Bill seeks to improve safety for New Jersey child protection workers

Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Photo: Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Trenton, NJ – Several New Jersey lawmakers have proposed legislation to help safeguard child protection workers from violent encounters.

The New Jersey Assembly Human Services Committee recently approved the legislation. If approved by state lawmakers and signed by the governor, Bill A4638 would implement several safety-related requirements, including:

  • Ensuring a human-services police officer is assigned to provide security at every building where caseworkers’ offices are located.
  • Requiring every local office to include a metal detector and metal detector wands to be used by law-enforcement officers.
  • Installing a “panic button” in each meeting room where caseworkers sit down with clients.
  • Equipping at least one meeting or conference room in every local office with a two-way mirror so a human-services police officer can keep watch.

The legislation comes about one year after a violent attack on a state caseworker.

“If we allow these types of security lapses to remain, these employees will continue to be at risk,” Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D) said in a press release. “We need to recruit and retain qualified, committed caseworkers. How can we do that if they don’t feel safe?”