TOPEKA – The State of Kansas employs hundreds of social workers who spend countless hours ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable adults, children and families. Today, on World Social Work Day, Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore and Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Shawn Sullivan want to express their appreciation for all that social workers do for Kansans in need.
“As a licensed social worker, I know the hard work and dedication it takes to serve individuals who are in difficult situations.” Secretary Gilmore said. “The job can be emotionally draining and without thanks; social workers deserve to know they are appreciated.”
“KDADS appreciates the dedicated professionalism our social workers bring to their jobs every day. Secretary Sullivan said. “They make a significant contribution to the comprehensive care and services we provide our patients and clients.”
DCF Social Worker Jill Smith-Barker has served residents in the Salina area since 2000. She investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. She says the greatest reward is to know you have helped someone who might have otherwise suffered additional trauma.
“To be the person who can make life better for an innocent child is a tremendous honor,” Smith-Barker said. “Although the job can be difficult, I wouldn’t change my career for anything.”
In recent years, additional DCF social workers have been added and the agency is working to improve technology to enhance communication and safety.
DCF currently has 343 social workers and 53 social work supervisors. KDADS has 14 degreed social workers in its central office in Topeka and 35 within the State hospitals. KDADS Commissioner for Community Services and Programs Gina Meier-Hummel is a licensed social worker with more than 20 years of experience in social and behavioral health services.
To become a social worker, individuals must graduate from an accredited university with at least a bachelor’s degree in social welfare. They must also pass a licensure exam and maintain the license with 40 hours of continuing education, every two years.
DCF will continue its appreciation of social workers throughout March, Social Work Month. On March 27, a motivational speaker will address social workers through video conference to renew their passion and commitment to help Kansans in need.
Social Worker Jill Smith-Barker investigates child abuse and neglect.
She serves the Salina community.