency’s policy advocacy aimed at improving the lives of persons with disabilities. 

Responsibilities and Duties

  • support case handlers with training and technical assistance
  • collaborate with team members to identify opportunities for policy advocacy and coordinate with other efforts of the organization
  • conduct policy research, write policy reports, and provide internal and external training
  • monitor and report on legislative and administrative agency actions and provide public testimony
  • disseminate comprehensive communications to stakeholders
  • actively participate on various workgroups, advisory boards, task forces, and committees
  • work with other local, state and national organizations, agencies, legislators, and public officials regarding protecting and advocating the rights of individuals with disabilities
  • actively assist with annual grant reports

Qualifications and Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy, Political Science, Government, Disability Studies, Education, Social Service or other related field of study. 
  • Seven years previous public policy focused experience with demonstrated success working with persons with disabilities.  (Post baccalaureate degrees in Public Policy, Political Science, Government, Disability Studies, Social Service or other related field of study may be substituted for up to five (5) years of experience, depending on degree and subject matter.)
  • Strong and effective written, verbal and negotiating communication skills, including the ability to do so in a concise manner regarding complex issues
  • Demonstrated experience in public speaking and developing effective informative and persuasive presentations
  • Experience working with governmental entities
  • Demonstrated functional knowledge of complex state and federal laws, rights protection statutes and regulations.
  • Willingness to take direction and independently follow through on instructions timely.
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal relationship skills.
  • Strong computer / technology literacy.
  • High commitment to service excellence while maintaining high degree of integrity, ethics and judgement.

 

Benefits and Perks

  • Paid insurance: health, dental, life, long term care, long term disability.
  • Vision discount plan
  • Tax-free spending and savings accounts for healthcare related and dependent day care expenses
  • Tons of paid time off: 12+ days of accrued paid vacation per year, at hire, increasing with tenure; 12+ days of accrued paid sick time per year, at hire; 2+ days of paid personal time per year, at hire; 15 paid holidays per year, including the the period of December 24 - January 1; up to 6 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child and up to 4 weeks of paid bereavement leave for the death of certain family members
  • 401(k) retirement account including a contribution made by DRTx, regardless of what an employee does or does not contribute pre-tax or roth
  • Flexible schedules, compressed work weeks, and opportunities to work via telecommuting are available for certain positions
  • Certain employees may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance and forgiveness programs
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