Theresa “Terry” Secrest has worked as a social worker with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) since 1998, working side by side with legal aid attorneys, police officers, and case managers from the Attorney General’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund to support crime victims, including victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She discovered her passion for social work while assisting people with a diagnosis of mental retardation and mental health issues at Austin Travis County Integral Care. Inspired by that experience, she returned to school to get a Master of Social Work degree and has supported TRLA clients ever since. The LegalFront spoke with Terry to learn more about her important work:
What are the advantages of having a social worker on staff at a legal aid office?
In working with TRLA, as social workers, we focus on “crisis stabilization,” which is essentially helping those who have been affected by a crime walk through the processes during a time which is often hugely emotional and overwhelming. There are five social workers within TRLA; besides Austin, there are social workers in the Edinburg, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and El Paso offices.
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