Social Workers Precautions

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

Social workers are often tasked with going in the homes of families they work with, but what are the precautions they take before entering these homes?

It is not uncommon for most social workers to attend home visits by themselves.

"What we do emphasize to the social workers and the aides is that they are empowered to solicit additional re-enforcement," said Mark Birdwhistell, secretary of the Cabinet of Health and Family.

Birdwhistell said re-enforcement can include going on a home visit with another employee or bringing along law enforcement to ensure the social worker's safety. He also noted that workers who feel threatened in any situation are free to cancel home meetings.

"The social workers and aides are intimately familiar with the cases that they are responsible for and they are the best judge," Birdwhistell said.

Social work students at WKU said the recent Amber Alert incident definitely made an impact on them.

"It really surprised me and caught me off-guard," said a WKU senior in social Work.

"It was devastating to hear something like that considering that is the profession that I'll be going into," said Raelonda Wynn, another social work senior.

However they are confident that the incident is isolated.

"I'm concerned about thing that can happen but I also understand that there are risks you have to take as a social worker," re-iterated Wynn.

Birdwhistell said that changes to ensure the safety of these state workers were already in progress but are now even more of a concern.

The Cabinet of Health and Family Services says that this is the first death of a social worker since 1987.

Future training will include more emphasis on safety procedures for these state employees.


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