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Career Story: Family Court Social Worker

Family Court Social Worker

Job Title: Court Social Worker

Type of Company: I work for the the criminal and family courts in the state of Connecticut. I am involved with the cases involving custody and visitation in the family court and with the defendants who have been arrested for domestic violence matters in the criminal court.

Education: BA, Social Work, Anna Maria College (Paxton, MA) •• MA, Counseling Psychology, Anna Maria College (Paxton, MA)

Previous Experience: I started working in several day treatment programs for adolescents after graduating from college. I then became a social worker for the State of Massachusetts working in both protective service and adolescent units.

Job Tasks: My job varies from day to day. Some days I do court coverage in either the criminal or civil court. On days when I'm in civil court, I deal with families in which the parents are either getting divorced, have gotten divorced, or are involved in non-marital relationships in which custody or visitation are an issue. I attempt to help the parents resolve the issues that affect their children. If the parents aren't able to do so, the matter is referred to the Division of the Court for which I work. I meet with the parents again to further assist them in resolving the custody and visitation conflicts. If the parents can't reach an agreement, I conduct an evaluation of the family and write a lengthy report, with my recommendations, to the judge.

In the criminal court I am only involved with defendants who have been arrested for domestic violence. As a consequence, they are either in lock-up or have made bond and come directly to my office. Typically, I will meet with the person who has been arrested and decide whether or not I will get involved with him. I will also determine if a protective order is necessary and just what type of order would be appropriate for the family. Protective orders can be injunctions which forbid the defendant to return home or have any type of contact with the victim in the case. If the case is referred to me, I will meet with the defendant and the victim individually to assess what services would be the most helpful. I then write a report to the judge with my recommendations. If the judge, the state's attorney and the defendant are in agreement with my recommendations the case is continued to another date and I monitor whether or not the defendant is in compliance with the court order. If the defendant complies with the order, the case may be dismissed and the defendant will not have any criminal record.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is the diversity which it offers, since I work in both the criminal and family court. In either court I can assist families resolve some of the difficulties which they are experiencing.

The worst part of the job is dealing with parents who want to involve their children in the divorce and do not realize the effect this can have upon children.

Job Tips: Acquire other job experiences which you might bring to this job. You need life experiences as well as practical skills and an education. This is not a job for someone just out of college, but a wonderful opportunity for someone to further hone the skills that she developed in other social work settings.

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