Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has signed on as a co-leader of the Protecting Social Workers and Health Professionals from Workplace Violence Act of 2019 along with Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA). This bill establishes a Social workers Safety Grant Program within HHS to fund state’s efforts to improve safety measures for social workers. These grants can be used to purchase safety equipment, make facility improvements, facilitate safety training programs, provide support services for social workers who have been victims of violence, or track incident data to mitigate future offenses against social workers. The bill also broadens the definition of “social work” and includes “health professionals” to encompass a wider range of individuals who would be eligible to receive the grants. An identical version of the bill is being led in the Senate by Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL).
“I am proud to co-lead this important bill to provide resources to social workers and health professionals, keeping them safer and protecting them in the workplace,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “These workers do an important job and provide a wide range of services in increasingly complex environments and situations. Due to the nature of their jobs, these professionals are more likely to be physically and/or verbally assaulted while on the job than workers in other occupations. Strengthening workplace safety will go a long way in recruiting and retaining qualified social workers and health service professionals in areas without direct service providers. These people are desperately needed especially in regions like the North Country, which can often be very rural or isolated. I will continue to advocate for job development and find real solutions to support our workforce and our communities.”