Position Overview  
The Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) Forensic Civil Commitment Program currently provides state funded attorney representation to indigent clients with the right to counsel at State expense against whom sexually violent predator petitions have been filed under Chapter 71.09 RCW. OPD is requesting applications for social workers to support contracted attorneys and clients, statewide.  This position will require frequent travel to the Special Commitment Center (SCC) in Pierce County, as well as state-wide travel, dependent of client county of residence.

Duties – General Statement of Duties  
A contract social works at the direction of attorneys to provide advocacy, mitigation, referral services, limited crisis intervention, and release planning to assigned clients. Social workers are expected to advocate for clients currently committed to the Special Commitment Center (SCC), or who are in the community on a less restrictive alternative (LRA). Social workers must also work to develop community resources in anticipation of client’s needs upon release, to include but not limited to housing, sex offender treatment, mental health/substance use treatment, and state and federal benefits.  Social workers must understand and adhere to requirements of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege. For purpose of interpretation of the Washington State Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct, social workers are considered “nonlawyer assistants” and are responsible to each referring attorney under RPC 5.3.  

A qualified applicant must:
  • Have a Masters of Social Work from an accredited institution;
  • Have experience in working with individuals with sex offense histories or with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities;
  • Have experience in release planning from correctional or institutional setting;
  • Be able to work individually and collaboratively with defense attorneys and social workers, while maintaining an understanding of the nature of defense work that includes the need to pivot and/or be flexible;
  • Have good communication with multiple stakeholders, including prosecutors, various state agencies, treatment providers and landlords;
  • Possess experience or interest in how race, gender, national origin, disability, and class intersect to create disparities for individuals experiencing state intervention in their lives;
  • Be able to travel to meet clients both in the community and the SCC and to explore community resources available;
  • Have knowledge of community and funding resources for individuals releasing into the community; and
  • Be aware of governing bodies of social worker best practice as it pertains to ethics and standards of practice, including the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).