The Iowa Board of Social Work has moved to indefinitely suspend the independent social work license of Thomas Follett of Webster City following a hearing held last week in Des Moines.
Follett was originally granted his social work license Nov. 9, 1998. In February 2011, the Board filed the following charges against Follett: Failing to inform his clients of the proposed services to be provided and the purpose of those services; failing to maintain timely records that include a treatment plan and any revisions made to the treatment plan during treatment; violating client confidentiality and failure to obtain informed consent; engaging in a dual relationship with a former client within five years following the termination of the client relationship; failing to maintain sufficient, timely and accurate documentation in client records; improperly designating professional responsibilities to a person whom he knows or has reason to know is not qualified by training, education, experience or classification to perform requested duties; and violation of a regulation, rule or law which relates to the practice of social work.
Follett has a prior history of discipline dating back to 2008, according to Board documents. Incidents outlined in this decision alleged that Follett had held therapy sessions in areas which were not private, including the kitchenette of his office, at restaurants, area parks and trails. Investigators testified that on unannounced visits, they could clearly overhear sessions that were conducted in his office. The complaint further alleged that the social worker employed a friend and professional clown to conduct play therapy with some of his clients. Former clients were reportedly also hired to work cleaning his office and home or to do yard work. The charges also accuse Follett of posting drawings made by clients in a public areas. The drawings had the first and last names of the clients.
In its decision, the Board concluded that the previously imposed remedial actions, including probation, continuing education and a practice mentor, were ineffective and that Follett provided the Board with no assurance that he "will not continue to conduct his social work practice in violation of professional and ethical standards." In ordering the indefinite license suspension, the Board said any reinstatement of his license would be subject to provisions in the Iowa Code and require Follett to prove that the reasons for the suspension no longer exist.
Follett was also ordered to pay costs associated with the disciplinary hearing and court reporter in the amount of $143.75.