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NASW-PA Legislative Advocacy
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Advocate for Equal Pay! Click here to download a template letter to send to your legislators.

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.
43 states have practice protection. 36 states have BSW licensure.
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 Justin Fleming, Director of Government Relations, at 717-232-4125 if you encounter any violations. Justin 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)

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


Senate Bills (click on bill to read policy statement)

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

Establishes the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reinvestment Act

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

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

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