Forensic Social Work is the application of social work principles and modalities as they interface with the law and the legal system. Forensic social work can be used in criminal and civil matters, family law, workman’s compensation, and medical negligence cases.
Ms. Cruz is considered an expert witness in court and can render court testimony and recommendations during the time of sentencing and/or settlements. In addition she is a native Spanish speaker and can conduct psychological assessments in English or Spanish, eliminating the extra cost of hiring a translator.
Ms. Cruz has written reports for cases ranging from violation of parole to murder one charges. The majority of these reports have resulted in charge reductions, including a reduction from initial murder one charges to second degree and/or manslaughter. Sentencing memorandums provide the court alternatives to incarceration, resulting in a decrease in incarceration time, and a greater emphasis placed on treatment. Reports have also been used for plea agreements, re-entry planning, civil cases, medical malpractice, workman’s compensation, child support and custody battles. The full reports provide in depth psychosocial information that can be critical in workman’s compensation cases and medical malpractice, and help attorneys obtain the monitory compensation that the client and their family deserves.
Forensic social workers are trained to work with attorneys and understand the legal process involved in the judicial system. Ms. Cruz maintains a master’s degree in Social Work and an Advanced Forensic Social Work Certification from the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work. Forensic Social Workers can provide clinical assessments and recommendations comparable to a psychologist, at a lesser cost. Forensic reports enable the legal system to see beyond the charges or allegations and truly see the individual’s psychosocial and mitigating factors that should be considered in a case. In addition all reports come with court recommendations that focus on the greatest need of the client. Recommendations for criminal matters include a comprehensive re-entry plan, addressing the numerous barriers involved with re-entry. Direct referrals and services are coordinated through Cruz and Associates and the referring agency to allow for a stream line process. In civil matters the reports and recommendations focus on the ongoing need of the client which would be in the form of psychotherapy, addictions counseling, physical rehabilitation as well as other forms of treatment). In civil and criminal matters, Cruz and Associates does a comprehensive job collecting, analyzing and applying key findings found with medical, educational and judicial records. Cruz and Associates recommendations have a proven positive impact on sentencing and/or settlement outcomes
Fees vary depending on the type of case. Some cases require in depth psychosocial assessments which require more time collecting and analyzing medical records, obtaining collateral information in order to make appropriate recommendations. Services are based on an hourly rate with an additional fee per every court appearance.
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