Social Worker/Social Service Advocate – Mental Health Unit

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $48,000



Application Deadline



1441 Sansom Street
United States


Job Summary

This position is funded by the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge, and is a new initiative within the Defender Association designed to reduce the prison population. Under the direct supervision of the Chief of the Mental Health Special Defense Unit, the Social Worker will conduct interviews, evaluate and assess individuals after they have been processed for admission to the Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP). The Social Worker/Social Service Advocate will work in tandem and establish and maintain relationships with PDP, Adult Probation and Parole (APPD), and the Department of Behavioral Health team (DBH). The candidate will be responsible for obtaining and relaying sensitive psychiatric, medical and social history information as it relates to the MacArthur project.  

This is an 18-month grant funded program, and there is no guarantee of continued funding.  

Major Areas of Responsibility

• Conduct initial, in-person interviews with clients at PDP to evaluate client’s history, psychiatric and medical needs and develop a comprehensive understanding of the mitigating factors that can and will impact release decisions  

• Be able to identify and have working knowledge on diversionary courts within the Philadelphia Criminal Justice System

• Advise potential clients and/or new participants of the nature and goals of the MacArthur initiative

• Communicate with the DBH counterpart to obtain information and help coordinate behavioral health services in the community

• Connect client’s with any DBH identified community supports including case management

• Identify social service needs and or other referrals to further client’s legal matter  

• Obtain and maintain all consent forms regarding the MacArthur initiative

• Obtain when available and maintain all relevant mental health and physical examinations relevant to the goals of the program

• Keep data and statistics for the project 

• Receive, review and go over referrals for the MacArthur initiative with the Chief, MHSDU and document them accordingly

• Liaison with assigned representatives from Defender Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and Adult Probation and Parole Department 


Education & Experience

• Bachelor’s Degree required. Master’s Degree in Social Work, Criminal Justice, or related field, preferred.

• One to two years related work experience 

• Ability to be trained in the use of Jail Screens and/or preliminary clinical screening tools

• Demonstrated commitment to equal justice and the rights of those accused

• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

• Ability to work well with others and handle a variety of tasks simultaneously 

• Reliable, responsible, and highly motivated.



Fully paid health insurance--Keystone HMO (POS); 11 paid holidays; Vacation, Sick and Personal time, 403(b); Life Insurance policy; Long term and short term disability options

Level of Language Proficiency

Bilingual (Spanish language) preferred, but not required. 

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume to the Human Resources Department via e-mail at