Who is a social worker? How do we define what we are as a profession? There are many reasons on why social work title protection must be advocated for inside the profession. We need this in order to protect and define what it means to be a social worker. Without title protection, anyone can call themselves a social worker. We would not see this in other professions such as nursing or teaching. Without ensuring that a nurse is properly trained the patient is exposed to unnecessary risk; the same rings true for social work practice.
My home state, North Carolina, has had title protection since 2009. This protects the title of social workers who operate in the private sector; they are required to have a BSW, MSW, or PhD. It would be a misdemeanor to anyone that called themselves a “social worker” without the required degree. Even this system is not perfect; as long as someone works for the state, they can call themselves a “social worker”. This happens many times in social services and other government agencies. This is a problem because if the patient is exposed to unnecessary harm and it gives the assumption that improper practice happens from social workers. In other words, the profession of social work is being undermined by those that are not even social workers.
We must advocate for title protection in all states and all counties. It is imperative that we protect ourselves and our profession.
Please visit www.protectsocialwork.com for more information on New York’s current social work exemption licenses crisis
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