A family case-worker attacked during a welfare check in Evansville

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EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – A worker with the Department of Children Services was attacked during a home visit.

Now Evansville police are looking for the man who they say initiated the attack.

It all started over a failed drug test.

When the DCS worker provided information about the results and the future of the man’s child that’s when he became upset.

Evansville Police Sargeant Jason Cullum says the DCS worker went to the home on West Maryland Stree where he was investigating a complaint about the well-being of a 2-year-old.

“Part of that process included doing a drug screen for one of the adults that were in the home.”

The man in the home agreed to a drug test.

The police report says that test came back positive for meth and marijuana.

Police say the man then got upset and became physical.

“There were several different altercations in the home,” says Cullum.

Including the man putting the DCS worker in a headlock.

“the worker was able to free himself and then put the assailant into a headlock and then get some separation.”

Cullum says they respond to calls like this often.

“we’ve seen people getting very emotional before but fortunately for violent attacks, that’s very rare.”

The suspect left before police arrived but police say the DCS worker was shaken up.

I reached out to the Department of Child Services who say the safety of their employees is a priority.

Communication director Noelle Russell says that family case managers are aware of the possibilities that may lead to unpredictable situations.

“When these workers go into the home they are there basically as a social service. Even if they are conducting an investigation they are still there as a social service. So they don’t have police power. They don’t have the equipment that we would use to overcome an attack like that.”

Which is why according to Russell case managers are provided with 12-week training to help recognize dangerous situations.
This includes execution strategies, recognizing escalating behavior,
and reducing tense situations.

“When you’re going into somebody’s house you are literally on their territory so they have every advantage if they do choose to act violently.”

Cullum says family caseworkers typically call for back up before going to do a home investigation.

But no call was made for police to assist during this visit.

At this time, the child has not been taken into DCS custody and is still at the house.

Also, the suspect has not yet been located.

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