Case Worker- Public Defender's Office

Travis County
Full Time $53,987 - $58,672 Per year TX 1010 Lavaca St 2nd floor, Austin, TX 78701, United States Apply before 7/22/2024 11:59
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Overview

The Travis County Public Defender's Office (PDO) is a comprehensive public defender office envisioned to be client-centered, independent, and innovative to the needs of Travis County residents. Consistent with nationally recognized best practices, the PDO provides high-quality holistic defense representation and other support to people accused of criminal offenses in Travis County.  

 As key part of the interdisciplinary team, the case worker works closely with clients, PDO attorneys and other advocates to provide case support and intensive case management to justice involved clients. determine client eligibility for a variety of social services available and/or provides other social services related to crisis intervention and short-term case management. The case worker interviews clients, identifies community resources that are responsive to client needs and provides ongoing support and advocacy. The case worker also refers clients to clinical and social service provider resources.

 The position may be filled before the closing date. Applications will be reviewed and selected candidates will be contacted on a rolling basis* 

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, community, court and homes and develops a strengths based needs assessment
  • Requests medical, educational, institutional records as needed in support of legal case. 
  • Provides case management services for clients. Conducts ongoing assessment of client needs. Develops casework/service plans, monitors progress a nd follow-up. Provides social services related to crisis intervention.
  • 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.
  • May provide short and long-term case management, crisis intervention and service coordination to ensure maximum self-sufficiency. May provide short-term independent living skills assistance and training. 
  • May assist clients in obtaining vocational and employment services.
  • Reminds clients of court dates and court mandated appointments and provide transportation as needed. 
  • 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;

OR,

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.
Please attach resume to online application. 

Preferred: 

  • Applications with a cover letter detailing interest in the position, including why you want to work for the Travis County Public Defender’s Office. 
  • Ability to interview indigent clients to assess their legal and social support needs.
  • Ability to fluently speak and write in Spanish. 
  • Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) advocating on behalf of or supporting people/communities directly impacted by the criminal/immigration/indigent civil legal system.

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.
  • Prepare accurate and complete records and reports.
  • Demonstrate consistent, sound, and mature judgment in the effective and efficient use of human and financial resources.
  • Manage time well and meet timelines.
  • Communicate effectively across lines of difference.
  • 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

The PDO is committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. The PDO strongly encourages candidates of all identities, experiences, abilities and communities to apply. All applicants should be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In considering applicants, the PDO values an applicant's experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with people from communities that experience marginalization.  

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.

The position is anticipated to start Summer 2024

Work Hours:  Works some holidays, Works some nights, Works some weekends 

Department: Public Defender

Location: 1010 Lavaca Street, 2nd floor, Austin, TX 78701 

Criminal, Driving, 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.
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