Director of Social Work
Gittel Kagan is the Director of Social Work at Brooklyn Defender Services, Family Defense Practice. Ms. Kagan founded the Family Defense Practice’s interdisciplinary social work program in its inception in 2007. She has over thirteen years of social work experience in New York City. Ms. Kagan developed the Family Defense Practice’s social work intern program, which hosts interns from Hunter College, Fordham University, Columbia University, Long Island University, and New York University’s schools of social work. Ms. Kagan is responsible for managing BDS’s social work department, including eight Family Defense social workers, two parent advocates, nine Criminal Defense social workers, and two social work assistants.
Prior to the founding of the Family Defense Practice, Ms. Kagan worked at Legal Services NYC for seven years, assisting attorneys across all of its Brooklyn offices, as a part of the Keeping Families Together program.
Ms. Kagan also worked at The Living Room, serving Orthodox Jewish young adults in recovery, for ten years, specializing in support programming for young women aged 14-30. She has been on the cusp of program development targeting at-risk orthodox young women since 2000.While at the Living Room, Ms. Kagan facilitated a long-running women’s support group, linked clients with long term substance abuse counseling, and conducted crisis intervention for hundreds of individual clients. Gittel played a key role in the founding and development of both Girls Our Place and The Living Room Girls programs.
Ms. Kagan attended the University of Maryland-School of Social Work. She graduated in 2000 with an M.S.W. with a concentration on clinical work with families and children.