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Update: Social Work Licensing & Agency Exemptions
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Update: Social Work Licensing & Agency Exemptions


                        • Governor's Office to work with Legislature and key stakeholders
                        • Goal is to reach consensus and path to implementation in 2016
                        • NASW will continue to fight for grandparenting




When Governor Cuomo submitted his executive budget to the State Senate and Assembly, it included an extension of exemptions for agencies from complying with the licensing law until 2021. The claim was made that ending exemptions would cost the state $350 million to replace staff who did not have the license.

The NYC and NYS Chapters of NASW, the NYS Association of Deans of the Schools of Social Work, and the NYS Clinical Society, working together, took the position that agencies have had since 2002 when the licensing law was passed to come into compliance.  Our position was that if the exemptions are continued through 2021, it will be 19 years of exemptions, and this is not acceptable.

During the budget negotiations, representatives of the profession and agencies, along with leaders in the Senate, Assembly and Governor’s office, discussed at length how to end the exemptions in a way that would minimize the impact on agency employment.

Central to the discussions was the concern by agencies that the term counselor and the functions related to 
service planning would be restricted to licensed professionals and would cause problems for them.  

Despite a great deal of time spent trying to come to agreement, the parties in the legislature and the Governor’s office decided to let the budget pass with a two year extension of the exemptions for agencies (not five as proposed), but they agreed to continue to use the rest of the legislative session, though the end of June, to continue to find a solution to exemptions.  If an agreement were to be reached this session, then exemptions could end sooner than two years from now.

The organizations representing the profession continue to support a re-opening of the grand parenting period for MSWs who have been working at least two years but do not have the license.  This position has been at the forefront of the Latino Social Work Coalition and has been recognized by agencies that it would help alleviate some concern about the impact of exemptions ending.  Nevertheless, the Governor’s office has not agreed to re-opening the grand parenting period.  (It is noted that if grand parenting were to be re-opened, it would only pertain to the LMSW, not the LCSW).  NASW will continue to advocate for grand parenting as discussions continue.
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