Worker Safety - Supporting Staff in the Delivery of Services
To be effective, workers must have a safe and suitable workspace. This includes ready access to cell phones and reliable and safe transportation; comfortable, safe offices with adequate meeting space; and the option of teaming on difficult or potentially violent cases. The following resources describe worker safety challenges and offer guidelines for promoting worker safety, including State and local examples.
Being Prepared for Ongoing CPS Safety Management
Action for Child Protection (2005)
Discusses the essential understanding an ongoing child proctective services (CPS) worker must possess when assigned a case involving safety issues. It provides a summary of safety intervention tasks within the CPS process and a list of social worker safety intervention responsibilities.
The CPS Worker: Making a Case for Safety
National Children's Advocacy Center (2007)
Provides CPS workers and other home visitors with information on how to identify potentially harmful conditions and how to defuse volatile situations.
Meth and Family-Centered Child Welfare Practice
North Carolina Division of Social Services and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work Family and Children's Resource Program
Children's Services Practice Notes, 10(2), 2005
Reviews risk factors for child maltreatment and suggests techniques for helping families. Emphasis is placed on worker safety, family strengths and involvement in services, comprehensive assessment of parenting skills, cooperation with law enforcement agencies, addiction treatment, and permanency planning. (PDF - 287 KB)
Safety Precautions in Methamphetamine Lab Sites for Child Protection Workers (PDF - 106 KB)
Minnesota Department of Human Services (2005)
Reviews the dangers of methamphetamine lab sites to child welfare workers and lists possible symptoms related to short-term chemical exposure. Worker safety precautions are discussed.
Safety on the Job: How Managers Can Help Workers
Children's Voice, March 2010
Explains the dangers faced by child welfare workers and provides strategies for managers to keep staff safe while confronting mounting caseloads, budget cuts, and reduced resource, State and local examples included.
Social Work Safety
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Provides a collection of resources focused on worker safety, including NASW standards for safety.
Social Worker Personal Safety
Simmons College School of Social Work
Provides simple steps for social workers to take to help plan for their safety when working with survivors of domestic violence and their batterers.
A Study on Social Worker Safety Practices From Alabama to Missouri and the District of Columbia (PDF - 11028 KB)
Blair, Campbell, Coleman, Kiser, & Smith (2010)
Presents a compilation of agency policies, safety training requirements, and curricula used across the country to identify best practices for improving social worker safety.
Work-Related Trauma Effects in Child Protection Social Workers
Journal of Social Service Research, 32(3), 2006
Examined whether negative workplace events were associated with workplace trauma effects amongst child welfare workers, and considered whether job support or job satisfaction moderated the influence of events on effects.
State and local examples
Domestic Violence Protocol for Child Protective Services Intervention
Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, North Carolina (2003)
Provides guidelines for child protective service practice with families that are experiencing domestic violence as well as child maltreatment. The protocol also addresses considerations for interviewing mothers, children, and batterers and for ensuring worker safety.
Personal Safety for Visiting Professionals (PDF - 153 KB)
Minneapolis Police Department (2007)
Includes safety guidelines for professionals who conduct home visits.
Social Worker Safety Tips (PDF - 46 KB)
Syracuse University, School of Social Work (2010)
Provides social workers with strategies for staying safe while providing services, including safety tips for arriving at work, planning for a home visit, traveling to a site, and conducting office visits.
Standards and Values for Public Child Welfare Practice in California Worker Safety
California Social Work Education Center
Provides links to materials used in the worker safety content area of the CalSWEC curriculum. The session addresses three aspects of safety: self-awareness, environmental awareness in the office and in the field, and client awareness.
Workplace Violence: Perceptions and Experiences of Local Public Assistance and Child Support Enforcement Staff and Managers (PDF - 735 KB)
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2000)
Summarizes information the Department gathered about workplace violence from local welfare and child support enforcement staff. Staff from 99 local child support and 103 local public assistance offices in California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia provided information.