Risk Management in Social Services

Social service providers need to have a strategic risk management plan. The work that they do involves a considerable degree of liability exposure. Both employees and clients could experience a variety of harm in the scope of their work.


Both independently managed and public agencies need to adopt good screening for choosing job applicants. They need to assure that everyone who they hire has all requisite education, experience, and licensure. They must also take steps to ensure that their hiring practices are compliant with all applicable state and federal law pertaining to employment


Comprehensive staff training is a vital part of risk management in social work. Staff will need to receive training that is specific to the population that they serve.


Agencies should adopt procedures aimed at keeping employees safe. Examples of effective safety policies include admittance protocols for facilities and equipping workers with ways to stay in close communication with one another.


Adequate social work insurance is integral to an agency’s risk management plan. In addition to a general liability policy, an agency may need to obtain other policies such as professional liability insurance as well as workers’ compensation coverage.

Social service providers should evaluate their current risk management strategies. Being proactive about risk can help agencies better serve clients while also safeguarding employees.