*SWH ADDED Does Anyone Here Happen to Be a County Social Worker?

Updated on March 15, 2017
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
7 answers

I am just curious about something. We have been working with a team of mental health and dd social workers at our county (including their supervisors) for nearly 2 months on a very high pressure situation (we actually work with them all the time, but normally nothing is really going on). Our son who requires 24hr awake care had to leave the facility he was currently staying at. While the process took several left turns, today they were able to secure a new facility willing to take him and he can be transferred in two weeks. Our son requires extremely specialized care and finding a place last time took 11 months - this time we were able to do it in just under 2 months.

Anyways, I would like to send a basket of muffins/cookies/treats (not homemade, but delivered) to the staff to enjoy for their hard work. We live in a small area so it isn't like there are 40 staff members, more like 8 plus support staff of 2 or 3, so I would plan for a dozen folks with my gift basket.

Can they accept this since it isn't money? I don't want to call and ask and spoil the surprise (plus, they would be like no, no, that isn't necessary). Not enough people in our world today show true appreciation for someone's hard work - I would like to do a little something for them within the allowed boundaries. I am hoping that since it is for ALL staff (not one person singled out) and it has no real monetary value, that it would be OK, but I just don't know . . .

Thanks if you are able to answer!!

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So What Happened?

Really great responses!!! I think that perhaps the best course of action is to wait until he is actually moved to the new placement so it doesn't get misconstrued as anything other than a thank you. I plan to include separate written thank yous to the biggest players involved that got the job done, as I, too, believe in the power of a heartfelt thank you note. We are also doing a similar gift basket for the place he is leaving (he actually isn't there, but they have to hold his room until he is moved to the new location - he is currently in a different short term location for the safety of those around him), but will wait until his contract there is closed and we've signed the paperwork changing his residence. That staff did an incredible job of keeping him and those around him safe much longer than anyone else ever could have.

I work in an industry where I help people daily (often 12 hrs a day and weekends with no extra pay) stopping foreclosures, garnishments, bank account levy, vehicle repossessions, etc. I am frequently yelled at by my own clients for not being able to do things faster or do more for them . . . I imagine County Workers get the same thing. It means a lot when a client does actually appreciate what I do for them, I always want to make sure that I appreciate those who do for me and my family.

More Answers


answers from Boston on

I'm not a county social worker, but a friend recently had incredible service from the town DPW. (Town employee vs. county, but still government, so maybe it's applicable.) She dropped her keys down a storm drain, and he came to try to fish them out. When his magnetic extension pole wasn't enough, he went back to the DPW and got a bigger truck, drained the thing, and fished out her keys!) She went to the local pizza/sandwich place and got some things for the whole office. She also got a gift card for him, which he was allowed to accept as a tip. But in her case, it was just one worker.

We also checked guidelines for the letter carrier - they are allowed to accept something $20 or less in value if it's not cash. Again, that's federal and not county, but still...

In your case, I think a platter/basket of edibles would be lovely and not of sufficient value to any one person that there's a problem. Social workers are notoriously underpaid and overloaded with cases, and you are doing this after the fact rather than appearing to bribe anyone ahead of time to get to the top of the list, so I can't imagine there would be a conflict.

I'm so happy you got results in 2 months instead of 11! One less thing to be burdened with.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm glad this worked out for you.

One of my daughters works for a town owned counseling center and they can accept token gifts. As long as you send it to the office staff thanking them for their assistance it'll be fine. If you send it to one person it might not be accepted.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I worked closely with social workers and I can tell you it's fine to send to an office for all of their social workers. Not many receive thank you gifts. If it was monetary it may be different. Even just a card to say thanks would be enough. Truly.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't know the answer to your question - I hope someone else does. But regardless I do know that a heartfelt letter of appreciation is always appreciated by anyone.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Sorry, I'm not a social worker.

There might be laws about this and I'm fairly sure it might vary from state to state.
You know and I know it's not your intent - but gifts to public workers/officials can appear to be bribes - which is why this just isn't that easy to do.

This might help (I'm not sure it will):


You'd like to do something personal for the people/office that helps you.
But maybe the best you can do is to send them a card informing them of a donation you've made to a charity they support as thanks for all their help to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Call an office from a neighboring county and ask if it is ok to send the goodies. I'm guessing, yes. How very sweet of you!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think they wouldn't turn the person away and not accept it. I think it would be a nice gesture.

1 mom found this helpful
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