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Committee for Public Counsel Services Social Services Advocate - PDD Springfield in Springfield, Massachusetts

The Committee for Public Counsel Services, Public Defender Division, Springfield Trial Office, is seeking applicants for a full-time Social Services Advocate position. As part of the defense team, Social Service Advocates are integral team members who work closely with the attorney, investigator, and other key defense players, in order to obtain the best possible legal outcome, on behalf of the client’s defense.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT

CPCS is committed to protecting the fundamental constitutional and human rights of our assigned clients through zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and the fullness of excellent legal representation. We are dedicated to building and maintaining strong professional relationships, while striving to accept, listen to and respect the diverse circumstances of each client, as we dedicate ourselves to meeting their individual needs. It is our CPCS mission to achieve these goals, and in furtherance thereof, we embrace and endorse diversity, equity and inclusion as our core values as we maintain a steadfast commitment to: (1) Ensure that CPCS management and staff members represent a broad range of human differences and experience; (2) Provide a work climate that is respectful and supports success; and (3) Promote the dignity and well-being of all staff members. CPCS leadership is responsible for ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion. The ability to achieve these goals with any level of certainty is ultimately the responsibility each member of the CPCS community.

AGENCY OVERVIEW

CPCS is the state agency in Massachusetts responsible for providing an attorney when the state or federal constitution or a state statute requires the appointment of an attorney for a person who cannot afford to retain one. The agency provides representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, child welfare, guardianship, mental health, sexually dangerous person, and sex offender registry cases, as well as in appeals and post-conviction and post-judgment proceedings related to those matters.

POSITION OVERVIEW

The Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts public defender agency, is seeking to fill a full-time Social Services Advocate (“SSA”) position for the Springfield PDD Trial Office.

The Social Services Advocate works as part of a multidisciplinary legal defense team to provide zealous advocacy to adult criminal defendants in order to achieve the best possible legal and life outcomes. As part of the defense team, the SSA will take direction on a case from the lead attorney and work collaboratively with investigators, support staff, retained experts, law students and other interns. 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 must adhere to the rules of confidentiality under the attorney-client relationship. SSAs work under the supervision of the Social Services Advocate Director, with administrative direction provided by the Attorney in Charge.

As an integral member of the team, the SSA’s role includes bio-psychosocial interviewing and assessment, social history investigation, forensic case management, advocacy for clients within court, carceral, mental health and social service systems, fostering family interactions and intervention, treatment and sentencing planning, report writing, testifying, and making direct connections between clients and programs. Social services intervention occurs at all stages of the court process, from the initial arraignment through resolution and post-conviction

OFFICE OVERVIEW

The Springfield PDD office provides public defense services for Hampden County. Though one of the largest offices in the state, Springfield PDD is a close-knit office with a strong culture of teamwork and cooperation. Springfield is situated in the scenic Pioneer Valley with access to hiking, water sports, and a variety of outdoor activities. Further, Springfield is home to wide range of activities and attractions including the Dr. Seuss museum, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and the MGM Springfield Casino.

MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS

  • Bachelor’s degree in a social service field and one year 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; and,

  • Access to a personal computer with home internet access sufficient to work remotely.

MASTER’S DEGREE IN SOCIAL WORK, PSYCHOLOGY OR RELATED FIELD STRONGLY PREFERRED

Please submit a writing sample along with your application.

QUALIFICATIONS/ SKILLS

  • Experience working with individuals and families of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds;

  • Knowledge of social, psychological, environmental, economic, legal, and medical factors that influence behavior;

  • Understanding of social structures and institutional barriers that cause disparities, such as systemic racism and poverty;

  • Culturally appropriate skills in client interviewing, assessment, case management, and treatment planning;

  • Knowledge of public and private social services systems and resources;

  • 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;

  • Availability to work occasional evenings and weekends to meet with clients, bring clients to programs, attend meetings, conduct collateral interviews, and handle emergencies;

  • Knowledge of defense practice, the criminal legal system, and/or corrections is a plus; and,

  • Bilingual abilities are a plus.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Social Services Advocate responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining close contact with clients over the duration of their case to build a strong working relationship;

  • Conducting both brief and in-depth interviews with clients respecting their individuality and with cultural humility to obtain client histories; connecting with and interviewing collateral contacts;

  • Performing needs assessments, developing treatment or service plans, referring clients to service providers, and making direct connections between clients and programs;

  • Gaining comprehensive knowledge of statewide and local programming and services, and working collaboratively with community-based services that support clients;

  • Collaborating with defense counsel to develop defense strategies and dispositional options which demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of our clients’ whole lives;

  • Preparing and presenting courtroom testimony to describe services and dispositional alternatives arranged for the client;

  • Preparing detailed and persuasive written advocacy for sentencing and mitigation purposes;

  • Advocating for clients in a client-directed practice to facilitate best possible outcomes; and,

  • Other duties as assigned.

EEO Statement

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 interim Director of Human Resources Management, Mark Conlon, at mconlon@publiccounsel.net

ID: 2021-2105

Post: careers: 1/4/2022

Post End Date: 1/25/2022

Salary: $55,112 - $75,773, commensurate with years of experience

External Company URL: www.publiccounsel.net

Street: 101 State Street

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