Child Protective Services Workers in Harms Way

According to a recent report Child Protective Services workers are regularly placed in danger while working.


Our Asheville worker’s compensation lawyers are aware that Child Protective Services workers are often placed in stressful, tense situations. The primary concern is whether there are sufficient protections and policies for keeping these workers safe.

Child Protective Services workers have extremely high turnover rates in part because of inadequate and fragmented policies for safety.

Research indicates that policies existed to protect the safety of workers in the office but workers who perform field work had no delineated safety protocols and limited resources.

A social worker at Child Protective Services is required to meet with clients at all hours of the day, in the client’s home, seven days a week. A social worker may never know whether they are going to visit an individual who is mentally ill, violent, or intoxicated.

The lack of knowledge means that social workers are exposed to an unsafe and unpredictable work environment.

Social workers are not permitted to carry any form of defense weapon. Devices such as tasers and pepper spray are prohibited. Moreover, social workers receive very limited self-defense training.

Often the limited form of self defense training social workers do receive is focused on understanding how potential clients may view authority.

Research also showed that social workers do not all use cellular phones while working. This is due, in part, to the fact that the agency does not supply workers with cellphones. Agencies often let individual workers decide whether they want to utilize state issued cellphones.

Some social workers use personal cellphones to communicate with clients, store client information and take pictures.

In addition social workers all drive vehicles that can easily be identified which makes it easy for clients to stalk or track them – this problem is exacerbated by the fact that many workers live in the communities they serve (possible in close proximity to their clients).

The National Association for Social Workers released a set of guidelines earlier this year including tips on preventing violence by reporting and monitoring past instances of violence.

The guidelines also encourage the use if internal alert systems and mobile safety devices that incorporate GPS technology to locate a social worker should trouble arise.

Additionally, cellphones should be required by all social workers as well as extra batteries and a car charger to ensure a social worker can always communicate the need for help.

Social workers are encouraged to develop the use of code words so they can ask for help without alerting problematic clients.

The published guidelines also encourage the social worker to assess the area they are travelling to and possible risk factors of each potential neighborhood. Examples include: the likelihood of getting lost, the likelihood of violence in the neighborhood, history of substance abuse and history of violence with the particular client.

Contact our Carolina worker’s compensation attorneys today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blog Posts:

Contact with Object or Equipment Causes Substantial Workplace Fatalities, North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Blog, October 7, 2013.

Why NC Workers Fail to Report Workplace Hazards, North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Blog, October 29, 2013.

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