The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks a passionate Master’s level Social Worker with a commitment to social justice to fill a position as a social worker in our Family Defense Practice working with parents fighting allegations of child abuse and neglect in Bronx County Family Court.


The Bronx Defenders is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the legal system, and, in doing so, is transforming the system itself. BxD seeks thoughtful, creative, individuals with a strong commitment to social justice to join our dynamic and diverse staff. Our staff of over 400 includes interdisciplinary teams made up of criminal, civil, immigration, and family defense attorneys, as well as social workers, benefits specialists, legal advocates, parent advocates, investigators, and team administrators, who collaborate to provide holistic advocacy to address the causes and consequences of legal system involvement. Through this integrated team-based structure, we have developed a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for the people we defend.

Each year, we defend more than 20,000 low-income Bronx residents in criminal, civil, family, and immigration cases, and reach thousands more through our community intake, youth mentoring, and outreach programs. Through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing, we push for systemic change at the local, state, and national levels. We take what we learn from the people we represent and communities we work with and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change.

Family Defense Practice

 The Bronx Defenders Family Defense Practice (FDP) provides legal representation and social work support to parents charged with child abuse and neglect who are at risk of losing custody of their children. Our Family Defense Practice is at the forefront of a movement to provide holistic representation to parents in the Bronx while creating long-term solutions for the reunification and stability of families. 

Strategizing with lawyers and other advocates, social workers at The Bronx Defenders assist the people we represent with both issues that precipitated and are exacerbated by contact with the criminal, family, immigration, and civil legal systems. Using an ecological framework, social workers are responsible for conducting assessments, making referrals to treatment programs and social service providers, collaborating on case strategy, and working with attorneys and other advocates as part of holistic defense teams throughout the duration of the legal case.  


The Bronx Defenders is seeking a thoughtful and dedicated social worker to work in our Family Defense Practice. Social workers are integral to the representation of parents from poor communities charged with abuse/neglect of their children. The social worker will be part of an interdisciplinary team of lawyers and other advocates, and assist in the development of litigation strategy as well as connect parents with the necessary services and support to advance their legal goals, support reunification with their children and prevent Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) surveillance of their families. 

● Collaborate with the people we represent, lawyers and advocates on holistic defense teams to identify and achieve the stated legal goals of the people we represent 

● Advocate for the people we represent in Bronx Family Court, Criminal Court, Child Protection Services (CPS), and with community-based programs 

● Inform the people we represent about the Family Court process and assist them in overcoming barriers while navigating the system  

● Interview and assess the people we represent to identify strengths, resources, and needs 

● Conduct supportive counseling, crisis intervention, and case management throughout the pendency of legal cases 

● Provide support to the people we represent during court appearances and at community-based programs 

● Maintain consistent contact with the people we represent, including regular visits to NYC jail facilities, homes, and court appearances support and advocacy for connection to medical care, mental health services, and jail-based programming  

● Advocate for parents at Child Safety Conferences and Family Team Conferences 

● Engage in oral advocacy with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), prosecutors, and other court and program staff  

● Assist with review of behavioral, medical, education, and other records 

● Prepare the people we represent for court-related assessments

● Collaborate with external behavioral health experts to interpret external assessments 

● Maintain case records in Bronx Defenders’ informational case management system  

● Cultivate relationships with community programs and social services and benefits providers, and provide case management support and advocacy 


To be eligible, candidates must have: 

● M.S.W. from an accredited School of Social Work

Candidates must demonstrate: 

● Commitment to directly defending people ensnared in the family regulation system against accusations from organizations such as the Administration for Children’s Service (ACS) and Child Protective Services (CPS)

● Experience working in and with racially, ethnically and socioeconomically marginalized communities targeted by carceral systems   

● Understanding of how systemic oppression affects marginalized communities and their experience in the criminal legal system  

● Ability to effectively and respectfully communicate, collaborate and connect with people with various backgrounds, identities and experiences   

● Ability to work well independently as well as collaboratively within an interdisciplinary team of lawyers and non-lawyers, and external service providers

● Commitment to fierce advocacy, and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of the people we represent  

● Effective written and verbal advocacy skills  

● Knowledge of substance use disorder, domestic violence, parenting, and mental health systems

● Ability to establish and maintain collaborative relationships with external partners and service providers  

● Strong analytical skills and capacity to employ non-legal resources while advocating in legal cases  

● Ability to multitask, maintain order and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment   

● Meticulous attention to detail  

● Ability to think critically and creatively in fast-paced settings, finding innovative solutions to unique obstacles  

● Ability to receive constructive feedback, demonstrate introspection and shift behavior accordingly  

● Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality with sensitive matters  

● Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level  

Preferred but not required:

● Experience working with and on behalf of parents navigating the family regulation system

● Spanish language proficiency 

● Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) Certification

This is an in person position that will require contact with staff and community members. Candidates in this position must also be available to work flexible hours, including nights and/or weekends, when urgent needs arise. 

Salary is commensurate with experience.  For candidates with 1-10 years of directly relevant experience, the salary range for this position would be approximately $75,000 to $103,000. Full-time employees are also eligible for a comprehensive benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental and vision coverage; a 403(b) plan with employer contribution; a generous vacation, sick leave, and parental leave policy. More specific information about salary and benefits will be provided when and if an offer is extended. 

Approximately 70% of The Bronx Defenders’ staff, including attorneys and non-attorneys, are represented by UAW Local 2325 – Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (AFL-CIO). This position is within the bargaining unit. 

 This position is exempt. By law, non-exempt employees are compensated hourly based on their annual rate and therefore are entitled to over-time, whereas exempt employees are not.