I participated in a local phone conference call-town hall meeting last night. It was a county-level group, which also include Charles Dent our local US Representative.
A county social worker called in. She brought out two issues.
1) As a field worker, she was visiting a family. It appears that she was also accompanied on that visit by at least one other agency colleague. She felt "uncomfortable" in the home, but could not pinpoint the reason. The other co-worker expressed the same feeling. To satisfy her curiosity, she did an internet search and found that the man in the family had been convicted in another state for disseminating child pornography and had also been arrested for murder (she did not have further info on the latter).
Her concern was that county workers would be sent into such situations with no knowledge of this "history". She presumed that there were other agencies in the county that would have had this information, but it was not conveyed to her department. She had to research the information independently. She actually questioned whether, she as a middle-aged woman might actually have been placed in a dangerous situation by not having this knowledge. Sounds reasonable to me that she should be able to prevent herself from being put in a dangerous situation. She's not getting "combat pay" to be a social worker.
2) In visiting families she has seen evidence of drug abuse and dealing, as well as seeing other violations of agency rules, such as people living in the home who are not authorized to be living there; and illegal aliens receiving these county benefits. County policy prevents her from breaching confidentiality by reporting any illegal activities that she may find in a client home. Does this make any sense?
Is there no law that REQUIRES one to report a law being broken?