Position Information

Position Information Message
Supervising Social Worker, Criminal Defense
The role of the forensic social worker in the public defender practice is to identify and develop mitigation in support of the attorney’s strategies to represent adult and juvenile clients; and working from a pure advocacy perspective, help clients achieve their desired goals and outcomes by seeking and advocating for non-carceral resolutions and community support services. Social workers apply professional knowledge and practice in evidence-based theories and social work models and techniques to identify variables affecting the behavior and development of youth and adults. Social workers that represent indigent clients in a criminal defense system must be committed to advocating for, and supporting clients who may be living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, behavioral health disorders, and who may be facing serious accusations.
Public Defender Social Workers serve as part of the criminal defense team, and as such, are bound by the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct including rules regarding the attorney-client privilege and client confidentiality. Public Defender Social Workers perform duties and assume responsibility for case assignments under the specific direction, instruction and guidance of a defense attorney and receive broader mentoring and guidance in their social work practice from the Supervising Social Worker.
This classification describes the program supervisor, with primary responsibilities for mentoring and supervising social workers in their practice and contributing to the development of processes to carry-out the agency’s Social Work functions, daily activities and operations. The position applies professional experience and knowledge in social work theories, principles and practices to assist in carrying-out the goals and objectives under the direction of the Senior Management Team. The Social Work Supervisor works in collaboration with senior management and local trial office leadership teams to assess social work needs across the agency; advise on structuring social worker assignments; contribute to the development of policies and guidance for social workers; and, help with recruiting efforts. While the focus includes some functional program oversight, position responsibilities include assisting managers in performance management, employee training and development, casework, and problem resolution.
Positions in this class serve as part of the defense team, and as such, are bound by the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct including rules regarding the attorney-client privilege and client confidentiality.
Typical duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
(Employees must be able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.)
  • Under the direction of the Chief Deputy and State Public Defender, and in collaboration with local trial office leadership teams, provides functional oversight of the Social Work program and the individual social worker’s practice. In coordination with the senior management team, assesses the needs and utilization of social workers in the public defender system; develops standardized processes and guidelines for how social worker activities and assignments are completed across the agency; and, evaluates the program and position assignments to ensure effective client representation across the state.
  • Assists local trial office supervisors and managers in aspects of employee supervision such as, the coordination of case assignments and modification of work processes to effectively manage social worker resources; helping with recruiting efforts and making hiring recommendations; ensuring employees meet training and development goals; resolving personnel matters; and, providing feedback for performance reviews. 
  • Demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In collaboration with trial office leadership teams and human resources, ensures compliance with employment laws and practices to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the areas of recruitment, hiring and promotional opportunities; employee recognition; training and development; and, encouraging full utilization of employees’ skills and talents.
  • Serves as a resource and technical expert in matters related to clinical and forensic social work practice and professional ethics in a criminal defense environment. Helps to develop policies and procedures to guide social work practice. Assists in resolving discrete concerns and issues for social workers, as well as challenges and disagreements with external representatives. 
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the agency’s goal of supporting and developing practices that encourage health and wellness, resiliency, and emotional intelligence among OSPD staff. Collaborates with leadership teams to encourage and support staff in accessing and taking advantage of resources to maintain their physical, emotional, and mental health.  
  • Coordinates with the Training Department to develop and deliver ongoing, system-wide training programs for social workers and other staff on social work practice in a public defender system. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, ensuring new-hires are trained and oriented to social work practice in the public defense system; developing training and development plans and resources; creating learning opportunities for entry, intermediate, and advanced-level social workers throughout the year; and, facilitating social worker programs for fall conference. 
  • Keeps informed of trends, practices and developments in the field, as it relates to clients and legal practices in the criminal defense system; Department of Regulatory Agency (DORA) regulations, and the National Association of Social Worker (NASW) standards.
  • Provides and facilitates individual and group clinical supervision of OSPD licensed social workers (LSW) in clinical practice for obtaining or maintaining their licensure in accordance with the State Board of Social Work Examiners’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD). 
  • Satisfies and complies with Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) requirements in accordance with the State Board of Social Work Examiners’ Rule to maintain practice as a clinical social worker (LCSW).
  • Participates in intra-agency committees on behavioral health and social worker related issues. 
  • Contributes to ensuring compliance and reporting requirements are met in accordance with legislative and juvenile justice commission directives such as, goals of reducing juvenile incarceration.
  • Assists regional trial offices in facilitating social work internships and fellowships for students enrolled in bachelor and graduate-level programs. Provides student supervision and clinical supervision of social work staff for licensure. 
  • Performs a wide range of clinical social work duties to assist regional trial offices, as needed, including direct casework.
  • Frequently travels within, and occasionally outside, the State of Colorado, including occasional overnight travel.
Qualified individuals must e-mail a resume and cover letter to Kristi.Rudy@coloradodefenders.us by 11:59 p.m. Mountain time, Monday, June 7, 2021. Please highlight your interest in working in a criminal public defense system and how your skills and experience meet the qualifications for the position.
For a summary of employee benefits (health, dental, life and disability) please visit: https://stateofcoloradobenefits.com/. Other benefits include retirement plan options through Colorado PERA www.copera.org, ten paid holidays a year, and paid-time-off for personal and sick leave. Additional information about the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender can be found at: http://www.coloradodefenders.us/
The Office of the Colorado State Public Defender provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability or other protected status, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Consistent with this commitment, our agency will assist individuals who have a disability with any reasonable accommodation requests related to employment, including the application and selection process. If you have a disability and require reasonable accommodation, please contact Laura Darrow at, laura.darrow@coloradodefenders.us.
Position: Supervising Social Worker, Criminal Defense
Organization: Office of the Colorado State Public Defender
Location: Denver,  CO 
United States
Salary: $5,778 - $8,667 Monthly
Posting Start Date: 5/21/2021
Date Posted: 5/21/2021
Required Education and Experience:
Master’s degree from an accredited college or university educational program in social work; and, licensure as a clinical social worker (LCSW) in the State of Colorado.
Progressive post-graduate social work experience conducting assessments of mental health, substance abuse, and psychosocial variables affecting the behavior and development of juveniles or adults. Experience must include a minimum of three years performing forensic social work or mitigation work in a public defense system, or directly related work with indigent clients involved in the criminal legal system.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience leading social workers or other behavioral health professionals.
  • Experience developing, delivering and facilitating training.
  • Experience advancing diversity and the creation of inclusive work environments.
  • The ideal candidate should employ a culturally informed practice.
Status: This listing expires on: 8/19/2021
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Organization Information
Office of the Colorado State Public Defender
1300 Broadway, Suite 400

Denver,  CO 80203
United States
(303) 764-1400
Kristi Rudy, Human Resources