Forensic Social Worker

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Job location
507 W. 11th Street
Austin, TX 78731
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Capital Area Private Defender Service
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

The Capital Area Private Defender Service (CAPDS) is a 501(c)(3) charged with improving the quality of indigent defense in Travis County through supporting, managing, and training over 200 court-appointed attorneys. We are the recipients of a grant for two forensic social workers. The social workers, in partnership with staff, will design and implement a social work program that meets the unique needs of an assigned counsel system. Working with assigned counsel and their clients, the social workers will be part of the defense team and will assist the attorneys in all appropriate aspects of the criminal case. The social workers will be supervised by a staff attorney, however, we would like at least one of the people hired to have a master’s level degree and that person will be considered the ‘lead’ social worker.
More information about CAPDS can be found on our website:
• Interviewing and assessing clients in the jail and/or the office of the attorney;
• Case management;
• Appropriate program placement in order to secure release from jail or to assist in plea negotiations;
• Educating clients about the criminal process and assisting them in overcoming barriers to success;
• Forensic mitigation reports (pre-pleading reports) as requested by the attorney;
• Assisting trial attorneys prepare for mitigation;
• Providing supportive services to clients and their families;
• When appropriate, supervising social work interns;
• Communicating with the attorney about the status of clients;
• Where appropriate, providing status information to the attorney and staff of the mental health dockets.
• In some circumstances, appear on the record with defense counsel to advocate for clients;
• In partnership with other CAPDS Staff, create referral process for attorneys;
• In partnership with CAPDS staff, implement social worker policies and procedures that are consistent with indigent defense best practices;
• In partnership with CAPDS staff, create meaningful caseload standards;
• Educate attorneys through trainings and individual conferencing about the utility of forensic social workers;
• Educate attorneys on the benefit of pre-pleading mitigation reports and the use of a mitigation specialist during trial;
• Educate attorneys about forensic client interviewing so that attorneys can begin the intake process;
• Design and implement an intake process and form;
• Provide information and consults to attorneys to assist clients even when the client is not accepted into the social work program;
• Provide regular reports and feedback about the use of social workers in an assigned counsel setting;


• Master-Level (LMSW) preferred, social worker license required;
• Experience designing or implementing policies and procedures in an indigent defense setting, including caseload standards and eligibility requirements preferred;
• Experience working in criminal justice;
• Experience writing mitigation reports and/or strong writing skills and the ability to learn how to write a report;
• Experience working with people who have a diagnosed mental disorder;
• Experience working with low-income people;
• Experience and/or willingness to work with criminal defense attorneys;
• Willingness to visit clients at the county jail, state hospital, and treatment locations around Travis County.
• Familiarity with substance abuse and mental health program referral process;
• Ability to work under stressful, challenging, and chaotic conditions;
• Ability to work as part of a team;
• Interest in social justice and criminal law;
• Spanish language preferred.

To apply: 

To apply: Please send resume, cover letter, and list of three references to [email protected] as one document with ‘social worker’ in the subject line. Only electronic communications will be accepted. Please demonstrate in your cover letter that you meet the minimum qualifications. Only applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be considered. Application deadline is August 22, 2016 or until filled. Salary DOE, anticipated start date is October 1, 2016.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
Salary beings at $47,00, DOE.
Submission deadline: 
Monday, August 22, 2016