Cell phones delivered to CHFS staff in Henderson and Union counties
Effort is part of an initiative to improve the safety of social workers
On Dec. 8, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell and CHFS Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) Commissioner Tom Emberton Jr. delivered cellular phones to several DCBS staff in the Henderson and Union county offices. The phones are part of a larger electronic tool kit to help child and protective services staff better protect themselves and serve clients. Staff will also receive a digital camera with docking station and a small laptop computer.
Also on Dec. 8, a ceremony was held in Owensboro to honor a western Kentucky social services aide who died earlier this year in the line of duty. Gov. Ernie Fletcher paid tribute to Boni Frederick, who was 67 when she died on Oct. 16. Frederick was supervising a state foster child’s court-ordered visit with his mother when she was beaten to death.
At the ceremony, Gov. Fletcher said his administration is working with lawmakers on proposed legislation that will provide additional technology and staffing.
“It is important that we learn from this tragedy and work on legislation that ensures the safety and security of our social service workers,” said Gov. Fletcher.
Emberton launched an initiative in January to enhance safety in DCBS offices and in clients’ homes. Since Frederick’s death, he has formed a work group to identify several areas for improvement. Efforts include enhanced staff training, facility assessments by security experts and the appointment of a DCBS safety officer and safety officers in each of the department’s nine regions.
Also in partnership with legislators, Fletcher is pushing for security enhancements to all local DCBS offices, as well as an expansion of Jefferson County’s successful parent advocate program, which helps act as a support system for parents involved with the child welfare system.