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Citizen Advocates Hosts Educational Forum on “Duty to Warn” | News, Sports, Jobs

Safety net providers, law enforcement, educators and health professionals from across the region participated in a forum focused on the importance of “Duty of warning.” The educational session was organized by Citizen Advocates’ Professional Development Department.

The duty to warn is a responsibility of behavioral health professionals and others to disclose specific information in extraordinary circumstances, primarily when they feel someone poses a serious threat to their or their health or safety. others.

In the wake of recent events involving violence in our communities, citizen advocates have recognized the need to provide education on the importance of the duty to warn. With strong support from Suzanne Lavigne, Director of Community Services for Franklin County, Citizen Advocates hosted an educational forum on this very important topic. Based on our shared commitment to community advocacy, the forum has been made available free of charge to community providers. It is during these times that our strength as a community is demonstrated.

The presentation was given by Margaret Surowka, Special Counsel and Co-Chair of the Healthcare Services Team at Barclay Damon LLP, who has over three decades of legal experience, with a focus on healthcare, labor and employment. In addition to her professional experience, she has been a guest speaker for various advocacy groups and professional groups focusing on topics related to health care and employment.

“Following violent or disturbing events, one often realizes that there were red flags or clues along the way that hinted at what was about to happen,” said Krista Bartlett, director of human resources for Citizen Advocates. “When these signs are missed, it’s not because those who saw them didn’t want to help – in many cases we don’t know how to assess the information and what to do when it reaches the level of serious concern. “

The virtual session brought together over 70 professionals representing a variety of backgrounds. After a brief overview, the presentation focused on the obligations associated with the obligation to warn when threats to health and safety are detected, and the specific cases in which such an obligation applies. Many participants presented real-life examples and experiences, with discussion to provide a clear understanding of vendor responsibilities.

“In these situations, it is natural to look for signs that we may have missed that led to tragic events and wonder if they could have been avoided,” said Amanda Tagliarino, Director of Professional Development for Citizen Advocates. “That’s why it’s so important that we educate ourselves on what to look for and what to do when we’re concerned. By doing so, we can begin to master things that seem out of our control.

For those unable to attend the event, a recording is available. To access the recording or to discuss additional learning and training opportunities, please contact Amanda Tagliarino by email or by calling 518-578-0557.

To learn more about Citizen Advocates, visit

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