Can a Social Worker End Protective Service Against a Doctor’s Recommendation?


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Ending protective service for a person or child requires knowing the situation fully and if it is in the best interests of the individual. Doing this against the recommendation of a doctor is not advisable, but it may be possible with the right circumstances.

Protective services for children are in place to remove children from negative situations within a household or to assist them with their own personal issues. However, some social workers are overtaxed and not familiar with various situations where children of any age could be a danger to themselves or others. If a doctor has explained this to the parents and the details are in the child’s file, a social worker should have enough information to ensure the protective service remains unless some other factors change. It is vital that the physician communicates with the social services agency and the individual worker on the case has been in contact with all relevant and involved parties.

One of the most important jobs a social worker does when taking on a new client is assessing the situation, the family, friends and evaluating the circumstances of the individual. This helps the worker determined the best and most effective way to assist for positive changes and to improve the situation. Gathering information and reviewing the previous notes is crucial so the employee may fully understand and acknowledge the issues that exist with the child. If this child is not a youth but an older person living at home, there may be special circumstances and factors that must be considered.

The Rights of a Social Worker

The importance of a social worker on a case is often to create and implement a treatment plan. If this is already in place, a new worker with the child or individual may need to reassess and determine if there are improvements that could alter the plan for the benefits of everyone involved. The primary goal of this is to provide the means for the child to recover, overcome and alter his or her own life so that he or she may move on from any past negative experiences. Individual therapy sessions are common along with family sessions and finding a new doctor if previous professionals were unable to progress the child further.

Once a goal has been completed, new difficulties and issues may arise to combat the situation. Many plans and treatment require additional resources. If a child needs to be removed from protective services, it may only be to replace these with something more advantageous. This could involve different therapy, an examination of drugs or treatment and similar concerns. It is vital for social workers to successfully meet and exceed initial objectives. Many circumstances include outside help or specialists that could improve the social and mental health of the child. Then, if this does not help, previous protective services may be reinstated.

Complications with Social Workers

When a new social worker is assigned to a case, he or she could be unwilling to assess the child as according to the previous information and documents. This could lead to going against a doctor’s orders or recommendations. If this is what occurs, there are instances where the child may harm himself or herself or others. In some situations, the social worker could be taken off the case and face civil or criminal charges. It is ill advised to go against a doctor’s recommendation, advice or orders. When these are in place for years, this usually involves multiple examinations and alterations to medication.

Various other complications may arise when the social worker is either new or has determined that a change in protection services is necessary. Without discussing this with the parents or the doctor on the child’s case, this may end in injury to the body of the child, the parents or others. At that point, the family may have enough evidence to seek civil litigation against the social worker. Unfortunately, it does not remedy the situation or help the child if he or she has harmed himself or herself or someone else. However, the first step could include contacting the social worker’s supervisor or manager to understand why the actions were necessary.

Legal Help with Social Workers

A lawyer may need to pursue action against a social worker or the institution if injury occurs and it could have been prevented by following the recommendation of the doctor on the case. Legal representation will protect the rights of the family.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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