Social Workers Share Risks in Their Jobs

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Social Workers, such as Ms. Fredricks, are allowed to go into the home to provide services consistent with their job descriptions.

They transport foster children to supervised visits, as Mr. Fredricks was doing, is just one part of the job. So it's not uncommon for someone with this job to be alone with the child and the family even though it can be a tense situation.

We're told if a social worker feels threatened or vulnerable, they are empowered to secure the services of reinforcements.

Mark Birdwhistle, the Secretary of Health and Family Services, says that means social workers can call in other staff members or even law enforcement for back up. He also says they have the right to cancel a visit or appointment is they feel there is a danger.

Birdwhistle says, "there are 4,700 employees the department of community services and they face difficult circumstances daily. They are dedicated workers. They show up everyday not knowing what types of situations they may encounter. Our jobs as administrators is to ensure they have the training and resources they need to minimize the risks."

Birdwhistle says the last time a social services worker was killed on duty was in May of 1987, when Paul Grannis was killed in Fleming County during a child protection investigation.