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NASW-PA Legislative Advocacy
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Comprehensive Practice Protection

What is comprehensive practice protection?
  • Protects the practice of social work in Pennsylvania so that only a licensed social worker can provide social work services.
  • Provides a license for social workers with bachelor's degrees to perform generalist social work services.
  • Clearly explains appropriate roles for licensed bachelor's social workers, licensed master's social workers, and licensed clinical social workers.
  • Works toward expectation of licensure already in place for most other professions, such as nurses, occupational therapists, doctors, speech therapists.
More information on a Comprehensive Practice Act:

Act 17 of 2012: Supervision Exemptions for ACSWs

What is the purpose of Act 17?

Act 17 exempts social workers who obtained their ACSW credential prior to Jan. 1, 2001, from providing documentation of supervision in order to take the LCSW exam. This will impact seasoned social workers who entered clinical practice prior to the creation of LCSW licensure.

Great news! Thanks to the advocacy of hundreds of seasoned social workers, House Bill 816 was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett, becoming Act 17 of 2012. Eligible social workers with an ACSW credential can now access the paperwork to apply for the license and sit for the clinical exam here.

NASW-PA would like to thank the bill's sponsor, Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) for his strong support. NASW-PA is also grateful for the support received by Rep. Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh and Northampton), Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), their staffs, and the executive leadership of the House Professional Licensure Committee and Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

Click here for steps on how to receive your LCSW persuant to Act 17.

School Social Worker Certification

What is school social work certification?

Legislation seeks to create the category of a "school social worker" in the Pennsylvania School Code. This legislation would update the School Code to include a certification that permits a professional to provide social work services in school districts. In doing so, this bill would clearly define "school social work services." Social work is the only developmental service in the School Code that does not correspond with an education specialist certification category.

28 states have school social work certification.

More Information on School Social Work Certification:

Title Protection: Implementing Act 68 of 2008

In 2008, NASW-PA advocated on behalf of the social work profession and was successful in establishing title protection for Pennsylvania's social workers. House Bill 1693 was signed into law on July 10, 2008, becoming Act 68 of 2008. Under this Pennsylvania state law, it is illegal for an individual to hold oneself out as a social worker, use the title "social worker," or use the abbreviation "SW" unless they hold a current license (LSW or LCSW) or have received a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from a CSWE accredited school or program of social work.

Click here to read Act 68 of 2008.

The State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors is finalizing regulations related to title protection violations. With the first draft of the regulation, an offending agency or individual violating title protection would be charged $100 per month from 1 to 12 months, with $1,000 being the maximum annual charge. However, due to the complicated nature of prosecuting such an offense, it became the perspective of NASW-PA that the $100 per month penalty should be raised to $1,000 per month, with a maximum annual charge of $10,000. This is a great victory for the social work profession and NASW-PA commends the State Board for their work on drafting these regulations.

Contact NASW-PA if you are aware of violations taking place.

It is no secret that there are entities within the Commonwealth that do not comply with this law and blatantly violate it. The higher monetary penalty will serve to dissuade individuals and agencies that would disregard the title protection law. Protecting the integrity of the profession is a critical mission of NASW-PA and all social workers. Therefore, if you encounter an individual that is breaking the law under title protection, it is essential that you contact NASW-PA so we can collectively protect the value of our education, skills, and profession. Please call Tara Breitsprecher at 717-232-4125 if you encounter any violations. Tara can also be reached at

More information on title protection:

2013-2014 Policy Statements

Each legislative session, NASW-PA offers comments on a variety of legislation. Bearing in mind that over 6,000 pieces of legislation are introduced each session, NASW-PA is unable to comment on each bill that may interest social workers. Are you concerned with a piece of legislation that you do not see a statement on? Contact for assistance. Finalized policy statements are as follows:


House Bills (click on bill to read policy statement)

Bill Summary Position
House Bill 1901  Creates a new offense, Intimate Partner Harassment, protecting victims from “revenge porn” Support 
House Bill 1811 Prohibits mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age Support
House Bill 19 Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to provide for child exploitation awareness education Support
House Bill 31 Provides for the neglect and/or abuse of a care-dependent person Support
House Bill 77 Establishes unannounced inspections of certain facilities and persons that provide child day care Support
House Bill 162 Allows an adoptee to be granted original birth certificate if requested Support
House Bill 300 Makes "sexual orientation" and "gender identity expression" protected classes
House Bill 316 Increases the funding that goes to Child Advocacy Centers (CACs)
House Bill 539 Provides for the disposition of a dependent child in juvenile cases
House Bill 651 Prohibits long-term care facility employees from becoming power of attorney for consumers
House Bill 656 Establishes the Fostering Independence Through Education Act
House Bill 728 Seeks to provide counseling services for adoption related cases
House Bill 734 Allows DPW to investigate performance of county agencies in child abuse complaints
House Bill 736 Allows families to appeal adoption subsidy amount Support
House Bill 739 Specifies who can be defined as "intermediaries" in adoption cases Support
House Bill 1114 Bill of Rights for individuals with intellectual disabilities
House Bill 1260 Creates additional funding stream for domestic and rape crisis centers


Senate Bills (click on bill to read policy statement)

Bill Summary Position
Senate Bill 807 Creates bachelor-level licensure for social workers Support
Senate Bill 719 Mandates the recognition of any marriage performed legally outside of PA Support
Senate Bill 191 Limits number of hand gun purchases allowed in PA Support
Senate Bill 158 Provides for information to new mothers regarding prenatal and postpartum depression
Senate Bill 128

Establishes the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reinvestment Act

Senate Bill 125 Establishes and/or enhances extended school day child-care programs
Senate Bill 121 Allows silent alert buttons to be installed in educational settings
Senate Bill 118 Establishes the Child Welfare Workers Loan Forgiveness Program for Commonwealth residents Support
Senate Bill 77 Places tighter restraints on existing laws regarding involuntary commitment and assisted outpatient treatment Against
Senate Bill 42 Amends Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for the offense of ethnic intimidation Support

Click here to read how NASW-PA develops a policy statement.

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