Board: Social worker poses ‘immediate danger’ to the public

Iowa Legislature
Posted at 1:49 PM, Apr 10, 2022

The Iowa Board of Social Work has issued an emergency order suspending the license of a central Iowa social worker — although it’s not clear based on public records why the board feels that action is warranted.

The board has charged licensed social worker Joni Huntley of Des Moines with engaging in unethical conduct and engaging in a dual relationship with a former client.

The board’s statement of charges against Huntley lists a series of factual allegations as justification for the action. However, those factual allegations are being kept confidential pursuant to a 2021 ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court.

That ruling says the factual circumstances that give rise to licensing-board charges must be kept concealed from the public until the case is completely resolved – a process that sometimes takes years.

In Huntley’s case, the specific charges against her are tied to regulations that prohibit Iowa social workers from engaging in dual relationships with former clients when there is a “risk of exploitation or potential harm” to the client.

The rule in question specifically states that it does not apply to sexual relationships, as those are dealt with in a separate part of the Iowa Administrative Code.

According to the board, an investigator recently contacted Huntley and discovered she was currently working as a social worker. Huntley’s undisclosed conduct “is egregious and demonstrates she is a risk to potential clients,” the board says, adding that her “continued ability to practice poses an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare. The only way to ensure that she does not practice as a social worker is to suspend her license.”

Huntley’s license is suspended indefinitely. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for May 9. At Huntley’s discretion, the hearing may be open to the public or closed to the public

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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