ASWB funds critical research on social work licensure and regulation
The Association of Social Work Boards announced today its selection and funding of research proposals on social work licensure and regulation. Research results will promote the profession’s understanding of — and response to — timely, critical questions around what it means to be a social work professional. ASWB’s Regulatory Research Committee selected three research groups — reflecting diverse national leadership and expertise — to receive a total of nearly $400,000. The funded projects will focus on understanding exam pass rates and their implications, regulatory rules as well as their effects on public safety and social workers’ earnings, and long-term impacts of licensure changes on the workforce.
“As part of our extensive portfolio of initiatives aimed at improving the future of social work regulation, we are excited about the contributions these projects will make to the important conversations around licensure and regulation that are taking place across the profession,” said ASWB CEO Stacey Hardy-Chandler, Ph.D., J.D., LCSW.
This growing body of research will inform important systems changes that will benefit not only the profession but also the people and communities whom social workers serve.
Request for proposals
In March, ASWB released a request for proposals for research focused on addressing a range of concepts from examination pass rates and the role of supervision in social work licensure to professional practice standards and regulatory enforcement. ASWB accepted submissions from interested researchers through the end of June.
In August, ASWB’s Regulatory Research Committee, composed of ASWB members, received and reviewed seventeen proposals using a rubric that covered methodology, program design, outcomes, and research experience. The committee members represent several jurisdictions and institutions:
- Kenya Anderson, Ph.D., MSW, LMSW, chair
Tennessee Board of Social Workers
- Brian Brumley, Ed.D., MSSW, LMSW-IPR
Texas Board of Social Worker Examiners
- Whitney Cassity-Caywood, Ph.D., MSSW, LCSW
Kentucky Board of Social Work
- Leanette Henegan, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW
Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners
- Esther Langston, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW
Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers
- Elizabeth Pope, MSW, LCSW, ASWB Board of Directors
North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board
The Regulatory Research Committee chose three proposals covering a range of topics:
Understanding the Impact Licensing Policies have on Scaling-up the Social Work Workforce and Mitigating Harm
The project addresses two main questions: (1) What are the long-term impacts of licensure changes on the size of the social work workforce? (2) What potential impact will these policies have on mitigating public harm?
Brigham Young University
- Cole Hooley, Ph.D., LCSW
- Katherine Marcal, Ph.D., MSW
- Gabby Cunningham, Ph.D., MBA
The project will look at the effects of social work regulatory rules on (1) indicators of public safety and (2) social workers’ earnings.
Rutgers University School of Social Work
- Joy J. Kim, Ph.D., MSW
- Michael M. Joo, Ph.D., MSW
The study aims to address three research questions: (1) What factors impact disparity in pass rates for social work licensure? (2) What is the impact of disparity in licensure pass rate on the social work profession? (3) What are solutions to reduce disparity in pass rates for social work licensure?
Western Kentucky University
- Erin Warfel, DSW, MSS, MLSP, LCSW
- Whitney Harper, Ph.D., MSW
- April Murphy, Ph.D., CSW
Upon completion of these studies, researchers will publish their findings to support understanding across the profession.
“We are confident that these research projects will be valuable to stakeholders throughout our profession and supplement what we will learn from the Social Work Census and the Social Work Workforce Coalition,” said Dr. Hardy-Chandler. “This growing body of research will inform important systems changes that will benefit not only the profession but also the people and communities whom social workers serve.”