Policy Advisory

Policy Advisory Board Policies and Guidelines (Social Workers)

Date: 12/06/2017
Referenced Sources: Division of Professional Licensure

Table of Contents

Emergency Policy on Teletherapy for Applicant Experience and Supervision Hours

At its meeting on March 24, 2020, the Board of Registration of Social Workers voted to issue the following policy:

Because of the current declared state of emergency in Massachusetts, to the extent applicable for applicants of all license types, teletherapy sessions and supervision through video conferencing or telephone that is HIPAA compliant that occurred or will occur from March 10, 2020 through the end of the state of emergency will be accepted toward experience hours and supervision requirements.  Further, the requirement in the Board’s “Practice Advisory Regarding Supervision of Licensed Certified Social Workers via Video Conferencing” that the first supervision session be face-to-face is waived from March 10, 2020 through the end of the state of emergency.

Emergency Policy on Extensions for Authorizations to Test

At its meeting on March 24, 2020, the Board of Registration of Social Workers voted to issue the following policy:

Because of the current declared state of emergency in Massachusetts and the recent closure of Pearson Vue test centers, all authorizations to test that expire from March 17, 2020 through the reopening of Pearson Vue test centers in the United States are extended for 90 days beginning on the day Pearson Vue test centers reopen.

Practice Advisory Regarding Supervision of Licensed Certified Social Workers via Video Conferencing

Adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers on March 22, 2016.

The Board of Registration of Social Workers (“the Board”) voted today to adopt the following practice advisory concerning the provision of supervision of Licensed Certified Social Workers (LCSW) working towards licensure as Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers (LICSW)

This practice advisory does not have the force of law or regulation, but is intended to provide social workers and the public with a recommended protocol to follow in situations where social work supervision is not provided in the traditional face-to-face practice setting.  The Board will look to this practice advisory in considering matters within its scope. 

Scope: 

This Practice Advisory addresses the provision of supervision, via video conferencing, of LCSWs working toward licensure as LICSWs.

Practice Guidance: 

In response to inquiries from licensees and other interested parties about providing and obtaining supervision of LCSWs by video conferencing, the Board has reviewed and considered appropriate protocols for providing such supervision.

Supervision required of an LCSW on the path to licensure as an LISCW.

The required supervision of LCSWs may be performed by an LICSW or someone who is eligible for licensure as an LICSW and must be “one hour a week, or equivalent pro rata amount for part-time employees, of face to face supervision” pursuant to 258 CMR 12.02(1).  While the Board will allow for video conferencing for such Supervision, the Board requiresthat the initial hour of face to face supervision occur in person and not via video conferencing.  Although supervision utilizing video conferencing is not encouraged by the Board, the Board recognizes that in certain circumstances video conferencing can be used as a complement to an existing face-to-face supervision and when warranted by extenuating circumstances.

Licensees are reminded that all of the statutes and regulations that govern traditional Social Work supervision are always applicable. The Board, therefore, requires that Supervisors conduct the initial face to face session in person before utilizing future video conferencing to conduct the Supervision.

Confidentiality:

Supervisors and Licensees must ensure their own compliance with M.G.L. c. 112, s. 130-137, 258 CMR s. 22.00 (Confidentiality of Client Communications and Records) and the NASW Code of Ethics (Ethical Standards 1.07(i) and (m) addressing assuring confidentiality of communications with clients).  The NASW Code of Ethics can be found here:  http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp.

Recognized Entities for Provision of Continuing Education Credits

Adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers on December 15, 2015

Pursuant to 258 CMR 31.02 the Board of Registration of Social Workers (“the Board”) voted today to identify as Recognized Entities for the provision of Continuing Education Credits the following agencies of the Commonwealth:

            The Department of Children and Families;            

            The Department of Public Health; and

            The Department of Mental Health. 

258 CMR 31.02 provides in relevant part:

 Recognized Entity - an educational institution, professional organization or other entity which has been recognized or authorized by the Board to sponsor, conduct or approve continuing education programs in social work.

Practice Advisory regarding social work services by electronic means

Adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers on October 22, 2013.

The Board of Registration of Social Workers (“the Board”) voted today to adopt the following practice advisory about providing social worker services by electronic means.

This practice advisory does not have the force of law or regulation, but is intended to provide social workers and the public with a recommended protocol to follow in situations where social work services are not provided in the traditional face-to-face practice setting.  The Board will look to this practice advisory in considering matters within its scope. 

Scope

This Practice Advisory addresses the provision of social worker services by electronic means of communication (“e-practice”), which includes but is not limited to:  telephone calls, internet video conferencing , texting, and electronic mail.

Practice Guidance

In response to inquiries from licensees and other interested parties about providing social work services by e-practice, the Board has reviewed and considered appropriate protocols for providing such services.  Social workers must recognize that as he or she moves away from direct contact with clients, the social worker loses the value of interacting with the client which comes with traditional face-to-face practice setting.  While e-practice is not encouraged by the Board, the Board recongnizes that in certain circumstances e-practice can be used as a complement to an existing face-to-face therapeutic relationship OR when warranted by extenuating circumstances.

Licensees are reminded that all of the statutes and regulations that govern traditional Social Work are still applicable when treating a client via e-practice.  The Board, therefore, recommends that licensees conduct the initial evaluation of a client in person before treating a client via e-practice, and conduct subsequent sessions in person periodically thereafter to best service the needs of their clients.

Treating clients via e-practice obligates licensees to carefully consider and address diverse issues such as structuring the relationship, obtaining informed consent, maintaining confidentiality, determining the basis for professional judgments, determining boundaries of competence, maintaining computer security, avoiding harm, dealing with fees and financial arrangements, and advertising.

License:

In order to provide social work services in Massachusetts, you must be licensed by the Board or be exempt under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 112, §134.  In determining whether social work services are being rendered in Massachusetts, the Board considers licensure with the Board necessary when the Patient/Client is located within the Commonwealth.  If a Massachusetts licensee renders social work services via e-practice to an out-of-state client, the Board recommends that the licensee contact the social worker licensing board in the state where the  the client is located  to determine whether such practice is permitted in that jurisdiction.  

Confidentiality:

Licensees are advised to review M.G.L. c. 112, s. 130-137, 258 CMR s. 22.00 (Confidentiality of Client Communications and Records), and the NASW Code of Ethics (Ethical Standards 1.07(i) and (m) addressing assuring confidentiality of communications with clients).  The NASW Code of Ethics can be found here:  http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp.

Practice Advisory regarding working with children and families in Massachusetts where parents may be separated, divorced, or never married

Adopted by the Board of Registration of Social Workers on August 28, 2012.

Due to the large number of telephone calls and other inquires from both licensees and parents in this area of practice, the Board of Registration of Social Workers wishes to advise licensees of the following information related to the practice of social work  with children and families in the process of separation-divorce, never married, or post-divorce.  Given that this policy deals with issues of confidentiality and testimonial privilege, and potential exceptions thereto, licensees are strongly advised to seek consultation from knowledgeable persons, including legal counsel in an appropriate circumstance:

CHILD-CLIENT THERAPY

  1. It is very important for a social worker engaged in treatment of a minor child whose parents are separated or divorced, or who were never married to each other, to understand the custodial rights that each parent has.  Under the law, terms like “physical custody” and “legal custody” have specific meanings that are highly relevant to a professional treating a child.  
  2. The child-client whose parents are divorced or in the process of divorce has his or her own confidentiality rights and evidentiary privilege, as do all child-clients to some extent, with respect to his or her relationship with the therapist.  In other words, a social worker may not divulge the substance of what the child client has discussed either orally or by release of written records just because a parent asks for this information.  This information may only be released with a court order or with the signed, informed consent of a mature minor.  As stated by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the 1987 case Adoption of Diane, “[W]here the parent and child may well have conflicting interests, and where the nature of the proceeding itself implies uncertainty concerning the parent’s ability to further the child’s best interests, it would be anomalous to allow the parent to exercise the privilege on the child’s behalf.”  This case law has been interpreted further to mean that confidential information provided by the child in a psychotherapy environment, including a copy of the child’s record, should not be released to either parent or to the court, even with a signed release from one or both parents.  Only the court can waive the child’s privilege and/or make a determination as to the release of confidential psychotherapy records, and Probate courts can and do appoint special guardians ad litem to decide this question for a child.
  3.  It is advisable for licensees to communicate to parents prior to initiating treatment with a child, preferably in an informed consent document signed by all parties, that confidential information will not be released to the parent.
  4. Child therapists should refrain from initiating therapy with a child without the consent of both parents, unless there are legitimate protective issues relating to the child or other mitigating circumstances. Reaching out to the parent who did not initiate treatment for the child is a best practice that can help the therapist understand all sides of the child’s family situation and protect against being perceived as biased or allied with one parent. 
  5. Sole legal custody is rarely awarded in Massachusetts except in circumstances in which one parent has died, there are protective issues, or the parents were never married.  In these cases, the licensee should inquire as to the circumstances of the family before deciding whether to reach out to the non-custodial parent for his/her consent and involvement in the treatment.
  6.  Working therapeutically with children in separated, divorced, or unmarried families requires a higher level of expertise, training, and consultation than working with children in intact families.  It is good practice, whenever one is in doubt about how to proceed, to seek consultation with experts or with an attorney familiar with this work.
  7. Psychotherapy and child custody evaluation are two very distinct services with different roles and responsibilities.  “[Social workers] conducting a child custody evaluation with their current or prior psychotherapy clients and [social workers] conducting psychotherapy with their current or prior child custody examinees are both examples of multiple relationships.” (APA, Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings, 2010  ). The same individual should not undertake both roles.
  8.  A child therapist should not write evaluative reports to lawyers or the court. Factual reports (providing information regarding the existence of the therapeutic relationship) should be provided only in response to a court order and only after legal consultation.

EVALUATIONS

  1. A child custody evaluation is a specialized area of practice.  In general, such forensic evaluations are conducted by court order and are assigned to specialized practitioners who have been certified in this area and are on the court’s list of approved providers, known as “Category E Guardians ad Litem.”  A comprehensive set of standards   apply to evaluative child custody investigations. 
  2. A therapist for a parent should not write evaluative reports or make custody-visitation recommendations for use in court.   Additionally, therapists should never submit evaluative letters or reports regarding the spouse or partner of their patient. (For further information, please refer to the APA Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings  ).

Policy on Experience Requirement for Licensure as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

The Board of Registration of Social Workers ("the Board") voted at its meeting on January 25, 2011 to adopt the following Policy Guideline. This policy guideline is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The guideline set forth below does not have the full force and effect of law, as would a Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to issues in the practice of social work.

Policy No. 11-01

Purpose :

Pursuant to MGL c. 112 §131 "[a]ny individual desiring to obtain a license as an independent clinical social worker … shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the board that he is licensed under this section as a certified social worker; has had three years of full-time experience in the field of clinical social work, or the equivalent in part-time experience which is acceptable to the board, at least two of which are subsequent to receiving the master's degree in social work …"(emphasis added)

258 CMR 9.03 (3) further states that an applicant for licensure as a LICSW must, among other requirements, provide the Board with "[s]atisfactory written or electronic documentation that he or she has provided at least 3500 hours of clinical social work services in accordance with the requirements of 258 CMR 12.02(1) or 258 CMR 12.02(2) over a period of not less than two years from the date on which he or she received the graduate degree in social workrequired by 258 CMR 9.03(1)" (emphasis added)

The purpose of this policy statement is to provide guidance and/or clarification to applicants for licensure as LICSWs regarding the experience requirement for licensure as a LICSW.

Policy :

Applicants for licensure as LICSWs must provide satisfactory documentation to the Board that the 3500 hours of experience in clinical social work services as an LCSW required of 258 CMR 9.03 (3) was obtained over a period of not less than two years after becoming licensed as a LCSW and/or in compliance with the exemptions detailed in 256 CMR 9.02 (1) ). This policy shall be in effect for all applicants for licensure as a LICSW who have graduated from their MSW program after August 31, 2011.

Discussion :

1. It has come to the attention of the Board that there has been some confusion among applicants for licensure as LICSWs regarding the experience necessary to comply with the requirements for licensure. Specifically, the Board noticed that there were individuals who applied for licensure as LICSWs who submitted documentation to the Board that they provided clinical social work services, as described in the scope of practice of an LCSW, without first obtaining an LCSW license or without falling into the exemption clauses.

2. Such experience obtained without an LCSW disqualifies the experience, as it is not in compliance with 258 CMR 9.03 (3) . In order to qualify for the LICSW, clinical social work services may only be performed in accordance with these requirements, by an LCSW as reflected in 258 CMR 12.00. Such services may also be performed by other licensed individuals specifically authorized to do so by law and/or individuals exempt from licensure under 256 CMR 9.02.

3. As such, the practice of clinical social work without the requisite license and/or legal authority to provide such services shall constitute unlicensed practice in violation of M.G.L. c. 112 § 133.

4. Therefore, the Board will not issue LICSW licenses to applicants who submit documentation of unlicensed clinical social work services to meet the experience requirement for licensure as LICSWs.

Policy on LCSW Scope of Practice pertaining to clinical supervision of mental health professionals

The Board of Registration of Social Workers ("the Board") voted at its meeting on June 22, 2010 to adopt the following Policy Guideline. This policy guideline is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The guideline set forth below does not have the full force and effect of law, as would a Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to issues in the practice of social work.

Policy No. 10-01

Purpose:

258 CMR 12.02 (4) and (5) state that the scope of practice for Licensed Certified Social Workers (LCSWs) are limited to: (4) providing "non-clinical supervision to individual social workers or groups of social workers;" and (5) providing "consultation on clinical or non-clinical issues to individuals, groups, members of other professional disciplines, agencies, health care facilities, or institutions, as long as any consultation on clinical issues is provided under the clinical supervision of another social worker who is licensed or eligible for licensure as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and who provides at least one hour per week of face-to-face individual clinical supervision."

The purpose of this policy statement is to provide guidance and/or clarification to LCSWs regarding the limitations of their scope of practice as it pertains to providing clinical supervision to other mental health care professionals applying for licensure in their respective professions, as stated in 258 CMR12.02 (4) and (5).

Policy:

LCSWs may not provide any clinical supervision to any other mental health practitioners. Such supervisory practices would constitute practicing beyond the scope of their practice for LCSWs.

As a result, LCSWs may not complete clinical supervision forms for applicants applying for licensure in any of the mental health professions, attesting that they provided clinical supervision for these applicants. The Board will consider such documentation as evidence of practicing beyond the scope of practice for LCSWs, which may result in disciplinary action being taken against the LCSW for violation of 258 CMR12.02.

Policy Regarding Examination Requirements for Reciprocity Applicants

Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

POLICY BULLETIN REGARDING EXAMINATION REQUIRMENTS FOR APPLICANTS SEEKING LICENSURE BY RECIPROCITY PURSUANT TO SECTION 132 OF CHAPTER 112 OF THE GENERAL LAWS

Enacted October 17, 2006

The Board of Registration of Social Workers voted today to adopt the following policy guidelines and interpretation of Section 132 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws and its regulations at 258 CMR 9.07.

Policy No. 06- 07

Purpose:

To provide guidance to applicants who are licensed or registered as a social worker under the laws of another state, territory or political subdivision and who wish to become licensed in Massachusetts.

Policy:

The Board of Registration of Social Workers, pursuant to Section 132 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, provides for licensure by reciprocity to social workers licensed or registered under the laws of another state, territory or political subdivision of the United States. However, reciprocity is only granted if the standards of the registering or licensing state, territory or political subdivision of the United States are, in the opinion of the Board, substantially equivalent to the requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as set forth in Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers requires that licensees pass a licensing examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Consequently, it is the Board's policy that reciprocal licensure will be extended to those social workers who are currently licensed or registered in a state, territory or political subdivision of the United States under one of two circumstances:

  1. The licensing or registering state, territory or political subdivision of the United States requires a licensing examination administered by the ASWB and whose other standards for licensure are, in the opinion of the Board, substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as found in Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws; or
  2. The licensing or registering state, territory or political subdivision of the United States does not require a licensing examination administered by the ASWB, but the applicant for reciprocal licensure has agreed to take the appropriate ASWB administered licensing examination as a condition of becoming licensed by reciprocity, and whose other standards for licensure are, in the opinion of the Board, substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as found in Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws.

Discussion:

Under G.L. c. 13, §84, the Board is authorized to "examine and pass upon applicants for license to practice social work in the commonwealth." In addition, under the same provision, the Board has the power to" promulgate rules and regulations." In Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General laws, the Board is authorized to provide licensure by reciprocity to social workers licensed or registered in another state, territory or political subdivision of the United States, whose standards, "in the opinion of the board," are substantially equivalent to the requirements of Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws.

The Board, in its opinion, considers the licensing examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to be the only acceptable equivalent licensing examination for social workers. Therefore, a candidate seeking reciprocal licensure who is registered or licensed in another state, territory or political subdivision of the United States, that does not require an ASWB administered licensing examination will not be accepted for reciprocal licensure unless the applicant has taken or takes and passes the ASWB license examination as a condition of reciprocal licensure in Massachusetts.

Policy Regarding the Board's Definition of License Eligible Supervisors

Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

Enacted July 18, 2006

POLICY BULLETIN REGARDING ITS INTERPRETATION OF THE PHRASE "ELIGIBLE FOR LICENSURE" AS USED IN THE BOARD'S REGULATIONS ADDRESSING THE SCOPE OF PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE OF SUPERVISION PROVIDED TO LICENSED CERTIFIED SOCIAL WORKERS FOUND AT 258 CMR 12.02(5), LICENSED SOCIAL WORKERS FOUND AT 258 CMR 12.03(1), 258 CMR 12.03(2) AND 258 CMR 12.03(3), AND LICENSED SOCIAL WORK ASSOCIATES FOUND AT 258 CMR 12.04

The Board of Registration of Social Workers voted today to adopt the following policy guidelines and interpretation of its regulations as identified above.

Policy No. 06-05

Purpose:

To provide guidance to licensed certified social workers, licensed social workers, and licensed social work associates regarding who may provide supervision to them, and to provide guidance to licensed clinical social workers, licensed certified social workers and licensed social workers regarding who they may supervise.

Policy:

The Board of Registration of Social Workers requires in its regulations that licensed certified social workers, licensed social workers and licensed social work associates may provide certain services within the scope of their professional practice as long as they do so under the clinical supervision, supervision or administrative supervision, as the case may be, of a licensed independent clinical social worker, a licensed certified social worker, or licensed social workers. It is also possible under the Board's regulations to provide certain specified supervision if the social worker providing the supervision eligible for licensure as a licensed independent clinical social worker, a licensed certified social worker, or a licensed social worker.

The Board has interpreted the phrase "eligible for licensure" to mean an individual who has applied for and has been approved by the Board, having met specified education and experience requirements, to take the examination for licensure at either the licensed independent clinical social worker, licensed certified social worker, or licensed social worker level, but either has not yet taken or has taken and not yet received the results of that examination.

Because the Board had not previously provided its interpretation of that phrase, and because as a result certain applicants for licensure were supervised by persons who were not "eligible for licensure" as the Board has defined that phrase in this policy, and to avoid imposing any unnecessary hardship on persons who were supervised by persons who were not eligible for licensure, the Board has decided that its interpretation of "eligible for licensure" will take effect on August 1, 2006. Any applicant for licensure supervised by a

person who was not appropriately licensed to provide that supervision as required by the regulations at 258 CMR 12.00 will have their application reviewed on a case by case basis. In reviewing those applications, the Board will make a determination whether the supervisor would have been "eligible for licensure" at the level necessary to provide supervision had they submitted an application for licensure at that level.

Discussion:

Under G.L. c. 13, §84, the Board is authorized to "examine and pass upon applicants for license to practice social work in the commonwealth." In addition, under the same provision, the Board has the power to" promulgate rules and regulations." The Board has promulgated regulations at 258 CMR 12.00 relating to the limitations on the scope of professional practice imposed on certain levels of licensees. In so doing, the Board has stated in its regulations that supervision of various types, clinical, administrative or general, may only be performed by individuals possessing certain levels of social work licensure or who were eligible for that level of licensure. The Board did not, however, define specifically what was meant by the phrase "eligible for licensure" The Board's intention, by this policy, is to provide its interpretation of that phrase for application on a prospective basis, and to address problems raised by applicants who may have received supervision from someone who was not qualified to provide that supervision under the Board's interpretation of the phrase "eligible for licensure."

Policy Regarding Clarification of Continuing Education Requirements

Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

Enacted June 20, 2006

Policy Regarding Clarification of Continuing Education Requirements

May, 2006

Policy #06-04

Purpose:

The purpose of this policy bulletin is to offer guidance regarding what educational programs the Board of Registration of Social Workers ("Board") will accept to satisfy the continuing education requirements in 258 CMR 31.00 et seq.

Policy:

A licensee may receive up to 25% of continuing education credit, in courses that have been approved by the following organizations AND contribute to the professional competence of the licensee. In order to be accepted for continuing education credit, the program must contribute to the growth of professional competence in social work practice. See "Program Content Requirements", 258 CMR 31.04 (1). All licensees must receive a minimum of 75% of their continuing education credit in courses approved by a recognized entity set forth in 258 CMR, 31.04 (2).

Discussion:

The Board may grant continuing education credits for educational programs sponsored by the following organizations in addition to those designated in 258 CMR 31.04 (2). The Board has approved the following organizations:

  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • Board of Nursing Home Administrator's (NHA)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)

Continuing Education programs offered by all organizations approved by the Board must, in order to be approved for continuing education credits, meet the following criteria:

  1. be an organized learning experience, and
  2. be at least fifty (50) minutes in length; and
  3. contribute to and enhance the licensee's professional competence in social work practice.

Continuing education credit will not be given for programs that do not apply directly to and "contribute to the growth of professional competence in social work practice." Programs focused on marketing skills, management or other business skills, or computer proficiency skills will not be considered acceptable, as those types of courses are intended to enhance business skills, and not social work skills.

In addition, Professional Development Points (PDPs) gained through Professional Development Programs provided by a school system will not be accepted.

It is the licensee's responsibility to maintain appropriate documentation demonstrating that all programs submitted meet the Board's continuing education requirements as summarized above and/ or as found in the Board's Regulations at 258 CMR 31.00.

Policy regarding hours of social work experience required for non-bachelor of social work (BSW) applicants for the LSW or the LSWA level of licensure

Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

Enacted March 21, 2006

POLICY BULLETIN REGARDING HOURS OF SOCIAL WORK EXPERIENCE REQUIRED FOR NON-BACHELOR OF SOCIAL WORK (BSW) APPLICANTS FOR THE LICENSED SOCIAL WORKER (LSW) OR THE LICENSED SOCIAL WORKER ASSOCIATE (LSWA) LEVEL OF LICENSURE

The Board of Registration of Social Workers voted today to adopt the following policy guidelines. These policy guidelines are intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The Board utilizes these and other guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to the field of social work.

Policy No. 06-03

Purpose:

To provide guidance to applicants applying for licensure as an LSW or LSWA who does not hold a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work.

Policy:

The Board of Registration of Social Workers requires that an applicant for the LSW or LSWA level of licensure who does not hold a Bachelor of Social Work degree must document the appropriate number of supervised social work experience hours. These supervised social work experience hours must be gained following completion of the applicant's minimum educational qualifications.

Discussion:

Under G.L. c. 13, §84, the Board is authorized to "examine and pass upon applicants for license to practice social work in the commonwealth." In addition, under the same provision, the Board has the power to" promulgate rules and regulations." The Board has promulgated regulations at 258 CMR 9.05 and 258 CMR 9.06 relating to requirements for licensure as a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and as a Licensed Social Work Associate LSWA). In each of those regulations the Board has identified certain experience requirements which must be met. It is the Board's position that those experience hours must be obtained following completion of the applicant's minimum educational requirements. Having obtained all of the necessary experience following completion of all minimum educational requirements, the applicant's work experience will be a better informed work experience.

Policy Regarding the Provision of ESL Accommodations for the Social Work Licensure Exams

Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

Enacted January 17, 2006

POLICY BULLETIN REGARDING
PROVISION OF ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE LICENSURE EXAMINATION

The Board of Registration of Social Workers voted today to adopt the following policy guidelines. These policy guidelines are intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The Board utilizes these and other guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to the field of social work.

Policy No. 06-02

Purpose:

To provide guidance to applicants seeking to obtain ESL accommodations for the examination required for licensure as a social worker in Massachusetts.

Policy:

The Board of Registration of Social Workers will provide examination accommodations for applicants for licensure for whom English is a second language. The accommodations provided will include the provision of an additional two hours of time for completion of the examination and permission for ESL candidates to use a Bi-lingual and/or English language dictionary. To obtain these ESL accommodations an applicant must submit a written, detailed request to the Board prior to registering for said examination. This request should clearly indicate why the applicant believes he/ she requires such accommodations. The accommodations as described above will be provided at the Board's discretion.

Discussion:

Under G.L. c. 13, §84, the Board is authorized to "examine and pass upon applicants for license to practice social work in the commonwealth." In addition, under the same provision, the Board has the power to" promulgate rules and regulations." Under G.L. c. 112, § 132 examinations are to be conducted by the Board. The Board has discretion to establish the examination requirement, rules and regulations. It is within the Board's discretion to provide accommodations for applicants for licensure for whom English is their second language. Providing such accommodations is in the interests of the profession because it will increase the opportunity for licensure of social workers whose first language is that of those communities which frequently receive the services of licensed social workers.

Policy Regarding Licensure by Reciprocity

Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

POLICY BULLETIN REGARDING LICENSURE BY RECIPROCITY

Enacted December 6, 2005

The Board of Registration of Social Workers voted today to adopt the following policy guidelines. These policy guidelines are intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The Board utilizes these and other guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to the field of social work.

Policy No. 06-01

Purpose:

To provide guidance to applicants seeking to obtain a license to practice social work in Massachusetts through reciprocity.

Policy:

To obtain licensure by reciprocity in Massachusetts, the Board requires that applicants possess a current, valid license from another state, territory, or political subdivision of the United States under standards substantially equivalent to the requirements in Massachusetts.

Discussion:

Under G.L. c. 112, § 132, the Board is permitted to license without examination an applicant who satisfies the board that he or she has passed an examination and is or has been licensed or registered under the laws of another state, territory, or political subdivision of the United States under standards substantially equivalent to the requirements in Massachusetts. While the statute authorizes the Board to license all applicants who meet the above-cited criteria, the Board has discretion to set additional requirements for licensure by reciprocity. G.L. c. 112, § 132. Additional requirements for licensure by reciprocity are set forth in 258 C.M.R. 9.07. In addition, to ensure that applicants for licensure by reciprocity are sufficiently qualified for licensure in Massachusetts without examination, the Board further mandates that at least one of an applicant's out-of-state license be current.

Policy on the Proration of Supervision Hours

Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

Enacted January 18, 2005

Proration of Required Supervision Hours

The Board will allow for the proration of supervision hours to work hours at a rate of not less than one hour per month for social workers. This policy pertains to the supervision requirement set forth in 258 CMR, section 12.00.

Referenced Sources:
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