Public defender gets forensic social worker

The Office of Public Defender for the 8th Judicial District is benefiting from a pilot program that is now providing the services of Meg Roberts, hired as the forensic social worker for the district office.

Leif Jeffers, who is the public defender for five counties in upper east Tennessee, says the unique program is originating from a partnership with the Tennessee Community Services Agency (TCSA).

Jeffers says the program will provide better access to services like alcohol and drug treatment, counseling, mental and medical health programs and will provide help in obtaining housing, employment and other vital services.

“I am very proud of the way we represent our clients in the courtroom every day. The addition of the forensic social worker will allow us to better serve our clients and community. We can help our clients get the services they desperately need and help them begin to work on repairing themselves and their families so that they can better their lives. This, in turn, helps us all,” said Jeffers.

He elaborated on just how the pilot program will provide positive responses to issues now facing the counties within the district like the opioid crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have all had a tough year dealing with COVID. We all know someone who has been hurt by the opioid abuse problem. Mental health issues, grief, isolation, medical problems and financial hardships are everyday realities for too many people. These issues have impacted many of us, and now we can better help our clients deal with them,” said Jeffers.

Roberts will be working from the Jacksboro Office, However, she will be available for referrals from public defender attorneys in Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union counties – the five under the 8th Judicial District.

For more information, call Jeffers at: 423-563-9701.