Forensic Social Worker

Safeguard the mental health of people under trial.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $77,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Forensic Social Workers do?

A Forensic Social Worker job combines your expertise and passion for social work with your vast understanding of the legal system. As a Forensic Social Worker, you bridge the gap between defendants charged in criminal cases and the law enforcement and legal professionals building cases against them.

You are a Social Worker first and foremost. That means you work on behalf of your client. Common cases that a Forensic Social Worker handles involve child custody, divorce, child abuse or endangerment, spousal abuse, neglect, or juvenile corrections.

When your client is charged with any of these crimes, you interview them to gain a complete picture of the case. You also evaluate their state of mind, memory, and ability to understand right from wrong. With this picture of their mental health, you communicate with Lawyers, Judges, and Law Enforcement Officers as the case progresses towards trial.

You are commonly called to testify about your client’s mental state, capacity to understand court proceedings, and ability to stand trial. In addition, you interview Police Officers and witnesses who are set to testify, and offer your expert advice on their reliability and mental capacity.

Outside the courtroom, you help develop policies pertaining to the rights of mental health patients. You also offer advice, education, and training to professionals in the field of criminal law.

Should I be a Forensic Social Worker?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • How to become a Forensic Social Worker

    We recommend at least a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Forensic Social Worker-related education!
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