Director of Social Services Advocacy - Mental Health Litigation Division

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Job location
75 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
The Committee for Public Counsel Services
Street address: 
75 Federal Street, 5th Floor
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the public defender agency of Massachusetts, is seeking an experienced social worker to be the Director of Social Services Advocacy. The Director of Social Services Advocacy is a member of the MHLD management team and oversees the staff Social Services Advocates and develops and supports private social work vendors.

We fight for equal justice and human dignity by supporting our clients in achieving their legal and life goals. We zealously advocate for the rights of

individuals and promote just public policy to protect the rights of all.

Our Values

Courage   •   Accountability   •   Respect   •   Excellence


CPCS is committed to protecting the fundamental constitutional and human rights of our assigned clients through zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and the fullness of excellent legal representation. We are dedicated to building and maintaining strong professional relationships, while striving to accept, listen to and respect the diverse circumstances of each client, as we dedicate ourselves to meeting their individual needs. It is our CPCS mission to achieve these goals, and in furtherance thereof, we embrace and endorse diversity, equity and inclusion as our core values as we maintain a steadfast commitment to: (1) Ensure that CPCS management and staff members represent a broad range of human differences and experience; (2) Provide a work climate that is respectful and supports success; and (3) Promote the dignity and well-being of all staff members. CPCS leadership is responsible for ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion. The ability to achieve these goals with any level of certainty is ultimately the responsibility of each member of the CPCS community.


CPCS is the state agency in Massachusetts responsible for providing an attorney when the state or federal constitution or a state statute requires the appointment of an attorney for a person who cannot afford to retain one. The agency provides representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, child welfare, guardianship, mental health, sexually dangerous person, and sex offender registry cases, as well as in appeals and post-conviction and post-judgment proceedings related to those matters.


The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) provides trial and appellate representation to indigent persons when petitions seeking commitment to public or private psychiatric facilities and petitions seeking to impose guardianships, including authorization to administer or terminate "extraordinary" medical treatment, are filed against them. In commitment proceedings, representation is provided either by MHLD staff attorneys or by private attorneys certified by MHLD to accept such assignments. All representation in guardianship proceedings is provided by MHLD-certified private attorneys.


The Director of Social Services Advocacy is a MHLD leadership position and a member of the MHLD management team. The Director of Social Services Advocacy will be primarily responsible for the leadership, oversight, supervision, and training of Social Services Advocates (SSAs) in the MHLD trial offices in Brockton, Roxbury, Northampton, and Worcester.  Some direct social service advocacy may also be required as an educational, mentoring, and supervision tool. In addition, the Director will provide back-up to staff SSAs when they are unavailable. The Director will also be responsible for developing and supporting private social service and behavioral health vendors who are available to be hired on a case-by-case basis by private attorneys and CPCS staff attorneys representing indigent respondents in civil commitment and guardianship cases. The Director will consult with and advise private attorneys around vendor issues.

The Director of Social Services Advocacy will be responsible for data gathering and reporting related to the use of SSAs in cases supervised and overseen by the MHLD. The Director will

work closely with MHLD Attorneys in Charge, the Trial Panel and Training Directors, Regional Coordinators, and Mentors, and will collaborate with the other Directors of Social Services Advocacy and Social Work in other CPCS Divisions.

The Director of Social Services Advocacy will report to the MHLD Deputy Chief Counsel.


The duties of the Director of Social Services Advocacy include, but are not limited to:

Supervising MHLD SSAs, including, but not limited to, developing or refining protocols and standards, evaluating and ensuring high performance, reviewing SSA reports, and providing supervision of SSAs who are pursuing post-graduate licensure;
Data gathering and reporting to monitor the SSAs’ caseloads and other issues which may have an impact on MHLD’s ability to effectively and zealously represent its clients. 
Recruiting and hiring MHLD staff SSAs in conjunction with MHLD Attorneys in charge;  
Developing and supporting cross-functional teams that work effectively to represent clients from a client-centered perspective and assist teams in resolving complex clinical and legal challenges;
Recruiting, supporting, and maintaining lists of private behavioral health and social service vendors hired by private and staff attorneys to represent indigent clients;
Partnering with the Training Department to identify training needs and develop and implement trainings for SSAs, staff and private attorneys, and other staff as needed;
Providing direct social service advocacy to clients;
Assessing and re-evaluating the role of the SSAs and how their work is being implemented as a member of the legal team;
Leading and participating in agency wide working groups to set SSA practice policies and participating in working groups with outside agencies in order to provide better services to clients;
Participating in MHLD’s management team in making strategic decisions so MHLD can effectively and zealously represent clients;
Working across CPCS divisions to promote collaboration, including on shared initiatives; and,
Other duties as assigned.



Candidates must:  

Be licensed in Massachusetts as an LICSW, LMHC, LRC, Licensed Psychologist, or similar licensure with a minimum of five years of experience working in the justice system, mental health field, or related social service role and be committed to serving a culturally diverse, low-income population;
Be available to support SSA staff including during evenings and weekends as emergencies and various needs arise;
Have insured, reliable and available transportation, and a valid MA driver’s license; and,
Access to a personal computer with home internet access sufficient to work remotely.


Knowledge of forensic mental health practice, defense practice, and the Massachusetts legal system; experience with DOC, DDS, and/or DMH; and knowledge of available clinical and social service resources for those with mental health, traumatic and congenital head injuries, intellectual disabilities, and other neurological impairments;
Knowledge of case management, service planning, public and private social services systems and programs, data gathering and reporting strategies and techniques;
Demonstrated skill in supervision, coaching, mentoring, and staff development;
Demonstrated skills in interviewing clients and assessing their needs, and experience with client centered advocacy;
Experience in developing and presenting trainings on social service topics;
Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively orally and in writing;
Ability to prioritize and manage multiple responsibilities;
Flexibility for occasional statewide travel, as well as work outside of typical business hours (e.g., for emergencies, trainings); and,
Ability to work effectively as part of a team and independently.

EEO Statement

The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran or military status, genetic information, gender identity, or sexual orientation as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other applicable federal and state statutes and organizational policies.  Applicants who have questions about equal employment opportunity or who need reasonable accommodations can contact the Chief Human Resources Officer, Ted Waterman, at [email protected]

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
$92,040.00 - $102,082.00, commensuate with years of experience
Submission deadline: 
Tuesday, July 5, 2022