New York County Defender Services is an elite public defense firm serving New York City’s most vulnerable communities since 1997. Our office’s work is to zealously defend people accused of crimes in Manhattan’s Criminal and Supreme Courts, at no cost to the accused. The office seeks a highly competent leader to supervise the forensic social work unit. The forensic social work unit is comprised of a dynamic team of social workers including those that work with the Youth Advocacy Unit and the Homicide/Major Crimes Unit.   

Through a client centered representation lens, the social work unit is responsible for conducting client assessments, making referrals to treatment programs and social service providers, drafting pre-pleading and pre-sentencing memoranda and working with attorneys at various phases throughout the duration of the criminal case. The office employs a team-based client centered representation model that incorporates outstanding interdisciplinary work and strategic decision-making. 

 Essential duties include: 

  • Assist in evaluating current social work practice and developing new protocols and strategies to respond to changing needs.  
  • Provide professional, supportive, equitable and culturally conscious direct supervision of social workers in the unit. 
  • Schedule one on one meetings on a regular basis with supervisees to evaluate workload, monitor referrals and conference cases.  
  • Assign cases and coordinate monthly social worker on-call schedules. 
  • Schedule regular team meetings where social workers can support and learn from other unit members and presenters as appropriate.  
  • Monitor compliance with Legal Server, the office’s internal case management system. 
  • Review, provide constructive feedback and workshop supervisees’ written and oral advocacy. 
  • Foster collaboration and regular communication between defense team members, including between attorneys and social workers as cases progress. 
  • Implement and ensure maintenance of NYCDS’ best practices, including creating processes to promote in-person client meetings with incarcerated clients. 
  • Maintain a positive and professional work environment.  
  • Carry a limited caseload when appropriate. 
  • Collaborate with NYCDS Training Director to implement social work onboarding for new employees, as well as, addressing the professional development needs of both new and current social workers by Identifying national and local training opportunities for unit members.  
  • Ensure that new social workers attend trainings as needed or mandated. 
  • Assist with training new attorneys and advocates in identifying client issues, trauma-informed interviewing, making appropriate social work and community referrals and other topics as needed.
Requirements

Qualifications: 

 
  • Master of Social Work from an accredited Graduate School of Social Work. 
  • Minimum of five years of public defense social work experience and/or experience working in and with racially and socioeconomically marginalized communities targeted by carceral systems.  
  • Knowledge and expertise on the effects of trauma, substance use disorders, mental health diagnoses and family dynamics. 

 

Candidates must also demonstrate: 

  • Passion for racial justice work. 
  • A commitment to inclusivity and diversity within the unit and the office at large.  
  • Strong engagement, interpersonal, teaching, communication and analytical skills. 
  • An interest in mentorship with an eye towards professional development and growth of forensic social workers.  
  • Ability to effectively and respectfully communicate, collaborate, and connect with people with various backgrounds, gender and sexual identities, ethnicities, experiences, and areas of expertise. 
  • Knowledge of current forensic social work best practices. 
  • Effective verbal and written advocacy skills. 
  • Supervisory and leadership skills and the ability to both provide and receive intentional and constructive feedback in group settings and one-on-one. 
  • As a member of the leadership team, offer and exchange ideas in meetings with peers and direct reports with diplomacy.  
  • Ability to exercise good judgment, discretion, and confidentiality with sensitive matters. 
  • Spanish language speaker is a plus.  

 

Salary Range: $100,000- $130,000 commensurate with experience.  

If interested, please e-mail cover letter, resume, and two writing samples to dcook@nycds.org by February 19, 2024. 

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