The Family Defense Team at NDS represents parents in child welfare and related family court cases, including custody, visitation and termination of parental rights proceedings. Through our holistic approach to representation, the Family Defense Team provides parents with the help they need—both inside and outside of court—to keep their families safe and stable. Parents are represented not only by a high-quality attorney, but also social workers, team administrators, and parent advocates. NDS is committed to advancing due process rights for parents by fighting unwarranted state intervention in their lives and advocating for related systemic change.

Position Purpose:

Reporting to the Supervising Social Worker, provide timely and thorough support to clients as part of NDS’ interdisciplinary team.

Key Responsibilities:

1. Respond quickly and communicate clearly with clients, their families, and case workers;
2. Advocate for clients at ACS and agency case conferences;
3. Conduct client interviews and help with assessments to determine social service needs;
4. Assist in identifying and securing placement of clients in programs intended to address problems such as mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, educational and vocational training needs;
5. Assist in developing service plans for clients;
6. Communicate and advocate with service providers about clients’ needs;
7. Conduct home visits and accompany clients to necessary appointments;
8. Work as part of the interdisciplinary team, including attorneys and social workers, to determine case strategy.


1. A demonstrated commitment to parents’ rights, indigent defense, social justice issues and/or the Harlem communities;
2. Experience with Family Court and/or the child welfare system and/or working with mentally ill clients is strongly preferred;
3. Excellent interpersonal, analytical, writing, and communication skills;
4. Strong organizational skills in order to manage a high caseload in a very fast-paced environment;
5. A college degree;
6. Spanish language fluency is preferred.


Compensation is commensurate with experience and is in adherence to the NDS compensation scale. Full medical and dental benefits, as well as other benefits, are provided.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume and writing sample to with the subject line, “FDT Parent Advocate.”

Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.