Case Worker

Travis County
Full Time $53,987 - $58,672 Per year TX Travis County Public Defender's Office, 1010 Lavaca St 2nd floor, Austin, TX 78701, United States


A key part of an interdisciplinary team, Mental Health Public Defender Case Workers work closely with clients, defense attorneys and other advocates to provide legal case support and intensive case management to justice involved clients experiencing serious mental illness and other disabilities. Case workers identify community resources that are responsive to client needs, and provide clients with warm connections. They provide ongoing support and advocacy to ensure that clients receive the full benefit of the requested services. Case Workers frequently develop release and discharge plans from hospitals and jails to facilitate client re-entry and favorable case outcomes.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is a job classification within the Social Services job family. This classification is distinguished from other social services classes due to the eligibility-related functions and short-term case management for various clients. This classification interviews clients and collects eligibility documentation to determine appropriate social services assistance and monitors client progress and usage of assistance. Duties also include problem-solving assistance and functioning as an advocate on behalf of the client. This classification may require a flexible work schedule in order to meet the needs of the department.

Duties and Responsibilities

Interviews clients at various locations including but not limited to jails, camps, community, hospitals, court and homes and develops a strengths based intake and needs assessment.
•  Requests and reviews all relevant records to assist in developing intake and needs assessment.
• Meets regularly with assigned attorney to discuss client goals, needs assessment, and discern potential consequences of current criminal legal system involvement on client's ability to attain goals, meet basic needs and access needed services in the community long term.
•  Works in concert with attorney and other advocates to develop a plan that supports clients goals for resolution of the legal case and return to the community.
•  Monitors and follows up on case plan progress.
• Presents client needs assessment and case plan for clients on the court docket during team meetings and case staffing. Participates in case staffing to provide insight, ideas and suggestions to other MHPD client teams as needed.
• Plans and completes coordinated releases for clients being released from the jail or hospitals. Transports clients to appointments and assists with communication and advocacy.
• Provides basic needs counseling and problem-solving assistance and intensive case management services for clients. Distributes basic needs resources and supplies to clients.
• Coordinates with other service agencies, organizations, and vendors to provide appropriate services and information for clients as well as referrals. Serves as an advocate on behalf of client. Makes appropriate referrals and warm hand offs to other social service, education, and/or health agencies as needed. Interprets eligibility requirements, policy and procedures to clients, other agencies, vendors and governmental entities.
• Plans, organizes and participates in special projects, including outreach efforts, public speaking and special activities for client. Provides education and training to clients/community. • Provides short and long-term case management, crisis intervention and service coordination to ensure maximum self-sufficiency and non-institutional living. May provide independent living skills assistance and training.
• Provides timely, thorough documentation of all client services and related communications in case management system.
• Performs other job-related duties as assigned.

Minimum Requirements

Education and Experience:
Bachelor's degree in one of the Social or Behavioral Sciences AND two (2) years experience in social services related work;


Any combination of education and experience that has been achieved and is equivalent to the stated education and experience and required knowledge, skills, and abilities sufficient to successfully perform the duties and responsibilities of this job.

Licenses, Registrations, Certifications, or Special Requirements:
Valid Texas Driver's License.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Knowledge of:

  • Policies, practices, procedures and terminology of assigned function.
  • Local social services, organizations and programs and the resources available.
  • Federal, State and Local program laws and requirements.
  • Modern office practices, procedures and methods.
  • Computer equipment to include word processing, spreadsheets, databases and a variety of software packages.
  • May be required to develop knowledge of and adhere to  federal and state laws requiring the confidential handling of certain health information.
Skill in:
  • Providing assistance to clients.
  • Interviewing techniques.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Referring clients to appropriate social services organizations and programs.
  • Math computation.
  • Operating a variety of modern office equipment, including a computer.
  • Both verbal and written communication.
Ability to:
  • Deal effectively with persons experiencing crises and economic stress.
  • Work effectively and courteously under high-pressure circumstances.
  • Provide timely, accurate and complete documentation of client services
  • Demonstrate consistent, sound, and mature judgment in the effective and efficient use of human and financial resources.
  • Easily adjust to unexpected circumstances .
  • Manage time well and meet timelines. 
  • Effective oral and written communication.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with departmental clientele, representatives of outside agencies, other County employees and officials, community outreach and other organizations, clinical and other social service providers, and the general public.

Work Environment & Other Information

Physical requirements include the ability to lift/carry up to 25 pounds occasionally, visual acuity, speech and hearing, hand and eye coordination and manual dexterity necessary to operate a computer and office equipment. Subject to standing, sitting, walking, climbing stairs, bending, stooping, crouching, kneeling, pushing, pulling, reaching, twisting, balancing, repetitive motion, driving, client/customer contact, and squatting to perform the essential functions.

Travis County employees play an important role in business continuity. As such, employees can be assigned to business continuity efforts outside of normal job functions.

Department: Public Defender

Location: 1010 Lavaca St. 4th floor, Austin, TX 78701 

Criminal, Education, and Employment Background Checks Required.

This job description is intended to be generic in nature. It is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities. The essential duties, functions and responsibilities and overtime eligibility may vary based on the specific tasks assigned to the position.