News & Views | March 2021

Monday, March 01, 2021 8:28 PM | Anonymous

Adele Natter Margot Aronson, Committee co-chairs

Several issues of concern for DC social workers were on the agenda at the January DC Board of Social Work open session meeting, which was attended by more than a dozen social workers representing the interests of GWSCSW and other agencies.   

First, the stats and some administrative data:

  • There are 5279 active licensees in DC, of whom 3693 are LICSWs, 46 LCSWs, 1473 LGSWs, and 67 SWAs.  
  • Although the Board office is open by appointment only at this time, applications are being processed without issue, and they are accepting documents such as transcripts, etc.
  • The Public Health Emergency has been extended to March 31, and the Board expects that it will be extended again after that date.  The requirement for live, in-person CEU training has been suspended throughout the current licensing period, and that will continue during the pandemic.  The policy permitting TeleSupervision has been extended to December 31, 2021.  

One issue that generated a lot of discussion was the possible creation of a Supervised Practice Form.  The problem is that many agencies hire new BSWs and MSWs, with the understanding that they will sit for and pass the licensing exam.  In some cases, pandemic conditions have severely limited test-taking opportunities.  In others, candidates do not pass the exam, and are then practicing without a license.  Representatives of several agencies affirmed their desire to be in compliance with the regulations and also to support and mentor their social workers to pass the licensing exam and demonstrate their competency.  

The Supervised Practice Form would authorize the practice of social work for a limited period of up to 180 days, under supervision, before the scheduled exam.  The supervisor would be responsible for submitting the Supervised Practice Form, which could be done only one time.  The Board’s verification page would indicate failure on the exam, and the worker would have to reapply to take the exam and, in the meantime, cease practicing social work.

A program to certify community health workers (CHW) is being considered in the DC Department of Health and DC Department of Behavioral Health, to include frontline workers on outreach teams, in hospital wrap around services, and in informal social support roles.  Such a program would be based on a national definition and hopefully lead to standardized training and tools, and enhance the standing of individuals from the community who provide much needed support services. 

As currently envisioned, this certification would be voluntary; regulatory standards and oversight were not mentioned. 

A final note:  Any DC licensee who did not receive the Board’s January 4th email should first double-check to see your correct email address used for official Board business (your CE submissions, for example) before alerting Mavis Azariah.

Adele Natter, LICSW, Co-Chairs the GWSCSW Legislation & Advocacy Committee for DC.. Adele has been an active participant on the Committee for the past four years; she represented GWSCSW on a Board of Social Work sub-committee, which included NASW and CSWA representatives. Adele maintains a private practice focused on helping individuals with anger and emotional regulation issues. She is also a Clinical Instructor in the Psychiatry Residency Program of the George Washington University Medical School. She holds a BA in Psychology from UCLA and received her MSW from the University of Maryland.

Margot Aronson, LICSW, co-chairs the GWSCSW Legislation and Advocacy Committee for DC along with Adele Natter, LICSW. A past GWSCSW president, she has also served as newsletter editor and director of Legislation & Advocacy. Margot currently advocates on mental health and LCSW practice issues for us all at the national level as the Clinical Social Work Association Deputy Director for Policy and Practice.
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