Public Health Committee

March 13, 2023

Submitted by: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

 On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter representing nearly 2,300 members we offer the following comments on raised bill 6733.

Section 2 (b) & (d) addresses concerns regarding the current master exam of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Data released in late 2022 indicated that the examination had both racial and age bias. Based on the data released we support suspension of the master exam for the Licensed Master Social Worker in accordance with proposed bill 6837. Suspension of the exam will give ASWB needed time to develop a more equitable exam or alternative pathway to licensure. We oppose the elimination of the exam as recommended by DPH.

Our reasons for opposition to elimination of the master exam are as follows:

  1. The MSW degree is not always a clinical social work degree. MSW programs graduate students with concentrations in community organization, policy, and administration. These students have not taken advance classwork in clinical practice, nor have they completed internships in clinical settings. Elimination of the master exam will allow non-clinical MSWs to become licensed to practice clinical social work without an examination that indicates they have sufficient knowledge in clinical social work.
  2. Currently, only two states have eliminated the master exam for licensure. Permanently removing the exam will disadvantage LMSWs licensed without exam if they choose to practice in another state. Portability of the license will be loss.
  3. The profession of social work is evolving in regards to new graduate licensure and we do not want to see Connecticut take action that permanently eliminates the master exam when it is not clear what the regulatory future will be for the master examination.
  4. We recognize the workforce shortages and barriers to practice that currently exist. A suspension of the master exam addresses these concerns without the necessity of permanent elimination of the master examination.
  5. NASW/CT is in discussion with DPH as to mutually agreeable language regarding the master exam and its possible future usage. Given these discussions we do not think it is in good faith to retain the language in Section 2 (b) & (d) regarding removal of the master exam.

Section 3 (a) revises the allowable kinds of continuing education that is acceptable for social work license renewal. These changes will allow for a minimum of 5 hours of live, interactive (synchronous) online training. We support this minor revision given that very little in-person training is available since the start of the pandemic.

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