Social Worker

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:

The Innocence Project works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. Founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the organization is now an independent nonprofit. Our work is guided by science and grounded in antiracism. Since our inception, the Innocence Project has used DNA and other scientific advancements to prove wrongful conviction. To date, we have helped to free or exonerate more than 200 people who, collectively, spent more than 3,600 years behind bars. Our efforts have led to the passage of more than 200 transformative state laws and federal reforms. Today, the Innocence Project continues to fight for freedom, drive structural change, and advance the innocence movement. To learn more, please visit www.innocenceproject.org.

ABOUT THE POSITION:

The Innocence Project (“IP”) is hiring a Social Worker to provide holistic, trauma-informed social work services to formerly incarcerated clients who have been exonerated or otherwise freed by IP attorneys, or by attorneys within a network IP affiliated attorneys (known as the “IP Network”). Such services help clients and their systems of support, navigate the challenges of reentry. After, in many cases, decades of incarceration often under poor prison conditions, with inadequate access to mental health services and medical care, adapting to life outside of prison can require near daily social work support. This will often include: support with housing security, navigating access public benefits, mental health services, medical and dental care; support with reintegration into their personal and familial relationships; money management skills, learn job skills (including information and technology fluency); and securing employment.

The Social Worker reports to the Social Work Department Head, and works closely with IP staff and IP Network staff members. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates eligible to work in the United States. However, we are not able to sponsor visas.

All Innocence Project employees must embrace, respect and value the rich diversity of perspectives and experience of a diverse and heterogeneous staff. We recognize and appreciate that our work is better for having varied participants and thought partners.

While the Innocence Project has supported remote work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently committed to a hybrid workplace with mandatory two days per week in-office. All staff are currently provided a private workspace with a closed-door for the time being.

Independent travel (approximately every 4-6 weeks) in connection with case work and client support is also expected. This may involve air travel, renting a car and driving semi- long distances depending on client location (they are located throughout the country).

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE: 

The ideal candidate has at least five years of prior experience as a social worker and a strong background in handling case work. The candidate will be able to handle sensitive information and prioritize clients’ needs while learning the bureaucratic ins and outs of various jurisdictions. In addition to possessing top-notch advocacy, problem-solving, and multi-tasking skills, they should be well-versed in trauma-informed care and be able to approach the work — much of which involves re-entry and crisis intervention — with an anti-racist and client-centered framework. To holistically support IP clients, the candidate should also have a deep understanding of how various systems — including systems of oppression involving racism, classism, gender inequity and homophobia — may present barriers and challenges to reentry.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS: 

  • Provide social work services and related support, in accordance with IP social work plan and guidelines.
  • Provide client case work including conducting needs assessments, developing individualized service plans, and identifying local support networks. Works closely with families, friends, and others in client’s support networks. This includes assessment, service planning, referrals, case management, group facilitation, and other services as needed.
  • Provide supportive counseling.
  • Travel to meet clients (often out of state) and assist them to set up housing and other services, and for exonerations as appropriate.
  • Client advocacy
  • Support to other “Network” projects for consultation in their social work and social service needs.
  • Assist in designing, implementing and supporting clients’ involvement at the Innocence Network conference.
  • Accurate and timely data entry and record keeping.
  • Assist with board reports and other reporting requirements.
  • Collaborate with IP Departments, especially litigation departments, regarding client work and other projects.
  • Provide other assistance as needed, within department or organization
  • Be involved in Innocence Project various committees that work to improve the culture of the organization.

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE:

  • MSW or related degree and experience. LMSW/LCSW preferred, but not required.
  • At least 5 years of systems full time experience working with public benefits/entitlement programs.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and implementing service plans.
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
  • Valid driver’s license a must.
  • Willingness and ability to travel independently for several days at a time, including out of state.
  • Experience working with clients in the criminal justice system.
  • Knowledge of the impact of trauma and other impacts of wrongful incarceration.
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Formerly incarcerated people are strongly encouraged to apply.

KEY COMPETENCIES:

  • Excellent interpersonal and counseling skills.
  • Compassionate non-judgmental approach
  • Strong advocacy skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Creative proactive thinker and problem solver
  • Highly motivated and organized
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently without close supervision
  • Strong commitment to social justice and racial equity and IP’s mission
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Must be able to work with groups of diverse individuals in respectful, equitable, and inclusive ways
  • Enthusiasm for the work of the Innocence Project and for social justice, including a demonstrated commitment to public interest
  • Shares values of equity, excellence, collaboration, humanity, integrity, respect, and accountability

COMPENSATION, BENEFITS, AND PERKS:

The salary for this position is highly competitive, and the Innocence Project offers an excellent benefits package, including health, dental and vision insurance, Flexible Spending Account, 401k plan with company-match.  The office is currently operating on a hybrid schedule (partly remote, partly in office). While on this hybrid schedule, the Innocence Project provides company-paid transportation benefits.

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYMENT: 

The Innocence Project considers the diversity of its workforce to be vital to our organization’s success in meeting its mission. We strongly encourage applicants from all cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities to apply. Individuals with personal connections to the criminal legal system are strongly encouraged to apply.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is our policy not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, predisposing genetic characteristics, actual or perceived domestic violence victim status, unemployment status, caregiver status, or any other category protected by law. 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

To apply, upload a cover letter expressing your interest in the role and the organization’s work, and a resume titled with your name (last name. first name. cover letter/resume). Only applications with cover letters will be considered complete applications. Information submitted through this secure site is kept confidential. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to give applicant updates by phone or direct email.

APPLY HERE. 

**Applications for this position will be considered on a rolling basis until the post is filled.** 

LOCATION:  New York City 

SALARY RANGE: $78,625 – $92,500

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