This is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and the first level within the SW series, which requires the application of fundamental theories of psychosocial variables to assist in identifying the presence of physical or mental health impairments, substance abuse issues, family or other social history patterns that impact the client’s behavior and development. Public Defender Social Workers 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. Public Defender Social Workers perform duties and assume responsibility for case assignments under the specific direction, instruction and guidance of a defense attorney.
Typical duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
Conduct assessments and compile psychosocial histories to develop recommendations concerning pretrial release, detention, case preparation, alternative placements, treatment options, conditions of probation or diversion, and sentencing and post-sentencing options, as appropriate.
Conduct assessments to identify physical or mental health issues, substance abuse or other patterns potentially influencing the client’s development, personality or behavior. Document and interpret symptoms of mental and behavioral impairment to assist the defense in developing case strategies.
Collect social and family history information through interviews and review of documentary materials, including highly sensitive and confidential information, to identify psychosocial influences and patterns in the client’s development and behavior including, but not limited to, socio/cultural/economic status and behavioral health issues.
Serve as a collaborative member of the defense team consulting with attorneys on the appropriate approach to the case. Provide support to the client and identify and advocate for appropriate options for the client.
Assist in obtaining and reviewing relevant records, evaluations or reports such as, juvenile screening team reports; and, analyze the significance of information relevant to the client’s circumstances and case. Assist in interpreting medical or mental health evaluation findings for the defense team.
Participate in pretrial, adjudication and sentencing hearings as requested by the defense attorney. Attend multi-agency and multi-disciplinary staffing meetings regarding the client. Prepare reports and provide additional information and support, as required.
Keep current on statewide resources available and relevant to the individual needs of clients including, but not limited to, treatment programs and alternative placements.
May supervise and mentor student interns enrolled in a graduate-level social work education program, which may include training, guidance and formal feedback within the scope of the school’s academic program.
Duties require frequent travel within and occasionally outside the State of Colorado, including occasional overnight travel.
Required Education and Experience:
Master’s degree from an accredited college or university educational program in social work;
Licensure to practice social work (LSW) in the State of Colorado within 90 days of employment.
Training or experience in a criminal defense system;
About Office of the Colorado State Public Defender
Colorado’s Office of the State Public Defender (OSPD) maintains a reputation as one of the top organizations in the nation specializing in the delivery of indigent criminal defense representation. It operates as an independent agency within the Judicial Branch of Colorado State Government with nearly 900 dedicated employees assigned to twenty-one Regional Trial Offices across the state, a centralized Appellate Division, and a centralized Administrative Office. The mission of OSPD is to defend and protect the rights, liberties, and dignity of those accused of crimes who cannot afford to retain counsel. We do so by providing constitutionally and statutorily mandated representation that is effective, zealous, inspired and compassionate.
We seek to hire professionals who are dedicated to public service and committed to serving our clients. We are a fast paced, team-oriented environment, where self-motivation and a personal commitment to high performance are important attributes for success.