Tuesday, June 01, 2021 8:56 PM | Anonymous

Judy Gallant, Director of Legislation| Email: 

Interstate Compact for Social Workers on the (Distant) Horizon

In November 2020, the Department of Defense (DOD) put out a Request for Proposals for a grant to develop Interstate Compacts for Licensure Portability. The grant would allow 5 selected professions to work with the Council of State Governments’ National Center for Interstate Compacts to develop model interstate occupational licensure compact legislation. The primary impetus of the DOD-funded grant is to address licensing portability issues that affect military spouses, but will apply to all practitioners of the profession.

CSWA initially applied for the grant, and named the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and NASW as stakeholders that should also be involved. In addition to DOD selecting the social work profession, teachers, dentistry/dental hygienists, cosmetologists and massage therapists will also receive the grants.

The $500,000 of grant money for each profession goes to the Council for State Governments (CSG), and a small amount of the grant may be used to fund travel and hotels for staff of CSWA, ASWB and NASW to meet together with the CSG. The meetings with CSWA, NASW and ASWB will have the goal of helping CSG understand the issues involved for our profession in order for agreements to be reached about how the Model State legislation will be designed. A 20-member advisory group will examine current policies, best practices and alternative structures in order to establish recommendations for the contents of an interstate compact. Kendra Roberson, CSWA President; Laura Groshong, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice; Margot Aronson, CSWA Deputy Director of Policy and Practice, GWSCSW Co-Chair of DC Legislation and Advocacy; and Judy Gallant, CSWA Government Relations Committee member, GWSCSW Director of  Legislation and Advocacy will all be part of the advisory group to the Council for State Governments.

The scope of the DOD/CSG assistance includes the drafting of a model interstate compact legislation by CSG lawyers, developing a legislative resource kit, and convening a national meeting of state policymakers to introduce the compact. This part may take 14-18 months to accomplish. Activities that are not part of the grant, but which will still need CSWA, NASW, and ASWB support and cooperation, will be creating the Interstate Commission that will govern compact activities and potentially mediate any disputes between states. A shared contact data system will also need to be developed. State Legislatures, along with Boards of Social Work, will need to be encouraged to consider, and then to vote for becoming part of the Social Work interstate compact for licensure portability. This is the time that members of CSWA, GWSCSW and NASW will likely be able to have the most impact through personal advocacy with legislators. We will be talking about this more as that time comes closer. It may be 3-4 years before we see any states joining the interstate compact that will govern social workers interstate licensure.

Some resources that may answer some of your questions:

There was a recent lively list-serv conversation on this topic, raising important points. Questions about how this might impact our practices, in-person provision of services, decreased income potentially as a result of lower fees from competing out-of-state practitioners, and other issues were raised. Other questions that will need to be addressed: Will the compact include standardized licensure fees? Will CEUs earned in one state be accepted in all states participating in the Compact? Some state standards for licensure are more stringent than others. How will these discrepancies be resolved? Will some states need to raise (or lower) their standards? How will fees be handled?

Be sure to contact one of us with any questions, suggestions, or information you might have, or to join one of the committees: in DC, Margot Aronson at or Adele Natter at; in Maryland, Judy Gallant,; and in Virginia, Judy Ratliff, or Wayne Martin at We look forward to hearing from you.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA  22463 | 202-478-7638 |

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