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Abstract

Literature surrounding safety issues affecting the child welfare system is examined with a special emphasis on rural Appalachia. A review of the existing literature regarding personal safety and safety training of child welfare employees revealed limitations. The annual conference of the National Association of Social Workers in West Virginia provided a venue for gathering information regarding overall incidents of a threatening nature to child welfare social workers. Information regarding the numbers and types of safety trainings provided to the child welfare social workers was also explored. Two of the authors designed a workshop as a focus group from which information could be used to lobby for policy change. The authors suggest recommendations for improved worker safety procedures, training, and agency support. They additionally suggest inclusion of worker safety training into the Council on Social Work Education mandated curriculum. Implications for the social work profession, field education, and future research are discussed.

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