Forensic Social Work Practice Area
Social work practice in the context of the “law” is dynamic and ranges from working with detained people on Rikers Island, to advocacy within “legal” systems, to working with community behavioral health teams serving neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by carceral systems. The learning experience is holistic and rewarding as students are often working in settings with the intersectionality of constructs such as crime, victim, offender, trauma, poverty, oppression, and the law. Learning opportunities for students can include seminars and classes designed to increase cultural humility as students begin to learn and practice, restorative frameworks, assessments, group work, crisis intervention/prevention, and trauma-informed care.
Practice in these settings requires an ability to work in collaboration with a range of support service delivery systems, particularly the legal and child welfare systems. In addition, it is important for the student to be able to understand historical, racial, gender, health, cultural, economic, and numerous other variables that often factor into the causation of “crime” and harm. Depending on the setting, there may be interaction with a variety of constituencies, including attorneys, judges, caseworkers, advocates, and mental health professionals.