Your rights as a client

Social work clients have every right to expect and demand that a social worker is trained, competent, ethical, and responsible.

When a social worker breaks the rules

Social work boards investigate client concerns and may take disciplinary action or recommend rehabilitation measures for the social worker.

Board actions are recorded and tracked in ASWB’s Public Protection Database and the National Practitioner Data Bank for board reference when making licensing decisions. These resources are valuable tools for boards checking the history of a social worker relocating to or adding a license in their jurisdiction.

Look up a license

Find links to social work regulatory board websites that provide online confirmation of licensure status.

How to file a complaint

If you are receiving social work services—whether you are paying for them or not—you can file a complaint if you believe a licensed social worker has violated the code of conduct or acted incompetently or unethically. If you are a licensed social worker and know of another licensed social worker who has committed a violation, you may have a duty to report that violation to your social work board, even if the code of ethics says you should first discuss the violation with your colleague.