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Chief Social Worker

This is an unclassified position held at the pleasure of the Court.  This position primarily performs Intervention in Lieu of Conviction, Mental Health Court, and mental health evaluations requested by probation officers.  This individual also obtains information (background, records, collateral contacts) from defendants to assist examiners in performing Competency to Stand Trial and Sanity at the Time of the Act evaluations. This position is responsible for four primary functions: (1) evaluating and rendering opinions and treatment recommendations regarding mental health and/or chemical dependency status of select defendants and/or probationers; (2) obtaining information from defendants to assist the psychiatrists and psychologists with forensic evaluations; (3) providing leadership and clinical supervision (including educational and quality assurance activities as well as evaluation of social work staff); and (4) clinical scheduling and communication with courtrooms, attorneys and probation staff. 

The position primarily works independently but in close coordination with the Clinic director and support staff in determining the most effective manner to complete the assigned caseload within defined deadlines.  Participation in and providing ongoing supervision sessions (individual and group) is required to facilitate joint learning, review assessment and documentation issues, and provide on-going evaluation of clinical practice.  The Court and/or clinician performing the forensic evaluation require all work to be complete at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the court hearing and/or scheduled appointment with the defendant.  Current Court policy requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus as a condition of employment.


Department: Court Psychiatric Clinic
Reports To: Director of Psychiatric Clinic
Starting Salary:

$ 0


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

RESPONSIBILITIES include the following:

  1. Interviewing defendants and collateral sources to obtain specific background information;
  2. Reviewing appropriate treatment and collateral records (e.g., medical records, prior forensic reports, prosecutor’s files, etc.);
  3. Interviewing defendants using a structured format to assess and render opinions regarding chemical dependency and mental health diagnoses and treatment recommendations;
  4. Summarizing and dictating clinical reports and other reports in proper Court Psychiatric Clinic format;
  5. Administrative coverage in the absence of the Director;
  6. Providing clinical supervision and educational activities;
  7. Communication with aligned professions (law, probation, psychology/psychiatry, administrative) to facilitate task completion;
  8. Working with students/interns/psychiatric fellows;
  9. Performing a variety of other related duties as required (e.g., scheduling interviews, obtaining medical records via release forms, responding to telephone calls, writing letters, etc.).

The above statements describe the general nature and level of work performed by individuals assigned to this classification.  They are not an exhaustive list of all duties.  Other duties may be assigned.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills, and Abilities


To perform this job successfully, an individual must demonstrate the following:

  1. Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with Judges, staff, Court employees, outside agencies and the public;
  2. Excellent interviewing skills (e.g., ability to listen effectively, obtain sensitive and specific background information, ask appropriate follow-up questions, prepare accurate reports of information obtained);
  3. Ability to integrate clinical and legal data;
  4. Ability to assess and make observations regarding a defendant’s behavior (e.g., facial expressions, movements, body language);
  5. Ability to develop rapport with defendants and other interviewees in order to obtain necessary information;
  6. Ability to diagnose and formulate mental health and substance abuse treatment recommendations;
  7. Familiarity with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 5th Ed.
  8. Advanced knowledge of mental illness, chemical dependency, and developmental disability and an understanding of the impact of the foregoing on an individual’s behavior;
  9. Detailed knowledge of clinical assessment and evaluation; outstanding diagnostic skills;
  10. Substantive knowledge of recovery, how systems work and forensic application of psychiatric and substance use principles to criminal law;
  11. Ability to address problems and responsibilities in a logical/process oriented way;
  12. Knowledge of the operation of the Common Pleas Court in general and the criminal docket in particular;
  13. Ability to provide informed consent and orientation to defendants to the evaluation process;
  14. Effective time management, reliability and punctuality;
  15. Ability to maintain sensitive and confidential information and the highest ethical standards;
  16. Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment;
  17. Proven leadership, teaching and supervision skills;
  18. Professional appearance and demeanor at all times.

Education and Experience

Required: Master’s degree in the behavioral sciences, with multiple years of relevant work experience; Licensure as a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) from the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board.  A Psychology Assistant with an appropriate Master’s Degree and licensure, with coursework and supervised experience in psychological test administration/interpretation, may also be considered. Teaching and supervisory certification/experience preferred.

Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands described here represent those an employee must meet to perform the essential functions of this job. The work environment characteristics described here represent those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

This position primarily works in a normal office and court environment with no unusual demands or exposure to hazardous situations or materials.  Exposure to defendants with mental health or developmental disabilities may occur; however, security is readily available to de-escalate situations, if necessary.  

Frequent contact occurs with co-workers to discuss work (e.g., office assistants and/or transcriptionists to discuss typing deadlines, other clinicians to discuss the case, other outside department personnel to provide information.)  Frequent contact occurs with defendants, defendants’ family and friends, victims and witnesses to obtain information.  Frequent contact also occurs with judges and probation officers to relay reports and/or opinions.  Additional contact occurs with legal and other mental health professionals to share information.  Occasional court testimony may also be required.

The normal hours of operation for the Court are from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.  This position may require some work beyond normal Court hours, including evenings and weekends. 

Proof of education and employment references will be required before final interview. Current Court policy requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus as a condition of employment. The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas requires submission to a criminal history background check and drug testing for employment. Applicants must submit a letter of interest and a resume by 4:30 P.M. on Friday, December 9, 2022, to:


Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

Gregory Popovich - Court Administrator

1200 Ontario Street

Justice Center - 11th Floor

Cleveland, Ohio  44113




Click here to download a .pdf of the job description.


All applicants will receive notification of their application status. No phone calls or e-mails please.

Reasonable accommodation may be available to qualified employees and applicants; please contact the Director of Human Resources for Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court at 216-443-8562.

Equal Opportunity Employer- Smoke-free and Drug-free Workplace

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Cuyahoga County’s website