Archive for Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bill aimed at social worker safety to be signed into law

April 6, 2010, 2:15 p.m. Updated April 7, 2010, 11:11 a.m.


— Legislation prompted by the 2004 slaying of a social worker in Overland Park will be signed into law this week, officials said.

The bill, which was given final approval by the Kansas Legislature on March 30, is aimed at increasing the safety of social workers.

It requires that starting in 2011, an applicant for a social worker license must complete six hours of social worker safety training awareness.

The Kansas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers will join Gov. Mark Parkinson on Thursday for a signing ceremony.

The measure was drawn up in response to the murder of Teri Zenner, 26, in Aug. 17, 2004.

She was visiting a client, Andrew Ellmaker, at his home to make sure he was taking his medication.

He stabbed her in the neck and then cut her with a chain saw. Ellmaker, 17-years-old at the time, was later sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years. Prior to the murder, Ellmaker had been diagnosed with schizotypal, a personality disorder, and had been committed four times to a mental institution.

Zenner was a Kansas University graduate student who worked for the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

Matt Zenner, who had been married to Teri for about three months when she was killed, has been a proponent of the legislation.


trinity 8 years, 1 month ago

ok so is this 6 six more hours in ADDITION to the hours already required, or as PART of the required hours? i just hope this additional training is appropriate, that is, carries a balance between scaring the bejeebus out of young and/or inexperienced social work people and making them totally aware and alert to their surroundings and most importantly to their clientele!

BigDog 8 years, 1 month ago


These 6 hours would be part of the required hours much like ethics requirement now. It only requires these 6 hours for first renewal.

maudeandcecil 8 years, 1 month ago

StilI I'm not sure I understand. New workers would need to pay for an additional 6 hours of CEUs or are you saying the number of CEUs for a new worker will remain the same, just more safety focused CEUs? Certainly, I'm glad a bill related to safety past, but if it's an additional 6 hrs of CEUs that's expensive and new workers already make nothing. As a reminder, curently, many nonprofits and state agencies are not able to pay for CEUs and there are only so many free ones out there. Frankly, new workers should be recieving quality safety training as part of their course work. You know, like part of the approximately $12,000+ education they pay for. Really they should be up. to. date. when they walk out the door.

Just curious, does anyone know if safety is mandated as part of practice class for accredited schools? If not, perhaps that's a next step?

BigDog 8 years, 1 month ago

The CEUs for first renewal would be more safety focused ..... not additional hours of CEUs

ellenest 8 years, 1 month ago

So, is this another instance of blaming the victim? Do home health nurses and hospice workers have mandatory safety CEU's? How about utility workers, telephone repair staff, etc? Any employer should, as part of orientation, prepare staff for the types of problems they may encounter in the workplace. Not all social workers go into people's homes.

IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

Once labeled "mentally ill" an individual's life is over. This is the only group of citizens who aren't even allowed basic civil liberties such as the right to defend their selves.

Andrew Ellmaker also lost his life.

IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

Interested members of society should inquire deeper into psychiatric medications for one thing. What we pour down the throats of our people is largely banned in the rest of the world. Mellaril is one such drug, which took some fifty years to ban. By then its dangers were well-documented, though. Furthermore, was it ever found out if Andrew Ellmaker was taking his medicine? Or was he not taking it?

BigDog 8 years, 1 month ago

IndusRiver (anonymous) says… Once labeled "mentally ill" an individual's life is over. This is the only group of citizens who aren't even allowed basic civil liberties such as the right to defend their selves.

Indus, I am not understanding your statement on people with mental illness losing the right to defend themselves. Please explain

And what basic civil liberties do people with mental illness lose?

IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

For instance, BigDog, citizens labeled mentally ill don't have any rights under the Second Amendment - the right to self-defense. These are also people who can be picked up by the police and thrown in jail when they've committed no crime, and held indefinitely. They are people who are often forced to take mind-altering drugs if they do not take them willingly, and drugs that cause permanent disability. They are the folks that society at large thinks should be the cheap labor. They are the ones whose money can be taken away and given to a payee, and as is so often the case, never see their money again. They are the main body of the homeless population coast to coast, and that's not their fault.

People with mental illness don't lose basic civil liberties. They never had them to lose.

KCCRM 8 years, 1 month ago

IndusRiver-- Andrew is now serving time in prison for a crime that HE committed. He "lost his life" because he killed someone.

Mentally ill do not have any civil liberties?? I'm sorry but I don't know where you get that. They cannot be "just picked up" without committing some type of crime and held indefinitely. There needs to be a crime committed in order for them to be arrested and held. There are some who are taken and held because they are a threat to themselves and/or others... They have laws about forcing medication on someone in the criminal justice system. Once an individual wants to stop talking a drug (in prison or jail) It is on the STATE to prove that it is in the best interest of those around the individual and the individual themselves to be on medication; they also have to prove that the medication is the LEAST invasive way to go. We do not just force medicate whoever we want in this country. The second amendment is about the right to bear arms, not about self defense. To the best of my knowledge people who have a mental illness are not restricted from buy a gun. You realize that there are MANY MANY people in the country and in the world that could classify as having a mental illness? So, most people wouldn't be able to buy a gun. There are MANY MANY people who misunderstand how the criminal justice system works with mental illness and there are MANY people who perpetuate the myths about not only the criminal justice system in regards to mental illness but also just mental illness itself, you are one of those people. Yes the mentally ill represent a lot of the homeless population but what do you want to be done, involuntarily medicate and lock them up? I'm sorry I do not like commenting on these things but this is my area of interest and my work. I see holes in your argument and think they needed to be pointed out.

IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

The mentally ill do not have any civil liberties, that's right. That's what I said. I "get that" from real world experience; from many long years of being in the system, which is almost entirely closed to the public, and any concerned citizen should wonder why that is. The "patient's right to privacy" is what those in your field point to as the reason for that closed door on public scrutiny. "Private" information gets blabbed all of the time, and it has for years. There are no laws that apply because no laws are obeyed, not even by the police. "Laws" are bent to achieve desired results: Somebody wants somebody else picked up. And oh! did you know that medication is deliberately with held from some clients just days before they "lose it" - they are such a threat to society or to themselves.

And what do mental health experts, etc. ALWAYS say when they are accused of pushing people to their breaking points? They say you should ignore what the mentally ill say because "they're crazy." That's why I wish it so bad to get video/audio equipment installed in mental health agency offices, psychiatric hospitals, and in jails instead of what's been the reliance on undercover reporting, which always blow your sort of self-serving "myths" out of the water, KCCRM.

There can be as many as twenty hospital aides (some who represent the "show of force") who restraint a patient to the floor where he or she is injected with medication (that they have already refused) while held down, and I've been there and I've seen it done to others and it just never struck me as a "patient's right."

Ive never known psychiatric drugs that weren't given in overdose amounts. The drugs are lethal. There are lawsuits and there are people who die while "in treatment." There is never anyone who "represents" anyone in this or any other system. And people are lied to and lied about all of the time.

100% I stand by every word I've written but I also know what you know KCCRM. I know that this racket you're in is going to last forever because it has protections that not even the security at Fort Knox can touch.

IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

They cannot be "just picked up" without committing some type of crime and held indefinitely.

An individual can be jailed on these words, "He isn't taking his medicine." A family member, case manager, police officer, anybody close - just say those words. He's already "mad" about something.

IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

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IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

You are always so afraid of reality and truth consumer1. That's too bad for you, but everything about you is already known so censor me (again). Doesn't mean a thing.

IndusRiver 8 years, 1 month ago

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