NYS Governor Supports Permanent Exemption from Social Work Licensure: The Possible Harmful Consequences

While browsing on Facebook, I came across a post from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) discussing how “the    Governor’s   Executive Budget seeks to make permanent the exemption from social work licensure for individuals working   in programs that are regulated, operated, funded or approved by the Office of   Mental Health, Department of Health, Office for the Aging, Office of Children and Family Services, Department of Corrections, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, and   local government units or social services districts.”

The NASW states that the current proposal would allow broad sections of the workforce to be unlicensed individuals who have not met the minimum qualifying education, experience, and examination standards to “diagnose and treat” clients with serious mental health concerns. The licensure law was implemented to provide a minimum standard of competence for all mental health professionals, which is critical to monitoring treatment quality. The NASW discusses how the passage of the proposal would allow unlicensed workers to engaged in LMSW and LCSW scopes of practice. This has the potential to be extremely harmful to clients.

The NASW discusses how the proposal would create a “bifurcated system of mental health care” (individuals who received publicly funded or provided services, and individuals who receive services through private health insurance). The NASW is describing this type of system would create a disparity in care since private insurance companies only reimburse individuals with the highest level of credentials. It sounds like that the disparity between economic classes would spread to another area of care that is already suffering. It is unjust to propose or support a law that will further discriminate individuals based upon socioeconomic status.

I would encourage everyone to further look into this proposal, and evaluate how it will affect yourself, social work, our clients, and society. If you find this law unjust, I encourage you to take action!

We strongly urge you to contact members of the Assembly and Senate listed below. Tell them that as a social worker:

  • I am strongly opposed to broad-based permanent exemptions included in the Governor’s budget.
  • Unlicensed staff lacks sufficient skills, knowledge, experience and supervision to competently engage in tasks such as the diagnosis of a mental illness and psychotherapy. Utilizing unlicensed staff to perform such tasks which are restricted to licensed professionals presents a risk to the welfare of mental health consumers.
  • All mental health services in New York State should be provided by competent, qualified and appropriately licensed providers.
  • I support NASW’s budget-neutral compromise which moves New York’s state agencies down the road toward licensure compliance and urge you to do the same.

We need ALL SOCIAL WORKERS to call the following legislative leaders:

Senator Dean Skelos (SD09)Temporary President & Majority Coalition LeaderDistrict Office,Rockville Center (516) 766-8383

Senator Jeffrey Klein (SD34)

Temporary President & IDC Coalition Leader

District Office, Bronx (718) 822-2049

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (SD35)

Democratic Conference Leader

District Office, Yonkers (914) 423-4031

Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (AD65)


District Office, NYC (212) 312-1420

Social Work License Protection


97 signatures

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Latest Signatures
97Grace SantosSep 23, 2013
96Doru Constantin ViziteuDistrict Office,NYC/department mental health workJun 28, 2013
95Stacey HarrellMay 05, 2013
94Nadya TejiramApr 27, 2013
93Carmen and Ruth gomezwe are in favor governor supports permanent exemption from SW Lincensure for the State WorkforceApr 04, 2013
92sharanappa tannurgoodMar 30, 2013
91Melissa YoungMar 29, 2013
90Nancy SimmonsThere is a professional standard to withhold here, there is also a measure of those standards that the Licensure process addresses and insures. The exam verify a set level of knowledgeMar 27, 2013
89Liana FerranteMar 27, 2013
88Valerie KayeMar 27, 2013






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