Social Work Licensure Compact

Friday, December 01, 2023 5:23 PM | Anonymous

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as part of an initiative to promote licensure portability for military spouses, began working with the CSWA, NASW, state Boards of Social Work, and the Council of State Governments for the development of the Social Work Interstate Compact that would enable Social Workers to practice in all jurisdictions that have entered into the compact, giving members of our profession more license mobility.

The Compact, which has been finalized, eliminates barriers to practice and increases access to care (especially in areas that are underserved, geographically isolated or lack specialty care) by increasing the efficiency of becoming licensed across state/jurisdictional lines. Currently, social workers must seek a separate license in each state/jurisdiction in which they wish to practice, which can be labor- and time-intensive.

The Compact benefits include:

  • Facilitating interstate/jurisdictional teletherapy
  • Improving continuity of care when clients travel or relocate.
  • Encouraging cooperation among compact member states/jurisdictions in regulating the practice of social work
  • Preserving and strengthening state licensure systems.
  • Supporting military spouses and other social workers that may relocate to other jurisdictions by easing mobility of licensing.

Who Can Use the Social Work Licensure Compact

To qualify for an Interstate Compact Licensure a social worker who lives in a Compact member state must hold an active license in their home state in one of the following categories:

  • Bachelor's Social Worker (e.g., BSW)
  • Master's Social Worker (e.g., LMSW)
  • Clinical Social Worker (e.g., LCSW)

How Does the Social Work Licensure Compact Work

  1. A Social Worker lives in State A, and wants to be able to work in any compact member state.
  2. State A has passed and signed the compact into law.
  3. At least 7 states have previously passed and signed the compact into law, and a Compact Commission has been formed and is functioning.
  4. Home state verifies that a Social Worker meets the Compact's requirements and issues the Interstate Compact license.
  5. The Social Worker can now practice in any other member state.

There are currently eight professional Interstate Compacts, including the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and the Advance Practice Nurse Compact (APRN Compact), the Counseling Interstate Compact (CIC), and the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT). The time has come for Social Work and our clients to reap the benefits of an Interstate Compact. Additional information about the Compact can be found at this linkYou may read the full Social Work Compact here.

Lobbying state legislators has begun, with Missouri becoming the first state to pass the Social Work Licensure Compact. The benefits to Social Workers in the DMV would be immeasurable.

We are asking our membership for their thoughts on ways forward. We ask that you contact the Legislation and Advocacy Branch to provide your comments on GWSCSW's lobbying and advocating to our local state/jurisdictional governments (i.e., the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) to pass the legislation and join the Social Work Compact. Please include your state(s) of licensure and residence which will aid in our lobbying efforts for the Social Work Compact. Getting the Social Work Compact passed in the DMV will take an effort from all of us, whether calling your representatives, sending emails, or attending hearings. Let us know if you are willing to help in those efforts.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA  22463 | 202-478-7638 |

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