Episode 1 - Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin: Social Workers in the Justice System

Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 8:53:28 PM

Image of Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin

This episode features a conversation with domestic violence expert, the Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin, Family Court judge for Erie County, New York, discussing the important role of social workers in the justice system.

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Average Rating: 4.1 stars (11 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 3stars  social work in the criminal justice system , Sunday, February 12, 2017

By Anonymous :

I think that this podcast did a good job of explaining why social workers are relevant in the criminal justice system, or in any field. I was interested to learn that Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin was the first in implement the use of social workers in the system, she recognized the skills that social workers have and how they could benefit the individuals in the field.

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Average Rating: 5stars  hon. lisa bloch rodwin podcast review, Thursday, January 12, 2012

By Shelby Tarrant :

I believe this is a great podcast and was excited to listen to it. The first thing that really caught my attention was how informative and relatable Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin was. It is immediately apparent how knowledgeable she is about both social work and the criminal justice system, both of which appeal to me. I like how she showed the relationship between social work and the legal system and how both have boundaries and that they can be beneficial and essential to each other. I feel like she gets it. She understands and can communicate where the justice system comes into play and where social work comes into play. She clearly identifies the differences between criminal and family court and then shows how social work is involved in most of the different branches of court. Whether it be family, substance abuse, domestic violence, Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS), etc. I feel recognizing this relationship between social work and the justice system is important and I feel Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin communicates it very well. She is relatable and informative and gives you the truth about a part of social work that is not well known (at least it wasn't to me).

I related to this video so much because I am majoring in Criminal Justice/Criminology and so the idea that this relationship exists, is very interesting for me to learn about. I would enjoy learning about this topic further.

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcast review, Thursday, January 12, 2012

By Orlene Loera :

I believe Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin is very informative throughout this podcast. She clearly states the difference between courts and why social workers are needed in the justice system. Family courts bring a plethora of emotional and traumatic cases, and she brings up a good point about domestic violence cases. Of course, family members that have been through violence will need to pick up the pieces that were broken, and social workers are available to help find what is needed for them to move on. I think that everyone that needs help, needs to try to get up on their own with the guidance of social workers, because in the end those people are the ones that are going to continue to live their life. I was not completely aware of how much social workers would be needed in courts, but now I realize social workers are a crucial part of rebuilding safety, among other things.

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Average Rating: 3stars  social workers in the justice system, Thursday, January 12, 2012

By Edith Rojas :

I think this video is a good and informative video for those people who are interested in working in the field of justice system and likes to help people. I think this video would help those people because it provides information of the difference between family court and criminal court, and you could see how that ties in with social work and justice system. Also, because it explains how essential social workers are in the justice system(family court to be precise). Social workers are the first and last person the victim(defendant) comes in contact with in regard to legal issues. Therefore family court is very dependent in social workers due to the fact that they help the victim make decisions and help them through the process of court; almost like a lawyer would to a criminal. In conclusion i found this podcast very useful and informative, because prior to listening to this podcast I had no idea of how social work was related to,or went hand-in-hand with the justice system; and now i am better informed.

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Average Rating: 5stars  she understands the importance of social workers, Thursday, June 02, 2011

By Shermeeka Mason :

While listening to the podcast, I notice that Judge Rodwin actually has the mindset of a social worker herself. For one, she is very familiar with the judicial system, its benefits and limitations (as far as how being of service to families in need) and she created much needed changes within entire systems to help domestic violence victims move forward. She is also very aware of her own limitations. Those who choose be generalist practitioners are basically professional chameleons, applying a library of knowledge into their profession in order to do everything they can for client(s). However, they (the practitioners) have to recognize their own limitations as professionals. Judge Rodwin seems to do so on her own behalf, which is one of the reasons why she respects social workers.

She especially impresses me when she addresses the financial inequalities that affect social workers. Dedicated change agents put forth significant work in the name of the demographic for which they advocate, yet have to endure low wages and budget cuts. I love that fact she recognizes how the capitalist system is shaped to demean those in need and to hinder those who are working hard to change the laws--as well as the world.

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Average Rating: 5stars  "an essential component", Wednesday, March 30, 2011

By Anonymous :

Judge Rodwin really seems to have an in-depth understanding of the social work role in the family court system. She calls it an “essential component” and has made vast efforts to incorporate it in the system in Erie County. I appreciate that she recognizes that the courts need to help the people decide on their own, rather than to dictate the terms to families. Social workers are charged with helping the families get the resources they need to do so. Judge Rodwin recognizes the special skill set that social workers have to work with the emotional aspects of families in crisis. She also recognizes that judge’s do not, and that is just as important. Social workers are trained to work with the underlying issues that led these people to the legal system and to assist them in getting to a point where they are safe in the future. Judge Rodwin also points out that the work that is done with these families will have effects on people we will never meet, even people not born yet.
Judge Rodwin also points out the importance of being able to work with other systems to help change occur. This is something that we talk about often in the school of social work. Being able to connect these people with ALL of the available resources is important, as a system of care that is lacking a key component could result in failure. If we do not recognize a substance abuse problem, for instance, then a domestic violence case which includes this may reappear in the court system again and again.

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Average Rating: 4stars  the role of social workers within the criminal justice system, Wednesday, March 10, 2010

By Meaghan E. :

This was truly an inspiring Podcast. The Honorable Linda Bloch Rodwin shares her genuine passion for the criminal justice system and further, for helping families who are in desperate need of help and guidance. She reports on the importance of social workers within the criminal justice system. The judge states that social workers are required to help and address the underlying issues that contribute to people finding themselves within the criminal justice system. I think it is wonderful that the first person a family will meet is a social worker, as I recognize how overwhelming and honestly, scary, the formality and technicality of the justice system may appear to families in need. Thus, connecting first with a social worker will ideally help prepare the individual or family for what is to be expected, and provide them with tools and strategies for the future.

Further, Judge Rodwi discusses the major role that social workers have of helping people to make informed decisions and the measures to take to help keep the family safe. As is reported in this podcast (and is a major theme of the MSW program here at UB), macro change only requires the work of one person to get started. If we can make change in simply one individual’s life, a ripple effect will occur, and this positive change will eventually work to affect and support many people, thus, in the end, inducing macro level change.

Ultimately, the presenter was inspirational, and confirmed for me the reason I am studying social work and plan to establish a career in this field. I have a great deal of respect for the Honorable Linda Bloch Rodwin, and I applaud her for her ongoing work in the criminal justice system, and further, her drive to encourage different systems to work together in order to benefit individuals and families.

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Average Rating: 4stars  why can't we all work together?, Thursday, February 18, 2010

By Katelyn Murray :

I am a JD/MSW student at UB so I see the legal and social work side of Family Court. When I first told law students that I would be enrolled in social work classes many people responded with negative comments and shock that I would want to do social work.

Listening to the Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin solidified for me some of the reasons why I received this reaction. It is so refreshing to hear a judge speak so highly of social workers and to applaud our work. She explained that lawyers and judges do not have the training to effectively deal with the emotional aspects of people who come to Family Court. However, dealing with the underlying issues is critical to keeping these families safe and helping them remain out of Family Court.

Lawyers are taught to help these families according to the law and therefore it is essential to have social workers who can work with families to provide them with the tools they need to remain healthy and safe. It is amazing to see interdisciplinary agencies evolving such as the Family Justice Center, Hispanics United for Buffalo and the Child Advocacy Center. Judge Rodwin was instrumental in creating these facilities and has demonstrated that change can happen. I think one of the most important things that Judge Rodwin said during this interview was that there is no system that cannot be changed. This is inspiring to the field of social work. Social workers must advocate for their clients and create change on a macro level and it is important to note that these large scale changes may require help from other fields such as law.

This interview demonstrates how closely related the goals and mission of lawyers and social workers can be while at the same time how crucial it is to have interdisciplinary agencies because of the specialization of each fields services. Just as we would not expect social workers to argue in a courtroom, we cannot expect lawyers to counsel families. Collaboration between these fields is key.

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Average Rating: 4stars  navigating through the court system, Monday, February 01, 2010

By Tammy Simmons :

It was so refreshing to hear a judge be so enlightened to the importance of social workers in the court systems. As an upcoming social worker and a person who works in the field as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, Honorable Rodwin was an inspiration. I find myself in family court often with families in crisis and recognize how intimidating the lawyers and judges can be to the people standing before them. As Honorable Rodwin mentions, these are broken families in need of mending. A social worker can provide the tools and resources needed to help these families continue with future decisions after a judge helps them to decide an immediate decision.

A judge must remain impartial and just look at the facts that are placed before them. They cannot deal with the emotions and support the family may need at the time. The social worker is in place to help these families navigate through the court and legal system. They are able to connect and follow up with the families.

It was inspiring to hear her passion for making a difference in family courts and her emphasis on changing systems. She mentions the importance of self care and maintaining a life outside of work in order to be effective. I am even more excited to be a part of this life changing field and enjoyed listening to the Honorable Lisa Bloch Rodwin communicate her commitment to the field.

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Average Rating: 4stars  the active role of social workers in family court, Tuesday, January 19, 2010

By Jean Surma :

Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin statements demonstrate her in-depth knowledge of a social worker's role in Family Court, and at the same time she speaks so positively about the skills a social worker brings to the justice system. It appears from the conversation that the Hon. Rodwin truly values social workers and has utilized their skills in the many different programs she has initiated. After listening to this podcast and having experience as a caseworker in Family Court; I recalled having a very limited role in the courtroom itself and very little contact with the Family Court Judge. The fact that the Hon. Rodwin has employed social workers in most of the programs she has initiated leads me to believe that a social worker in Erie County Family Court would have a very active and visible role.
The Hon. Lisa Block Rodwin also provided some great advice on self-care and really emphasized how social workers have the ability to assist an individual in changing their life as well as the ability to change the systems around them. Overall this podcast was inspiring and uplifting.

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Average Rating: 4stars  "social workers in the justice system", Tuesday, January 12, 2010

By tking :

After listening to the Honorable Linda Bloch Rodwin and her dedication to the justice system, I found a great deal of admiration for a woman that I have never met. Her respect and understanding of the role of a Social Worker was unique. Many members of society are aware of some of the aspects of a Social Workers' position, however the Hon. Linda Bloch Rodwin seems to have exceeding appreciation, and knowledge of the need for social workers in the justice system. She emphasizes that social workers not only understand how a family, or individual has gotten to a point in his or her life that they are appearing in a court room, but the importance of the skills and resources that a social worker can assist clients in obtaining once the person is in need.

The Judge also gives an excellent description of the difference between a criminal court room, and a family court room. Pointing out that the emotions of every person involved in a family court case can run very high, and be very tense. Often she is dealing with heartbreaking situations in many of the cases. It seems very important to Judge Bloch Rodwin to help families find their way to healing, and that is one of the reasons the Judge has some much admiration for Social Workers.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.