Social Worker- Youth Justice Project

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Entry Level

Community Legal Services, Inc. (CLS) is seeking to hire a compassionate and driven Social Worker for its Youth Justice Project (YJP). This is a full-time position, and it will be located at the 1424 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia office. 

CLS is a nationally recognized legal services program that is dedicated to fighting poverty, challenging systems that perpetuate injustice, and changing lives though cutting-edge advocacy and exceptional legal representation. CLS helps people when they face the threat of losing their homes, incomes, health care, and even their families. CLS attorneys and other staff provide a full range of legal services, from individual representation to administrative advocacy to class action litigation, as well as community education and social work. CLS is a private, non-profit law firm dedicated to providing excellent, free legal services to low-income Philadelphians since 1966.

YJP uses a holistic, community-based model of legal representation to give youth aged 16-24 an opportunity to stabilize their lives and move past the legal obstacles that keep them in poverty. YJP holds a rotating series of legal clinics for youth at community sites throughout Philadelphia, connecting with youth who are often unaware of their rights and resolving the multiple legal problems they may be facing. For example, YJP opens the doors to success by providing expungements that lead to employment and education opportunities, connecting youth with public benefits that keep them safe and healthy, and helping young parents provide the best care for their families. The YJP social worker will work on a team with lawyers and paralegals to provide direct support on client cases; help staff community-based clinics and liaise with community-based organizations; and provide support for our Youth Action Fellowship program. 

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

Client Work

  • Work with legal team to assist youth clients in accessing services and referrals, navigating systems, and providing other support as needed to work toward their goals.
  • Help maintain contact with youth through relationship building, and follow-up in the short and long-term, to assess whether needs have been met.
  • Supervise social work students interning with CLS on client and project work.
  • Provide social work consults to CLS unit staff who interface frequently with youth clients.

Community Engagement

  • Identify and develop relationships with new community partners and build upon existing community relationships.
  • Attend community-based clinics and provide support to the YJP paralegal regarding our holistic screening tool and making and receiving referrals from community partners.

Special Projects

  • Help facilitate the Youth Action Fellowship program through which young people with lived experience are hired for a part-time year-long paid fellowship to partner with the YJP and CLS on advocacy, outreach, and communications projects.
  • Assist staff with ongoing special projects such as policy and legal changes, grant applications, data collection and analysis, etc.
  • Identify training needs for YJP and CLS staff and assist with development of new staff trainings on best practices, social service areas, or community resources.

Required and/or Preferred Skills and Abilities:

  • Master’s in Social Work (M.S.W.) required.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Dependability, initiative, motivation and concern for the interests of youth.
  • Commitment to racial justice and to combating intersectional oppression.
  • Non-judgmental, empathetic, patient, and understanding.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with other staff as member of a legal team.
  • Experience working with youth is preferred.
  • Ability to speak another language helpful, but not required.
  • Coursework and experience with research, collecting/analyzing data and programs helpful, but not required.

 Additional Position Requirements:

  • Some evening and weekend work will be required. CLS offers flexible schedule arrangements subject to the approval of a legal manager. 
  • Ability to travel to different parts of the city (via public transportation).

To Apply: CLS will accept applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.  You can submit your application on CLS’s website online at  OR by clicking "Apply Now" below

What to Include in your application: Please include a cover letter, resume, three professional references (past or current supervisors preferred) identifying your relationship, and one brief writing sample (10 pages or less).

CLS values a diverse work environment and strongly encourages women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness and people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal, or child welfare systems to apply. CLS invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.

Compensation: This is a full-time position covered by the collective bargaining agreement between CLS and the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFL-CIO and its affiliate District 1199C. The current minimum starting salary is $56,680 for entry-level applicants, which increases with relevant years of experience and according to the provisions of the current collective bargaining agreement. CLS asks for a minimum two-year commitment from individuals who accept an offer of employment for a paralegal position.

Benefits: CLS offers a very generous and competitive benefits package including 100% employer paid medical (including gender affirming care), life, and short/long-term disability benefits, a 403(b)-retirement plan with employer contribution, and a generous leave package, including 13 paid holidays and five personal holidays each year.

Community Legal Services, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. CLS, Inc. does not discriminate in the selection of employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, genetics, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status. In addition to federal law requirements, CLS complies with all applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.


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