Associate Director of Field Education Judith Perlstein Applauded for Her Efforts in Advocating for Social Work Safety

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March 4th, 2013

On Friday, February 15, 2013, Governor Patrick signed the NASW-MA Chapter’s Social Work Safety in the Workplace legislation into law*. It is a huge victory for the social work profession and the clients and communities served by the profession, and was made possible through the combined efforts of several groups and individuals, including the Statewide Social Work Safety Task Force, jointly convened by NASW and the Boston University School of Social Work in 2008, and the NASW-MA Chapter Board of Directors.

The School of Social Work applauds Judith Perlstein, associate director of field education and clinical assistant professor, for her efforts to support the campaign as co-chair of the safety task force, who advocated for the safety legislation and developed a page on the NASW-MA website devoted to safety. Perlstein also testified at a hearing regarding the need for the safety legislation, and helped revise the safety policies and procedures at the School. For the last 5 years, the School has provided a 2-hour training session on safety for students going into the field, based on feedback from a safety survey conducted by Perlstein.

 

 

*Text of Safety Legislation Signed into Law on February 15, 2013:

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall promulgate regulations within six months of the effective date of this act to ensure that all programs providing direct services to clients and operated by or licensed, certified, or funded by a department or division of the executive office of health and human services (“programs”) have a workplace violence prevention and crisis response plan updated at least annually for social workers, human services workers, volunteers, and all other employees. Each such program shall provide a copy of the current plan to any employee of the program who requests it.

Workplace violence prevention and crisis response plans may include: (a) establishment of a system for centrally recording all incidents of workplace violence or threats of workplace violence against social workers, human services workers, volunteers, and all other employees providing direct services; (b) preparation of a written violence prevention and crisis response plan that includes measures the program intends to take to respond to any incident of workplace violence against social workers, human services workers, volunteers, and all other employees providing direct services; (c) providing each such worker with a copy of the violence prevention and crisis response plan; (d) implementing training to educate social workers, human services workers, volunteers, and all other employees providing direct services about workplace violence and ways to reduce risks; and (e) developing and maintaining a violence prevention and response team or committee to monitor ongoing compliance with the violence prevention and crisis response plan and to assist any social workers, human services workers, volunteers, and all other employees providing direct services who may be victimized by or threatened with workplace violence. Programs that do not have training in place shall require their employees to enroll in training to be developed and offered by the executive office of health and human services.