Social Service Advocate/Social Worker/Juvenile Division/Fall River
YAD is seeking Social Service Advocates (SSA) for its Fall River Office. The SSA works with the attorneys and other team members to help juvenile defendants achieve the best possible legal and life outcomes. Research has shown that meeting the formative developmental needs of young people is essential to both short and long term legal success.
The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is the state agency in Massachusetts responsible for providing legal services to indigent persons in criminal and civil matters in which the law requires the appointment of counsel for any person who cannot afford to retain counsel. The agency provides representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, child welfare, mental health, sexually dangerous person and sex offender registry cases, as well as appeals and post-conviction cases related to those matters.
The Youth Advocacy Division (YAD), the juvenile defender division of CPCS, is committed to ensuring that every indigent child in Massachusetts has access to zealous legal representation, which incorporates a Positive Youth Development approach, in delinquency and youthful offender cases from a diverse and ever improving community of juvenile defenders consisting of both private appointed counsel and staff public defenders. In addition to delinquency and youthful offender cases, YAD advocates handle juvenile appeals, GCL revocation cases, juvenile lifer parole release hearings, juvenile murder cases, and a range of other juvenile related matters. YAD provides leadership, training, support, and oversight to the entire juvenile defense bar in Massachusetts.
MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS:
Master’s degree in social work, psychology or related field strongly preferred.
Bachelor’s degree in social work or related field, two years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of skills, education, and experience
Must have insured, reliable and available transportation, and a valid MA driver’s license
Experience working with children, adolescents, and families, preferably within communities of racial or linguistic minorities.
Commitment to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.
Knowledge of social, psychological, economic, community, legal, and medical factors that impact children and their families.
Knowledge of Positive Youth Development and adolescent development.
Experience working with high risk adolescents and families.
Skills in client interviewing, assessment, case management, and treatment planning.
Awareness and knowledge of Trauma and its impact on child and adolescent development and family functioning.
Skilled in interacting with persons of various social, racial, cultural, economic, and educational backgrounds.
Knowledge of public and private social services systems and resources, especially those serving children and teens.
Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and persuasively orally and in writing.
Proven ability to work effectively independently and as part of a team.
Ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships within the office and the service provider community.
Ability to prioritize and manage multiple clients and responsibilities.
Bilingual candidates preferred
Applicants should submit (1) a resume, (2) a thoughtful written statement of interest no longer than two pages, and (3) a writing sample of not more than 10 pages.
AD is seeking Social Service Advocates (SSA) for its Fall River Office. The SSA works with the attorneys and other team members to help juvenile defendants achieve the best possible legal and life outcomes. Research has shown that meeting the formative developmental needs of young people is essential to both short and long term legal success. The SSA is an essential member of the legal team and works with the client in the context of the attorney-client privilege. SSAs play a critical role in screening clients for possible competence and/or criminal responsibility issues. As part of working with the attorney on the pending legal case, the SSA also helps to identify the social and clinical issues that preceded arrest and those that may result from court involvement. The SSA promotes positive youth development by providing clinical case management utilizing a therapeutic approach in large part by identifying, and connecting clients with, a variety of clinical, educational, vocational, and social opportunities.
As an integral member of the team, the SSA role includes bio-psychosocial interviewing and assessment, social history investigation, forensic case management, advocacy for clients within court, educational, mental health and social service systems; family interactions and interventions; treatment and alternative sentencing planning; report writing, and actively connecting clients with programs and needed services. This work occurs at all stages of the court process, from pre-arraignment to disposition (including DYS staffings and the RRT). Each SSA shares responsibility with the Attorney-in-Charge of the office for facilitating the use of the Positive Youth Development Approach by the entire staff. The SSA also identifies and develops relationships with community based organizations and other community resources.
Interviewing and Assessment
- Conduct both brief and in-depth client bio-psychosocial interviews to obtain the client’s personal history, as well as an inventory of the client’s strengths and challenges.
- Assess needs and identify appropriate resources and interventions.
- Detail a client’s personal history through collecting and analyzing all relevant records, interviewing client’s family members and other individuals important to the client as well as collateral contacts.
- Recommend the use of other experts for clients who require further evaluation.
Forensic Case Management and Client Advocacy
- Maintain close contact with client and his/her family throughout the duration of the delinquency case to build strong working relationships to increase the likelihood that the client understands and takes advantage of the opportunities for diversion from commitment to DYS, meets conditions of bail release, assists defense team with defense, and prepares for court appearances.
- Assist defense attorney with retaining and preparing other experts for clients who require further evaluation (i.e., substance abuse, neurological, psychiatric).
- Advocate for clients with all relevant state agencies, educational systems, and community based providers and service organizations.
- Transport clients to court, appointments, interviews, and services as needed.
Dispositional Planning and Accessing Services
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT
CPCS is committed to protecting the fundamental constitutional and human rights of its clients by providing zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and excellent representation. In fulfilling its mission, CPCS is committed to fostering diversity at all levels of the agency. We are dedicated to building a strong professional relationship with each of our clients, to understanding their diverse circumstances, and to meeting their needs. In striving always to achieve those goals, CPCS embraces diversity and inclusion as core values and is steadfast in our commitment to: (1) ensuring that CPCS management and staff members represent a broad range of human difference and experience; (2) providing a work climate that is respectful and that supports success; and (3) promoting the dignity and well-being of all staff members. CPCS's leadership is responsible for ensuring excellence, diversity, and inclusion. Our ability to achieve these goals depends on the efforts of all of us.
- Collaborate with defense team members to develop defense strategies and dispositional options.
- Gain comprehensive knowledge of local and statewide resources from private and public services systems. Work collaboratively with community–based and state service providers to foster partnerships to improve access to needed services for YAD clients.
- Access private and public social services and develop treatment plans as alternatives to DYS detention/commitment/incarceration, and for improved life outcomes for the client.
- Prepare written assessments, persuasive disposition and treatment plan reports, and Aid in Sentencing Memoranda to assist defense attorney in negotiating diversion, plea agreements, sentencing and DYS placement outcomes.
- Present informal and formal testimony during court proceedings
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 Director of Human Resources Management, Lisa Bacon, at email@example.com