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Social Worker Tried to Save Powell Children

According to this CNN article a social worker tried to get into the Puyallup, Wash., home of murder suspect Josh Powell minutes before he allegedly set off an explosion, killing himself and his two sons.

Powell was a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Susan Cox-Powell in 2009. A judge recently gave him visitation rights to his sons Braden, 5, and Charlie, 7, who were in the custody of Susan Cox-Powell’s parents.

A social worker took the children on a supervised visit on Sunday. When the children entered Powell pushed her away and locked the door.

The social worker pounded the door, trying to enter the home. She called her supervisor and reported smelling gas. Within minutes the home exploded.

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this important story.

    I feel strongly that we need to have some public way of showing support for this woman as she, too, is a survivor of this horrific tragedy. It could have been any one of us who have worked in the field of child protection, family preservation, or trauma treatment.

    Social work is not widely regarded as a high-risk profession, but we know better. In doing her job, this social worker not only witnessed a catastrophic act of violence, but has become the symbol of a child protective system that is being viewed by some as culpable for their deaths.

    In no way do I want to invade this woman’s privacy, but I would like very much for her to feel the support of her colleagues whether she is a member of NASW or not. To that end, I am collecting letters of support and comfort in this very difficult time and plan to forward them to a media contact can deliver them discretely. If anyone would like to participate in this effort, I welcome you to reply to this post.

  2. Ms. Anderson:

    SocialWorkersSpeak.org contacted the NASW Washington state chapter today to learn more about the incident.

    According to them, some news articles are identifying the woman as a social worker and some are saying she is a caseworker.

    News reports today also indicated this woman has been extremely traumatized by this event. That is understandable as your comment indicates.

    If we learn more information we will post here.

    Thanks for leaving your comment and supporting SocialWorkersSpeak.org.

    Greg Wright
    Senior Public Relations Associate
    National Association of Social Workers

  3. Kudos to the police chief interviewed by media outles.He, in no uncertain terms, defended this social worker and her role. Thank you to this website for the support and bringing to light the risk faced in executing our work with high risk and volatile families.

  4. As we now know, this woman did everything she could to protect the Powell children. While it is unclear what her actual job title or credentials may be, she is a member of the helping professional community and deserves our support.

    I am humbled by her bravery.

  5. As a practicing intern for social work , I am learning about the possible dangers out in the field. This does not deter me from the vocation of becoming a licensed social worker. Hats off to you madam; your bravery has inspire me to continue with my education to help those in need as you were doing. I am awed at the bravery of your actions. To all the helpers involved, God bless you.

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