N. Aurora police add social worker in new pilot program

Social worker to be provided on contract from AID

NORTH AURORA – The North Aurora Police Department announced a new pilot program to provide a social worker as a resource to the community to help address issues that are not always criminal in nature, according to a news release.

The pilot program is an expansion of a longstanding partnership between the department and the Association for Individual Development, in which AID has been providing victim services to our community for many years, the release stated.

This pilot program, which will be in place through May 2021, AID will provide a contract social worker, Mekayla Anderson, in police department from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. She will work roughly eight hours per week to follow up on recent call-outs and officer referrals, make home visits as needed and provide training to officers.

AID provides 24-hour outreach and wrap-around services to victims of crime or trauma, and provides assistance to individuals that have basic physical and mental health concerns.

AID Victim Services has over 14 years of experience working with fire and police departments, the release stated.

AID Victim Services provides an on-call social worker to police departments for situations that cannot be resolved by police intervention alone.

Examples include sexual assault cases, suicides/homicides/deaths, fires, cases resulting in severe physical or mental trauma, domestic violence victims and volatile parent/child conflicts.

Last year 71 clients were served through this on-call program and referrals, the release stated.

Anderson has a bachelor of social work degree along with minors in psychology and criminal justice from Aurora University.

She is currently working on her master of social work degree, also through Aurora University, the release stated.

Some of the areas that Anderson can help include accessing mental health services, crisis intervention, emotional support, funeral preparations, accessing local resources, legal advocacy, safety planning, and accessing victim’s compensation.

This new pilot program will complement the department’s existing Crisis Intervention Team, which is comprised of officers who have specialized training to assist community members with mental illness or who are in crisis.

Anderson will work with officers to provide community members additional services and resources, the release stated.

North Aurora residents who would like to make an appointment to see Anderson, should call the AID Crisis Line at 630-966-9393, send her an email at mianderson@aidcares.org, come to the police department at 200 N. Lincolnway St., or call the station at 630- 897-8705 on Tuesdays during the time she will be on duty.

Conversations and interactions with Anderson are confidential, unless someone expresses they are going to harm themselves or someone else.

Additionally, social workers are mandated reporters, so if any child/elder physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect are disclosed, Anderson would be required to report those things. Any other information brought to Anderson stays between her and the client.

To access Victim and Outreach Services, please call the AID Crisis Line of the Fox Valley at 630- 966-9393.