Forensic Social Work (Criminal Justice Social Work)

Introductory Guide to Forensic Social Work (Criminal Justice Social Work)
By Kaitlin Louie
Forensic social work is a very broad and diverse field of practice that includes any kind of micro, mezzo, and/or macro level social work that assists individuals involved in the criminal justice or legal systems. Vulnerable populations that forensic social workers serve include but are not limited to incarcerated youth and adults, recently released inmates, children who are victims of neglect, and victims of domestic or sexual abuse. Forensic social workers often provide their clients with emotional support, guidance in navigating the court/legal systems, connections to relevant resources, housing application assistance, and individual and policy advocacy.

Due to the specialized needs of the populations they work with, forensic social workers tend to have a strong clinical social work background so that they can complete psychosocial and risk assessments, provide effective therapeutic services, and implement crisis interventions for clients who have often experienced severe trauma and grapple with significant social, emotional, psychological, and behavioral challenges.

Forensic social workers’ daily and long-term responsibilities tend to vary widely depending on their specific role and work setting. For example, the duties of a social worker at a domestic violence crisis center will typically differ substantially from the responsibilities of a social worker at a correctional facility. Social work students who are interested in forensic social work should research the types of positions that interest them, and build their internship experiences and professional skill sets around their desired career path.

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Compiler: Fateme Mohammady


Published on the specialized media of Iranians social work

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