This book draws upon the Colorado Model of Criminal Defense-Based Forensic Social Work – a holistic, client-centered, collaborative approach that uses a trauma-informed care framework – to outline the numerous roles and skills of a forensic social worker. The comprehensive, developmentally informed model employs a past (e.g., mitigation themes and life history compilation), present (e.g., client contact and current functioning support), and future (e.g., reentry services) framework to provide mitigation narratives for defendants and to create a comprehensive approach to service.
The text starts with an overview of practice standards, ethical considerations, and legal frameworks. Next, chapters examine the unique roles that a forensic social worker must take on and the skills they need to possess. These include using clinical interventions with clients in nonclinical settings, working with clients of different identities and backgrounds, assisting with reentry planning for incarcerated clients, and collaborating with experts outside of the defense team. Finally, the authors provide strategies for practitioners to engage in their own self-care.
Interwoven with four case studies using the Colorado Model, this book will be valuable reading for graduate schools of social work, law school programs which have clinics or direct practice components to legal studies, and at defender agencies who contract with or employ social workers on staff.