Barnes: Social workers deserve praise

Published 1:53 pm Monday, March 20, 2006

By Staff
Staff reports
Whether the victim is a child, an elderly person or a disabled adult, abuse is a crime that is dealt with most effectively when there is heightened public awareness, child and elderly welfare advocates said.
Because they are often isolated, immobile or both, these vulnerable adults could very easily become forgotten victims. Fortunately, their safety and well being are always the top priority for adult protective service workers with the Department of Human Resources.
Gov. Bob Riley's proclamation of March as Professional Social Work Month provides the perfect opportunity to recognize and commend these dedicated public servants, state DHR Commissioner Page Walley said.
Unfortunately, abuse and neglect of disabled adults and the elderly sometimes don't receive the attention given to cases involving child victims.
The National Conference of Social Work is focusing on the growing demand for services for aging baby boomers, as part of this year's observance of Professional Social Work Month. Baby boomers - people born between 1946 and 1964 - represent 27 percent of the population.
Escambia County DHR Director Lynn Barnes agrees the agency's adult protective service workers deserve special recognition.
Some elderly or disabled people are victimized by their own children or by other relatives. Barnes said that it is not unusual for them to be subjected to financial exploitation by people who use threats of physical harm to ensure their silence. Others, she added, are victims of self-neglect due to physical or mental limitations.
To report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of disabled adults or the elderly, contact the Escambia County DHR at 251-809-200 or call 1-800-458-7214.