House Bill 311

149th General Assembly (2017 - 2018)

Bill Progress

Signed 6/11/18
The General Assembly has ended, the current status is the final status.

Bill Details

Sen. Walsh
The Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners (“Board”) has worked several years to amend Chapter 39, Title 24 of the Delaware Code to update the statute governing social work licensure and practice in this State. The Board’s work has included collaboration with the Division of Professional Regulation, the Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee, several state agencies, and other stakeholders. The result of that work is this Act, which modernizes Chapter 39 to include a multi-tiered licensure system similar to those already in place in most other states, reflect current practices and standards, and clarify the law. Under current law, the Board regulates only licensed clinical social work (“LCSW”). The Board’s priority in amending Chapter 39 was to require licensure – with limited, specified exemptions – for all individuals who provide social work services in Delaware. Therefore, this Act establishes 3 tiers of social work and defines the scope of practice and licensure requirements for each tier: - LCSW is a specialty within the practice of master’s social work (“MSW”). An LCSW license requires the application of specialized clinical knowledge and advanced clinical skills. An LCSW licensee may provide psychotherapy, practice independently, diagnose, or supervise. An LCSW license requires: (1) a master’s degree in social work or a doctoral degree in a program the Board has approved, (2) the passing of an examination, and (3) the completion of 2 years of supervised experience under the supervision of a LCSW licensee. - MSW includes the application of specialized knowledge and advanced practice skills. Unlike LCSW, MSW does not include psychotherapy or diagnosing. An MSW license requires (1) a master’s degree in social work, and (2) the passing of an examination. - Baccalaureate social work (“BSW”) is the entry level of social work and generalist practice. A BSW license requires (1) a baccalaureate degree in social work, and (2) the passing of an examination. This Act includes a grandfather provision for MSW and BSW licenses. Under § 3907B, individuals who are already practicing within the scope of MSW or BSW but are not licensed may qualify for licensure depending on their education or experience. Section 3907B is limited to MSW and BSW; an LCSW license may not be grandfathered. To qualify under § 3907B, the following requirements must be met: - An MSW applicant must submit documentation from an employer that the individual has at least 10 years of work experience within the scope of MSW practice, or 2 years of work experience within the scope of MSW practice plus a master’s degree in social work, human services, social and behavioral sciences, psychology, sociology, or other related degree the Board has approved. - A BSW applicant must submit evidence of at least 3 years of work experience within the scope of BSW practice, or at least 1 year of work experience within the scope of BSW practice plus a baccalaureate degree in social work, human services, social and behavioral sciences, psychology, sociology, or other related degree the Board has approved. An application for licensure under the grandfathering provision must be submitted within 2 years of enactment of this Act. In addition to the grandfather provision, § 3903(c)(3) this Act exempts from licensure individuals who practice social work and are employed by a Delaware state agency or private or non-profit agency, including a hospital, as of the enactment date of this Act. However, an individual who is newly-employed or employed in a new position 5 years after the enactment date of this Act must be licensed under this chapter if the individual provides services as a social worker. “New position” is intended to capture circumstances in which an existing employee applies for different job either with the employee’s current employer or a different employer; “new position” does not apply to an employee’s existing position for which the job description and duties may be modified. The purpose of § 3903(c)(3) is to ensure that an individual who is currently employed in Delaware as a social worker but may not qualify for licensure under this Act is not disqualified from the individual’s current job. Other exemptions from licensure under this Act include: - An individual who is licensed in another jurisdiction, provided that the individual has made prior written application to the Board to practice social work in Delaware. This exemption is limited to 30 days per year. - Clergy, when engaging in activities within the scope of that individual’s ministerial duties. - Performance of assessments, such as basic information collection, informal observations, or screening and referral for eligibility for a program or service. - Development of service plans not related to a behavioral health diagnosis. - Participation as a member of a multi-disciplinary team to implement behavioral health services or a treatment plan, if specified conditions are met. This Act also includes the following: - Updates to make Chapter 39 consistent with the laws of other Title 24 boards, including amendments to Board membership and duties and disciplinary sanctions. - Clarification regarding Board members’ terms and limits on repeat terms. - Authorizing the Board to audit licensees’ continuing education credits and limit the number of times an applicant may attempt the national exam. - Clarifications and updates to license reciprocity. - Extending the amount of time a licensee may put his or her license in inactive status from 1 year to 3 years. - Removing the requirement of 45 continuing education credit hours to allow the Board to set by regulation the number of required credit hours. - Limiting the consideration of excessive use or abuse of drugs for disciplinary purposes to only the previous 10 years or current use. Existing law did not include a limit to how far back such use could have occurred to invoke disciplinary action. - Clarification that, under appropriate circumstances, licenses can be suspended or permanently revoked; removing all references to “temporary revocation.” - Clarification that exceeding the scope of one’s license is a ground for sanctions. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. Finally, this Act takes effect 1 year after enactment.
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