|NASW-PA Legislative Advocacy|
Prohibits mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age
Act 179 of 2014 allows for social workers holding a BSW degree from an accredited social work program to choose to pursue LBSW license. NASW-PA had been advocating for bachelor level licensure many years prior to this act. In fact, the NASW-PA Legislative Advocacy Day of 2014 was focused on passing this legislation. A few months later SB 807 was approved by Governor Tom Corbett and became Act 179 of 2014. As stated in the bill's memo, written by the bill's Primary Sponsor Charles McIlhinney, "Social workers with master’s degrees already have a voluntary license in place, but we need to acknowledge that there are thousands of BSWs who have no mechanism for licensure in place. It is time that Pennsylvania join the 36 other states that credential social workers at the bachelor’s level." Click here to read Act 179 of 2014.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on title protection:
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.