Filing a Complaint
What are your rights? You have a right to expect a professional standard of care and conduct from a social worker. If you believe a social worker has violated Kentucky statutes or
regulations, you may use this form to submit a complaint to the Kentucky Board of Social Work. As the body responsible for regulating the social work profession and protecting the public in matters related to social work, the Board will review your complaint and take appropriate action.
How does the complaint process work? Complaints at the Board office will be acknowledged immediately. The complaint will then be reviewed by the Board members at their next meeting. If no law appears to have been broken, you will receive notification from the Board. If the Board believes a law may have been broken, an investigation will take place. If the Board files formal charges against a social worker as a result of the investigation, an administrative hearing may be held. This formal hearing involves lawyers, a court reporter, a hearing officer and witnesses. If the Board finds that the social worker has not met the prescribed standard of care and conduct, it has the authority to impose penalties ranging from suspension or loss of a certificate or license to a reprimand. A penalty may be reached by agreement between the Board and the social worker.
What might I expect from filing a complaint? The complaint process is a detailed and careful one, and you should expect some delay. In every case the social worker will be informed that a complaint has been filed, the name of the complainant, and the disposition of the complaint. Not every complaint results in disciplinary action by the Board if the social worker has not violated the laws governing social work. If charges are filed, a hearing may be held similar to a court trial, and it is open to the public. You may be subpoenaed as a witness to provide testimony regarding the case. In this event the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Board will assist you in preparing for the hearing. If the Board orders a specific sanction, the social worker has the right to appeal, and a final decision may be delayed in the courts. While you may have an opinion regarding the process and outcome of processing your complaint, please remember that the decisions to dismiss or settle a case or propose disciplinary measures are solely the decision of the Board and may be subject to review by the courts.
If the Board files formal charges or takes formal action against a social worker, most portions of the investigative file will become a "public record" which can be viewed by any individual who requests to do so. The record may include your written complaint, transcripts, or reports of interviews, letters, and other reports. All testimony and evidence admitted in a formal hearing have the status of public record as well. Patient records obtained in the process of investigation usually can be protected from disclosure as public records.
Throughout the various stages of the complaint process, you will be kept informed. You will also be advised of the final outcome.