Job Opportunities

Forensic Social Worker/Forensic Professional Counselor-Term

Vacancy Announcement:
Pay Series:
Opening Date:
Apr 27, 2022
Closing Date:
May 18, 2022
Number of Vacancies:
Position Type:
Full-time, Term (expiring September 30, 2024)

Public Defender Service
Office of Rehabilitation and Development
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 110
Washington, DC 20004

Who May Appy:

Open to US Citizens and those authorized to work in the US with a District of Columbia social work or professional counselor license.

Prior to hiring, candidate must hold an active social work or professional counselor license in the District of Columbia.



Organization Description:

PDS Overview: The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) is a federally funded, independent organization governed by an eleven-member Board of Trustees. PDS provides legal representation to individuals facing a loss of freedom in the local criminal, delinquency, and mental health systems in the District of Columbia. PDS’s approximately 221 employees, comprised of attorneys, social workers, investigators, administrative, and technical staff, collaborate with each other to advance the PDS mission. PDS’s main office is located at 633 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. District of Columbia residency is not a requirement for employment. PDS is funded by federal appropriations, and all employees are entitled to participate in federal health and life insurance plans, federal retirement plans, Workers Compensation, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Transferring employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement purposes.

Employment at the Public Defender Service (PDS) is neither federal nor District of Columbia government employment, and all employees are at-will.

Division Description: The Office of Rehabilitation and Development (ORD) provides the social work component of the defense in the representation of children and/or adult clients. ORD helps staff attorneys develop least restrictive, individualized sentencing and rehabilitation plans for clients, case-based counseling, case management, and collaboration with agencies serving children and adults. Since 2016, ORD has increased its post-conviction work and has prepared for the release of men and women serving a prison sentence of at least 15 years for a crime committed between the age of 15-25 by creating community release plans. 

Essential Duties:

This position is located in the Office of Rehabilitation and Development and provides services to adult clients in the District of Columbia. Under the general supervision of the Chief of the Division, incumbent duties develop biopsychosocial evaluations, create and implement reentry plans as well as present testimony in court and, upon release, assist with successful reentry. Incumbent will perform the following duties: work in concert with legal counsel on behalf of agency clients, client family, and other collateral contacts to establish personal background and history summaries; create release plans geared to the specific and individual needs of each client; develop sentencing strategies; evaluate and recommend reentry plans including housing, reuniting with family, treatment options and vocational training programs; employment, identify and make referrals for medical and mental health services, educational, substance abuse treatment, and other services; work with local social service agencies or jails/prisons to identify programs and resources for clients and their families; keep abreast of and develop cooperative relationships with service organizations and legal agencies to assist clients with matters related to their reentry. Position will include visits to place of employment, residential or community-based programs, and other similar locations and will include visits to correctional facilities throughout the nation.

Required Qualifications:
Qualification Requirements: A master’s degree or higher in social work, counseling, or related degree, three years of post-graduate professional, advanced experience as social worker/case manager or other comparable experience, or advanced year graduate school internship placement at a social work department of a public defender office that handles major felonies. 

Other Requirements: Incumbent must have no convictions as defined in DC Code Section 14.305 (b) (1) (Impeachment by evidence of conviction of crime). Reliable transportation is necessary as travel is required in and around the DC area.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) Required: In addition to a traditional resume, candidates should submit a separate narrative statement addressing the following quality ranking factors. These factors will be used to distinguish the best-qualified applicants from a group of persons basically qualified for the position. Failure to submit your narrative response for this position will negatively affect your eligibility and/or rating for this position.

  1. Experience working with arrested adults and understanding of the plight of persons from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  2. Direct defense experience working with adult clients on rehabilitation and dispositional issues.
  3. Knowledge of social work concepts and concepts related to rehabilitation and alternatives to confinement.
  4. Demonstrated excellent writing and oral persuasion skills and ability to communicate effectively to broad spectrum of people.
  5. Demonstrated computer skills.
  6. Familiarity with treatment and rehabilitation resources available in the D.C. metro area.
  7. Knowledge of the court system.
Preferred Qualifications:
Application Evaluation:

How you will be evaluated: Your application package includes your letter of interest, résumé and requested supporting documents. Please ensure your application package includes detailed information to support your qualifications for this position. Failure to provide sufficient evidence in your application package and requested supporting documents can result in rejection of your application package.

Rating: Your application package will be rated and ranked among other applicants based on your experience, education, training, performance appraisals, and awards relevant to the duties of this position. Your rating can be lowered if your application package is not supported by the requested documents.

Referral: If you are among the top qualified candidates, your application package will be referred to a hiring manager for consideration at which time you may be invited to participate in a selection interview.


PDS is funded by federal appropriations, and employees are entitled to participate in federal benefits plans, federal retirement systems, and the workers compensation program. Transferring federal employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement purposes (if applicable). Benefits include:

Federal Employees Retirement Systems (retirement annuity)
Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401K program)
Federal Employees Health Benefits
Federal Employees Group Life Insurance 
Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program
Flexible Spending Accounts (for health care and dependent care)
Long Term Care
Public Transportation Subsidy (funding contingent)
Parking Space Lottery
Employee Assistance Program
Federal Occupational Health (access to health clinic and services)

How To Apply:

Applicants must submit the following:

  •  traditional résumé with day telephone and email contact information;
  •  graduate school transcripts;
  •  narrative statement addressing above KSAs;
  •  writing sample;
  •  list of three references; and
  • your most recent performance appraisal (if applicable).

Please submit your application package through PDS’s online application portal found through the following link:

To submit required documents, you must click on the “APPLY” button for the vacancy announcement.  You must also fully answer the Questionnaire found through the above linked website.  Additionally, the documentation you provide in your cover letter and/or resume must support your answers on the Questionnaire.  Application packages submitted with missing information and/or responses to the Questionnaire can negatively affect referring your application package to the hiring manager.

If you have any questions about the position, application, or hiring process, please contact Anisha Trice, HR Specialist at (202) 824-2227 or

PDS Does Not Accept Application Packages Via Email, Mail or Fax

PDS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and E-Verify Participating Agency

PDS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and E-Verify Participating Agency.