Engaging with ASWB: Compacts

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Staff from the Council of State Governments gave ASWB members an up-close and detailed review of the draft compact legislation.

You are the subject matter experts for this crucial feedback to the Council of State Governments.
— Jennifer Henkel, Senior Director of Member Engagement and Regulatory Services

Takeaway #1: Read the licensing compact and submit feedback by September 16. Your insight is invaluable. If regulators are confused, legislators will be confused.

The August session of Engaging with ASWB featured representatives from the Council of State Governments National Center for Interstate Compacts, who provided an in-depth look at the compact language and fielded questions from ASWB members. A number of the 36 participants representing 22 jurisdictions sought clarification on different sections of the compact, including residency requirements, accreditation of education programs, fee collection, and procedures for investigation and adjudication of complaints. The CSG staff answered all questions and were quick to encourage ASWB members to submit feedback about anything that causes confusion.

Takeaway #2: The intent is to get all sticking points out of the way before releasing the model compact language because it’s harder to change after states enact it.

Refer to Takeaway #1.

CSG noted they have received more than a thousand comments to date, which is a higher volume than received during comment periods for compacts for other professions. ASWB Senior Director of Member Engagement and Regulatory Services Jennifer Henkel encourages member boards to meet with members of the board in collaboration with licensing agency staff and legal counsel to coordinate a unified response to be sure the feedback from regulators addresses the specific needs of their state’s statutes and laws. “You are the subject matter experts for this crucial feedback to the Council of State Governments,” Henkel says. “To submit feedback, complete the stakeholder review survey.”

Takeaway #3: Every state enacts the same version of the compact.

Refer to Takeaways #1 and #2.

CSG is hosting weekly sessions through the middle of September to review the compact language. Each meeting covers the same content so attending all sessions is not required, although registration is required to attend.

  • Highlights of the licensing compact as presented during the session

    • The compact language references “regulated social worker” to encompass all license categories and titles included in the compact (Bachelors, Masters, and Clinical)
    • The interstate compact license is issued by the social work regulatory board of the social worker’s home state (state of residence/domicile). To be eligible for an interstate compact license, a social worker must be licensed in the home state.
    • Temporary or limited license holders are not eligible for an interstate compact license because of the requirement that the license be active and unencumbered, with no discipline and fully authorized to practice within the authorized scope.
    • The interstate compact license grants the social worker multistate authorization to practice in remote states (states other than the home state that are part of the compact). Similar to a driver’s license compact, remote states can take action against a social worker’s ability to practice in their state but only the home state can take action against the social worker’s interstate compact license.
    • A social worker can hold only one interstate compact license. If a social worker wants to change home states, the social worker applies to transfer the interstate compact license to the new home state. The current home state will deactivate its version of the interstate compact license and the new state has the OPTION to grant its version of the interstate compact license. The new home state regulatory board may determine that the applicant needs to meet additional state licensing requirements to be eligible for licensure in its state before granting the interstate compact license.
    • Each state that adopts the compact becomes a member of the Compact Commission, which is the governing agency overseeing the compact. The commission includes one state representative from each member state. A state representative can be a licensed social worker serving on the regulatory board, a public member on the regulatory board, or a regulatory board or agency administrator or other regulatory board or agency staff member.
    • The compact becomes effective when seven states enact it into law.

    State eligibility requirements to participate in the compact:

    • States must regulate at least one category of practice: Bachelors, Masters, or Clinical.
      States must ensure the individual’s social work degree aligns with the license category and be from a social work program approved by the state.
    • Applicants for licensure must pass a national exam that corresponds to the category of license and is administered by an association of social work regulatory boards.
    • Applicants for Clinical licensure must complete supervised practice. (The compact does not specify the number of hours under state requirements; however, specific supervision hours are included in licensee eligibility requirements.) All states that require supervision to grant the Clinical license are eligible to participate in the compact.

    Compact states agree to:

    • Notify the Compact Commission of disciplinary action taken against an interstate compact licensee
    • Comply with the compact rules
    • Perform criminal history/background checks
      Participate in the compact’s licensing data system

    Licensee eligibility requirements to receive an interstate compact license:

    Licensees must have:

    • an active, unencumbered license in the home state
    • a degree from a social work program approved by the state that corresponds to the license sought
    • a passing score on the national exam corresponding to the category of license sought; those licensed before the exam became a requirement in the home state may be exempted from this requirement
    • Clinical licensees must have 3,000 hours or two years of full-time postgraduate supervised Clinical practice.

    Interstate compact license holders agree to:

    • Hold/maintain a unique identifier as used in the data system
    • Pay all fees for the interstate compact license
      Complete continuing education required by the home state
    • Notify the home state of any discipline/adverse action on any professional license within 30 days of the action by remote state(s)
    • Agree to abide by the laws, rules, and scope of practice where the client is located (i.e., scope doesn’t travel with the social worker)