Forensic Social Work
Forensic social work sounds so serious. So professional. So CSI. What is it exactly? It is a cool way to apply your social work skills if you have interests in issues relating to the law and legal systems. This social work specialty goes beyond clinics and private practices and hospitals. It serves society in the evaluation of criminal defendants being evaluated and treated on issues of competency and responsibility. It can include child custody issues involving separation, divorce, neglect, termination of parental rights, the implications of child and spouse abuse, juvenile and adult justice services, corrections, and mandated treatment all fall under this definition. You could work in areas of mediation, arbitration, and advocacy.
Forensic social work is its own entity due to the familiarity once must have with the legal system. As an expert witness, it is the social worker’s responsibility to draw from the established principles of the law including terminology, familiarity with the process and procedures of the court system, evaluation that is objective and unbiased, treatment outcomes that are thoroughly thought out, and a presentation that is convincing, evidence based, and recommended.
For more information on this exciting field, check out the National Organization of Forensic Social Work.