We are currently accepting applications to fill one vacancy for the position of Holistic Defense Advocate (Social Service Worker, Senior job classification) in Santa Barbara for the Public Defender’s Office.

We are also establishing one employment list for future vacancies in the Public Defender’s Office. Please select the vacancy locations you would like to be considered for current and future vacancies. If you qualify for this position and pass the required selection steps, your name will be sent to the hiring department of the vacancy locations where you have expressed that you are willing to work.

The Santa Barbara County Public Defender represents people living in poverty and who have been traditionally marginalized from a holistic and client-centered perspective. We stand with our clients every day in many courtrooms across Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Lompoc. Standing with our clients includes applying the resources of lawyers, legal office professionals, investigators, social workers, IT professionals, and others to craft the best defenses and successful re-entry plans that elevate our clients’ needs. Public defenders in Santa Barbara County work every day with people living on the street, with a lack of appropriate services and a host of complex needs. We use the tools of litigation, trial, negotiation, diversion, and services-based solutions to assist our clients every day. We walk with adults and children into arraignments, misdemeanors, felonies, trials, and advocate in mental health, veterans, and drug specialty courts to avoid the potentially lifelong, crushing aftermath of criminal cases, involuntary commitment, or unresponsive probate or conservatorship situations. We enhance public safety by holding the legal system accountable to uphold the constitutional and statutory rights of our community and honor their spaces, stories, and struggles. We grapple with issues of racial justice and equity to heal past injustices that impact our community daily. Further, we work alongside community-based organizations to cultivate opportunities for restoration, healing, and the future success of our clients.

Within the Department is the Community Defender Division (CDD). The CDD Division continues to provide compassionate and tireless advocacy and services for our clients while simultaneously seeking long-term systemic changes to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. CDD combines the knowledge and expertise of social workers, housing advocates, resource specialists and attorneys to address the entire person and all of the underlying causes for involvement with the criminal justice system. Clients are routinely assisted in the following areas:  finding housing, addressing substance abuse, connection with medical insurance, assistance in mental health treatment, and overall case management for those of varying intellectual abilities.

THE POSITION: Under direction, this position supports individuals in many ways including housing, educational and family support, mental health linkage, substance use treatment, homelessness resourcing, safety planning, employment, treatment placement coordination, benefits navigation, and general support; and performs related duties as required.

Ideal Candidate will have:
Strong written advocacy skills.
Ability to work independently, organize and prioritize work, and meet critical deadlines.
Ability to multi-task, handle high-stress situations, thrive under pressure, and adapt to change.
Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to handle difficult situations with tact and diplomacy.
Experience interviewing and assessing clients.
Excellent communication skills which include the ability to exchange information in a clear, concise, and organized manner to diverse groups of people to help them understand process objectives and priorities.
Ability to work successfully in a team environment, make positive contributions, and assist others as necessary.
Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain sound working relationships with people of diverse backgrounds and personalities.
Strong research and analytical skills.
Adaptability, a positive attitude, and an impeccable character.
Ability to maintain confidentiality.
Bilingual ability strongly desired, but not a requirement.

Examples of Duties 

Conducts biopsychosocial assessments to identify the individual client’s needs; recommends appropriate treatment options, assists enrollment in treatment programs, monitors treatment progress, and provides intervention should they be necessary during treatment.
Refers to appropriate community services including mental health, substance use, emergency housing including shelters and transitional housing placements, and medical care.
Provides crisis intervention and support services to clients as needed.
Identifies available community social services and connects clients with them.
Identifies issues that may have led the person to involvement in the legal system.
Develops plans to help people reintegrate into their communities following incarceration.
Advocates for community-based solutions as alternatives to custody.
Ensures that clients’ treatment needs are adequately addressed.
Provides expertise to assist judges and attorneys in understanding our clients’ circumstances.
Contributes to early release from jail by providing alternatives to incarceration.

Employment Standards  Possession of a bachelor’s degree including 30 semester or 45 quarter units of course work in social work, psychology, sociology, child development, or other behavioral sciences; AND two years of professional social work experience; OR, Two years of experience performing duties comparable to a Social Service Worker with Santa Barbara County; OR, A combination of trainng and experience that is equivalent to one of the employment standards listed above and that provides the required knowledge and abilities. Additional Requirements: Possession of or ability to obtain a valid California Class C Driver’s License may be required. Independent travel, including transportation of client, within the County, throughout California, out of state, or country is required. Will be required to work outside normal business hours and be available on call. Positions allocated to this class may require bilingual skills Knowledge of: interviewing and life skills counseling techniques; medical, psychological, educational, and social service resources, needs, problems, attitudes, and behavior of assigned client population; function of public assistance and social services systems; the practical application of human behavior and child development/parenting or aging principles; socio-economic/psychosocial factors affecting individual behavior, independent living social functioning, and social abnormalities. Ability to: interview a variety of people with diverse socio-economic backgrounds and temperaments and obtain specific information; assess social service needs; encourage clients in progress toward independent living and/or social functioning; learn, apply, and explain complex regulations and policies governing processes in assigned program; work independently; understand and follow direction; listen; cope with unusual life circumstances; manage a caseload and recall case details; maintain confidentiality of information; write reports and prepare routine statistical reports; organize and prioritize work assignments; make decisions and independent judgments; determine the appropriate course of action in an emergency or stressful situations; understand program objectives in relation to departmental goals and procedures; deal firmly and fairly with clients; maintain accurate records and document actions taken; identify and make referrals to local and regional providers of social, medical, and/or other specialized services; act on behalf of client to obtain needed services; access and use personal computer applications in a Windows (or equivalent contemporary operating system) environment; communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; establish and maintain cooperative working relationships. Supplemental Information APPLICATION & SELECTION PROCESS: Review applications and Supplemental Questionnaire to determine those applicants who meet the employment standards. Supplemental Questionnaire Ranking: Responses to the required supplemental questionnaire will be evaluated and scored. Candidates’ final score and rank on the employment list will be determined by responses to the supplemental questionnaire. This process may be eliminated if there are fewer than 11 qualified candidates. Candidates must receive a percentage score of at least 70 on the Supplemental Questionnaire Ranking to be placed on an employment list. An adjustment may be made to raw scores based on factors listed in Civil Service Rule VI. Those candidates who are successful in the selection process will have their names placed on the employment list for a minimum of three months. At the time the employment list is established, all candidates will receive written notice of their score on the exam(s), rank on the employment list, and exact duration of the employment list. Conditional Job Offer:  Once a conditional offer of employment has been made, candidate will be required to successfully complete a background check, which includes a conviction history check, and satisfactory reference checks.  Appointee will be subject to a post-offer medical evaluation or examination.  The appointee must satisfactorily complete a one-year probationary period. BACKGROUND CHECK AND MEDICAL EVALUATION:  Public Defender's Office will conduct a background investigation. Current or excessive use of drugs, sale of drugs, serious criminal history, or deception relating to employment history may bar employment. Other departments may require an extended background check including credit history; this is at the discretion of each department. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: The County of Santa Barbara is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to applicants. Qualified individuals with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation during the application or selection process should contact the recruiter listed on the job posting. We require verification of needed accommodation from a professional source, such as a Medical Provider or a learning institution. Recruiters will communicate with applicants by e-mail during each step in the recruitment process. Applicants are reminded to check spam filters continuously during the Recruitment & Selection Process steps listed above to ensure they do not miss required deadlines. BENEFITS: The County of Santa Barbara offers generous benefits. For information click here. In addition, applicants from other public sector employers may qualify for: Retirement reciprocity Time and service credit towards an advanced vacation accrual rate Disaster Service Worker: Pursuant to Governmental Code section 3100, all employees with the County of Santa Barbara are declared to be disaster service workers subject to such disaster service. Activities as may be assigned to them by their superiors or by law. Statement of Commitment The County of Santa Barbara is dedicated to cultivating and sustaining an environment that exhibits equity and inclusion everywhere, and at all levels of our organization.  The County believes equity is a fundamental principle that must be imbedded in policies, institutional practices and systems. The County recognizes the negative impacts of systemic racism and is committed to eliminating the barriers affecting our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian community members, as well as people of other diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. We envision a world where society and its systems (e.g. education, criminal justice, and health care, housing the economy) are just, fair, and inclusive, enabling all people to participate and reach their full potential. We celebrate community and employee diversity, strive for inclusion and belonging, and promote empowered participation. We aspire to build a workforce that is reflective of these values and the communities we serve. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and will resolutely uphold federal, California state law and/or Santa Barbara County ordinances. We believe equity and inclusion are vital to fulfill the County’s mission and to embody a culture of “One County, One Future.” Expanding the full range of employee talent allows the County to deliver our best to all our community members. We believe in the dignity and humanity of all people. We strive for a healthy and prosperous society that promotes all people having equitable access and opportunity.   APPLICATION AND SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONNAIRE DEADLINE: 5/28/2024, 4:59 pm; postmarks not accepted. Applications and job bulletins can be obtained 24 hours a day at www.sbcountyjobs.com