Since mid-March, the Member Engagement and Regulatory Services department has assisted dozens of members and stakeholders with issues related to licensing exceptions in response to the public health emergency. But while COVID-19 may have temporarily reoriented their focus, the work of social work regulators has not stopped. In addition to the day-to-day work of administering regulations, members continue to advance regulatory and legislative initiatives. Over the past several months, ASWB staff have reviewed proposed initiatives and provided information to members on a variety of issues not related to COVID-19. Staff uses data compiled in the Laws and Regulations database and conducts additional research when needed to assist with member requests. The Model Social Work Practice Act informs ASWB’s review and comment on all proposed initiatives.
Examples of member support over the last several months include:
- The Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners recently adopted a rules package, published in the September 30 edition of the Alabama Administrative Monthly. ASWB contributed beginning a year ago with a visit to the board’s office for a working session to rewrite the regulations. ASWB staff then provided information on private practice and masters licensure along with examples of scopes of practice in states that permit masters licensees not seeking the clinical license to perform aspects of clinical social work.
- In New Mexico, a task force has been formed to reduce barriers to licensure for all regulated behavioral health professions. ASWB shared sample laws and regulations in states following best practices for licensure by endorsement and provided the board with ASWB’s comprehensive mobility resources.
- New York’s State Board for Social Work is exploring a lifetime limit for exam attempts because of a policy change in another profession. In New York, change in policy for any one of the 54 professions regulated by the Board of Regents affects all regulated professions. ASWB provided information on state social work exam policies to assist with the ongoing discussions.
- Pennsylvania’s State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors has released a draft of new rules and is inviting comments on proposed general revisions to social work regulations. The rulemaking updates the board’s regulations to conform with current practices. Topics addressed include license qualifications, supervised clinical practice experience requirements, and the use of electronic media to facilitate supervision, continuing education, and endorsement. ASWB has reviewed and commented on the proposed rule changes.
- ASWB reviewed proposed rules, published in April, for Texas’s newly formed Behavioral Health Executive Council. The council was created in 2019 and was authorized to regulate all behavioral health professions including social work. The regulations implemented the legislative mandate.
- ASWB responded to questions from the West Virginia legislature, cautioning against the use of the Bachelors exam for the evaluation of non-social work credentialed individuals. The legislature’s interest stems from a 2018 sunset review of the West Virginia Board of Social Work; a final report is pending.
- The Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board has introduced changes to regulations governing Certified Social Workers (bachelors practice). ASWB reviewed the proposed changes and submitted a letter of support. The rule changes will update CSW scope of practice definitions, require supervision of bachelors licensees, and restrict the practice of clinical social work to Licensed Clinical Social Workers.
ASWB is proud to work in partnership with members. Do not hesitate to reach out for assistance from ASWB. Whether a member needs a brainstorming discussion, policy information adopted by all member boards, or specific examples of regulations addressing an issue of concern, ASWB is here to help.