Risk Management for Social Service Organizations

Amongst the various types of social services, a number of different ethical issues can present themselves. From use of force to stories of sexual abuse to claims related to inappropriate behavior, social service organizations can find themselves in the middle of one potential lawsuit after another. Social service organizations must choose the right actions in order to cut down on risk and maximize positive outcomes. This can be done by working with an effective risk management plan provider that can outline a resourceful and efficient risk management plan, reducing the potential for legal issues by identifying risks and coming up with solutions.

Here’s a better look at the risk management process and how social services can benefit from it.

What is Risk Management?

Even though risks can vary widely in social services, they all have to do with the relationships between social workers and those they serve. From harm to clients, whether intentional or not, to inflicting harm against staff, all members of the organization need to be attentive to the different risks they face, including physical, psychological, spiritual, ethical or financial.

Risk management is meant to identify potential risks that may come up in the social worker field. Stories of Caregivers crossing ethical lines–while not common–are not unheard of in the industry. The goal is to identify these risks before they occur and minimize potential harm to anyone involved. By managing risks, workers and agencies can make strategic choices about what risks to approach and what to avoid altogether.

Social service organizations should consider a risk management plan that includes facing risk interventions that can in turn yield the best possible outcomes. Social workers and their agencies should always be mindful when it comes to protecting their employees with a comprehensive social services insurance plan. These programs bring together insurance brokers with social services clients, highlighting the opportunity to support social services with protection and effective risk management coverage.

Risk Management in Social Services

Altogether, risk management in social services, including group homes, is a purposeful and effective approach to keeping practices ethical. Risk management policies can help to highlight the consequences and different courses of action for particular claims to minimize future occurrences.

A risk-averse approach to decision-making may help keep staff members of group homes and their agencies protected from lawsuits. However, some clients may be held back from receiving services that can provide the benefits they need, including interventions that get to the root of the problems rather than treating surface issues and/or symptoms.

These limitations may result in claims related to malpractice, which is generally considered a form of negligence. The concept applies to professionals who are required to execute their work in a manner that is on par with the legal concept of the standard of care in the industry. Malpractice in social work is usually the result of a staff member’s active violation of a client’s rights or their failure to perform certain duties.

Some claims related to malpractice result from genuine and inadvertent mistakes on the part of staff members in social services. Others arise from a purposeful decision, such as misconduct with clients or embezzling money. Every social worker should want to act ethically and prevent harm from those they take care of. However, in some complex situations it may be hard for social workers to prevent all harm.

Social workers in group homes who encounter difficult ethical choices can reduce harm by adhering to their agency’s ethical standards, obtaining consultation and supervision, obtaining legal advice, and documenting each step. By combining these steps with understanding the risks they face on a daily basis, staff workers can help to naturally reduce risks.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.