Woodford County

State seeks to fire social worker accused of using child as 'bargaining tool' in drug deal

A state social worker is facing conspiracy, bribery and official misconduct charges in Lexington after allegedly using a child as a bargaining chip in a drug deal.

Chad Albert Buckley, 39, entered an initial not guilty plea in Fayette District Court Wednesday. He is scheduled to be back in court Aug. 21.

Lexington police arrested Buckley Tuesday night.

Buckley, who lives in Midway, is charged with conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, official misconduct and bribery.

He is a social worker with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

"The department will seek termination of this employee," Cabinet spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said Wednesday night.

According to a citation filed in district court, Buckley entered into a deal with a parent of a child whose case he was handling as a social worker. The parent is referred to in court filings as "the witness."

According to the charges, Buckley allegedly agreed to arrange an in-home visit for the child with the parent, in exchange for Buckley being able to buy four OxyContin tablets at a reduced price.

Court documents state that the original agreed-upon price was $25 per pill, or a total of $100. However, Buckley ultimately paid the parent a total of only $30 plus a $25 gas card, according to the citation.

The citation says that Buckley received a "pecuniary benefit" as a result, having used the child as a "bargaining tool."

Buckley was released from the Fayette County Detention Center Wednesday afternoon after posting 10 percent of a $30,200 bond.

During Wednesday's hearing, the district court directed that Buckley submit to random drug testing and have no contact with the family involved.

Midkiff said Buckley was hired by the Cabinet on Aug. 1. 2010. His most recent position was social services clinician I in the Fayette County Department for Community Based Services office. Staff in this position routinely work directly with families, she said.

Child safety is of paramount importance to the Department of Community Based Services and allegations that might jeopardize child well-being are taken very seriously, Midkiff said.

"The vast majority of DCBS workers are truly everyday heroes. Maintaining their integrity and that of the department is vital. DCBS will take aggressive personnel action against any worker who violates this trust," she said.