Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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NASW-NYS Leads The Way For Social Work Advocacy

Social workers can be hard on the NASW, they are they obvious target for complaints about the health of the profession. In many ways working for the NASW can be thankless, our advocates are so busy fighting for us that they have little time to fight for themselves by promoting what they are accomplishing.

NASW-NYS is one such chapter and they are doing amazing work. Recently they released their 2013 Legislative Action Report and we thought it prudent to give a glimpse into what NASW-NYS is up to so that social workers can begin to recognize those who are fighting the good fight for them every single day.

From NASW-NYS’ director of Policy Karin (Moran) Carreau, MSW

Social Work License Exemption

In 2013, the governor of NYS, Andrew Cuomo, included language in the NYS budget that would make a temporary provision for the current licensure exemption permanent. The provision allowed state and county agencies, as well as non-for-profit agencies contracting with state and county agencies, to hire employees to perform social work services without having a social work license.

The result of our fierce battle with opponents during the 2013 budget negotiations was that NASWNYS prevented the implementation of a permanent exemption. Instead, a three year extension was passed that requires more comprehensive reporting by exempt agencies.

Social Work Mandatory Continuing Education

NASW-NYS also worked tirelessly to draft and introduce a stand-alone bill (One that is not tied to the budget) that would require mandatory continuing education for all social workers in New York State . The Bill passed and is awaiting delivery to the Governor’s desk.

Once signed, the enactment date is January 1, 2015. Henceforth social workers will be required to begin completing 36 hours of continuing credit hours during the three year triennial license reregistration period. In the meantime, NASW-NYS will be working with the State Education
Department on the implementation details of the program and fortifying our already robust continuing education infrastructure with the goal of offering such hours to members at a significant savings. In addition, as a membership benefit, we will offer (free of charge) a tracking system of individual credits completed.


Other initiatives included:

  • Submission of legislation that would allow social workers to create a limited liability corporation to form an inter-professional practice.
  • Working to add LCSWs as qualified providers under the Workers Compensation Law.
  • Working with other helping professions to make amendments to New York State’s Safe Act, a bill that was passed in the wake of the tragedy at Newtown.

These are just some of ways in which NASW-NYS is fighting for social workers in their own state and setting precedents nationwide. Perhaps one day these efforts, and the efforts from other chapters, will lead to federal laws that can put an end to the state by state menagerie that is social work legislation. For the full report click here.



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