Mission

To provide support and services to the social work regulatory community to advance safe, competent, and ethical practices to strengthen public protection.

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As part of the critical infrastructure workforce, social workers have been deemed essential during the public health crisis we are now experiencing. Social workers are responding to increased client needs in a time of uncertainty and disruption that has produced problems like food insecurity, inability to pay bills, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.
Social work regulators and policy makers are responding, too, so that the need for social work services is met even as regulatory boards maintain a focus on public protection.

Regulatory challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic

The public health emergency has produced many problems that affect the social work regulatory community, including:
  • The increased need to provide continuation of care via electronic means because of social distancing protocols, students leaving universities and their support networks, and clients and practitioners being separated by state lines
  • Disruption of classes, supervision, and field work experience, necessitating electronic solutions and reduction of field hour requirements
  • Cancellation of in-person continuing education offerings, demanding extension of renewal deadlines and greater access to and acceptance of distance learning
  • Delays in licensure because of the suspension of testing, calling for temporary flexibility in licensure requirements

Regulatory solutions from member jurisdictions

Most jurisdictions have issued policy actions to address challenges that affect social work regulation. “Social work regulators are working hard to respond to executive orders and to develop solutions while still keeping public protection as the primary mandate,” says Jennifer Henkel, ASWB senior director of member services and strategic initiatives. “We’re impressed by the changes we see happening and the flexibility exhibited by member boards to respond to the needs.”
  • Ohio has addressed the need for electronic practice, especially to allow students returning home from out-of-state colleges and universities to receive continued behavioral health care, by issuing emergency provisions allowing more flexibility in providing services. Guidance from the board, however, reminds practitioners: “… The code of ethics and scopes of practice remain unchanged. Licensees must continue to practice in ways that ensure client care is not compromised.”
  • New York is helping social work students meet graduation requirements for field hours. Because the required number of field hours is specified in law, the New York board was unable to recognize temporary guidelines issued by the Council on Social Work Education allowing accredited programs to accept 85 percent of current field placement hours for graduates. That barrier has been lifted through amendments to the law after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order declaring a state of emergency allowed modification of the supervised field experience requirement.
  • Virginia is easing license renewal requirements by granting a one-year extension to all licensees and removing restrictions on the number of CE credits that may be earned online.
  • Arizona has taken several actions in response to the emergency. The state has  extended the time frame for license renewals by six months for licenses expiring between March 1 and June 1 to give social workers more time to complete CE requirements. And the state suspended limits on online or alternative ways of earning CE credit.

ASWB wants to hear from jurisdictions

ASWB supports regulators in their creative efforts to safeguard the public through emergency regulation. Staff members have compiled and are regularly updating a list of emergency provisions that affect social work regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The association is interested in hearing from members about your efforts. Please keep Cara Sanner, regulatory support services coordinator (csanner@aswb.org), apprised of any emergency regulations enacted in your jurisdiction. Sanner will make sure your entry in the emergency provisions web page is current. In addition, your input will help the association’s Regulation and Standards Committee when it takes up the challenge of adding best-practice emergency provisions to the ASWB Model Social Work Practice Act.
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ASWB Chief Executive Officer[/caption] Whew! The weeks had been flying by since I announced my retirement (aka “preferment”) in November 2019 and the ASWB Board of Directors announced their choice of Dwight Hymans as the next CEO in late January 2020. Dwight and I had been having regular transition meetings as outlined in ASWB’s Policy 7.4, CEO Succession Plan, so that we could execute a smooth, seamless, and coordinated transfer of power and responsibilities of the executive leadership of ASWB. Then, unexpectedly in mid-March, the dang Coronavirus Pandemonium arrived and upended our careful planning. It threw me into a tizzy … unusual for me. This, indeed, was not the retirement sendoff that I had envisioned or the “preferment” that I preferred! When we canceled the 2020 education meeting, scheduled to be held in Chicago this month, I felt disappointed that I would not be able to say a proper goodbye to our ASWB members. I was also verklempt that my Chicago family—all 20+ of them—would not be able to celebrate with me and the attendees. My brother, Joe Monahan, who is an attorney with an MSW degree, told me that he had his speech all prepared with nowhere to give it!
Message from the CEO
Instead of focusing on what the virus is stealing from me, I have decided to take control of what I can and learn whatever lessons I am being taught by this farewell experience. I want to share these with you. Lesson #1: As I learned many years ago from my training in Gestalt therapy, “Unfinished business hangs around until it gets finished.” It would be quite unsettling for all of us if we did not have the opportunity to say a proper farewell. I am most grateful to Dwight the he will host an all staff Zoom meeting on April 29, where I will be able to see (virtually) all ASWB staff and say my goodbyes to all. Interestingly, today I heard Charlie Baker, the Massachusetts governor, whose best friend’s mother died of COVID-19, poignantly encourage us to "leave nothing unsaid." I know that the ASWB Board and Dwight are also working on some plans for me to say a proper farewell to our members and other stakeholders. Lesson #2:  As an extrovert, I crave interaction with people and rely on relationships to inform and enhance my experience of the world. Interacting with my ASWB family is what, I imagine, I will miss most. Serving and belonging to this organization has been a highlight of my professional life. I have felt valued and loved, and these past eight years have created a significant ending narrative to my professional life. The past weeks of forced isolation working from home have actually served as a bridge for easing into my next life phase. They helped me move from very satisfying—but constant—interaction to a more low-key, quiet interaction. Surprisingly, I have enjoyed the more reflective, almost contemplative, time with myself. Lesson #3: Finally, the other activities that I will miss greatly are exercising my brain in problem-solving and strategic and generative thinking and using my leadership skills to serve others and bring people together. I look forward to seeing ASWB emerge from this emergency time, knowing that getting back on track in what will be a "new normal" will come in waves. I will be cheering on ASWB staff as they move into their new home and make it their own, and my wish is that ASWB members and volunteers will visit the Culpeper headquarters as soon as it is safe. I have complete confidence that Dwight, our new CEO, understands what staff, the Board of Directors, the members, and stakeholders need to fulfill the current strategic framework and set the stage for the next productive years of service to the social work regulatory community. I believe that ASWB has forged lasting, collaborative relationships with our dedicated members and other respected stakeholders in addition to our excellent staff. These relationships form the solid foundation for a successful future. Finally, I leave you with a John O’Donohue blessing that is my farewell gift to you for now. All my best to each of you.  " ["post_title"]=> string(45) "Approaching preferment, more lessons to share" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(26) "an-unprecedented-departure" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 10:23:20" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 14:23:20" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(63) "https://www.aswb.org/?post_type=aswb_announcements&p=89126" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(18) "aswb_announcements" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#2251 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(89131) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 09:26:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 13:26:55" ["post_content"]=> string(2348) "[caption id="attachment_85991" align="alignright" width="150"] ASWB incoming CEO Dwight J. Hymans, MSW, LCSW, ACSW[/caption] Mary Jo touched on the change in direction that the COVID-19 pandemic made to our transition plans. It has been a very unusual time, one that has disrupted the plans already in place to thank Mary Jo for her eight years of service, creativity, and energy and to wish her the best as she moves into her “preferment.” The pandemic interrupted all the warm goodbyes and fond farewells. And that is regrettable. It’s regrettable that we will not be able to do an in-person send-off at this time. Plans are being made to make sure everyone can offer her a resounding farewell once we are no longer social distancing. One of the biggest regrets I have is that Mary Jo will not have the opportunity officially be with us as CEO in the new building. That’s unfortunate given how involved she has been in creating the building. I promised her that she could sit in the CEO's office anytime she wanted to.
Message from the incoming CEO
As Mary Jo’s departure from ASWB gets closer, I want to personally thank her. She has made so many significant contributions to ASWB during her eight years. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Based on how much Mary Jo has given to ASWB, I would say she has made a good life out of her work here. I am thankful that she has allowed me to be a partner with her during those eight years and given me the gift of leading this organization with her. Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I will not forget the good feeling of being a co-leader with Mary Jo. We wish Mary Jo the very best as she moves into her preferment. It is said that you don’t stop laughing when you age, you age when you stop laughing. If that is true, Mary Jo has a long preferment life ahead of her. Our very best to you, Mary Jo." ["post_title"]=> string(30) "We make a life by what we give" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(30) "we-make-a-life-by-what-we-give" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 10:23:44" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 14:23:44" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(63) "https://www.aswb.org/?post_type=aswb_announcements&p=89131" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(18) "aswb_announcements" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post_count"]=> int(3) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#1919 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(89113) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "4024" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 10:10:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-04-28 14:10:56" ["post_content"]=> string(4957) "

As part of the critical infrastructure workforce, social workers have been deemed essential during the public health crisis we are now experiencing. Social workers are responding to increased client needs in a time of uncertainty and disruption that has produced problems like food insecurity, inability to pay bills, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.
Social work regulators and policy makers are responding, too, so that the need for social work services is met even as regulatory boards maintain a focus on public protection.

Regulatory challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic

The public health emergency has produced many problems that affect the social work regulatory community, including:
  • The increased need to provide continuation of care via electronic means because of social distancing protocols, students leaving universities and their support networks, and clients and practitioners being separated by state lines
  • Disruption of classes, supervision, and field work experience, necessitating electronic solutions and reduction of field hour requirements
  • Cancellation of in-person continuing education offerings, demanding extension of renewal deadlines and greater access to and acceptance of distance learning
  • Delays in licensure because of the suspension of testing, calling for temporary flexibility in licensure requirements

Regulatory solutions from member jurisdictions

Most jurisdictions have issued policy actions to address challenges that affect social work regulation. “Social work regulators are working hard to respond to executive orders and to develop solutions while still keeping public protection as the primary mandate,” says Jennifer Henkel, ASWB senior director of member services and strategic initiatives. “We’re impressed by the changes we see happening and the flexibility exhibited by member boards to respond to the needs.”
  • Ohio has addressed the need for electronic practice, especially to allow students returning home from out-of-state colleges and universities to receive continued behavioral health care, by issuing emergency provisions allowing more flexibility in providing services. Guidance from the board, however, reminds practitioners: “… The code of ethics and scopes of practice remain unchanged. Licensees must continue to practice in ways that ensure client care is not compromised.”
  • New York is helping social work students meet graduation requirements for field hours. Because the required number of field hours is specified in law, the New York board was unable to recognize temporary guidelines issued by the Council on Social Work Education allowing accredited programs to accept 85 percent of current field placement hours for graduates. That barrier has been lifted through amendments to the law after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order declaring a state of emergency allowed modification of the supervised field experience requirement.
  • Virginia is easing license renewal requirements by granting a one-year extension to all licensees and removing restrictions on the number of CE credits that may be earned online.
  • Arizona has taken several actions in response to the emergency. The state has  extended the time frame for license renewals by six months for licenses expiring between March 1 and June 1 to give social workers more time to complete CE requirements. And the state suspended limits on online or alternative ways of earning CE credit.

ASWB wants to hear from jurisdictions

ASWB supports regulators in their creative efforts to safeguard the public through emergency regulation. Staff members have compiled and are regularly updating a list of emergency provisions that affect social work regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The association is interested in hearing from members about your efforts. Please keep Cara Sanner, regulatory support services coordinator (csanner@aswb.org), apprised of any emergency regulations enacted in your jurisdiction. Sanner will make sure your entry in the emergency provisions web page is current. In addition, your input will help the association’s Regulation and Standards Committee when it takes up the challenge of adding best-practice emergency provisions to the ASWB Model Social Work Practice Act.
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