Public Health Committee

March 14, 2022

Submitted By: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

The National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter representing nearly 2,400 members supports H.B. 5395 provisions for reciprocity and psychology compact. The provisions in this bill are long overdue and much needed to encourage ease of practice with consumers in Connecticut.

As the state’s largest social work organization, we commonly deal with social workers considering relocating to CT, having relocated to our state or seeking to treat CT residents by telehealth. While some are recent graduates, most are experienced practitioners, many with multiple years or decades of licensure in another state. These individuals find themselves having to document clinical experience hours and supervision in order to become licensed and thus eligible for the Connecticut license. For some of these applicants, especially those in private practice, locating former employers and supervisors can be challenging and sometimes not possible. Yet, all of these individuals, by fact that they are licensed in another jurisdiction, had documented supervision and experience in order to attain their state license. We see no reason that CT cannot accept these applicants simply by virtue of their license in another jurisdiction.

To be a licensed social worker in CT one must graduate from a MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The CSWE has strict core curriculum requirements so that regardless of what school you received the MSW degree from you have met standardized curriculum. Social workers than must take a licensure exam of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Every state uses the same set of ASWB exams, so regardless of which state you sat for the exam, it is the same exam that CT recognizes. Finally, every state has experiential and supervisory requirements for licensure that are similar to or greater than CT’s requirements. Based on these facts, we urge that DPH offers reciprocity to out-of-state social work license holders.

There is a growing movement in the social work profession toward reciprocity amongst states in terms of social work licensure. H.B. 5395 will ease the transition for those seeking to work in our state or being able to treat CT residents through telehealth. H.B. 5395sends a message that CT welcomes these licensed professionals.

At a time when there is a shortage of mental health providers and a dramatic increase in the need for mental health, a demand that we expect will lasts for many years, Sections 3 & 4 of H.B. 5395 addresses the state’s behavioral health workforce needs. We advocate that social work licenses issued under reciprocity be full licenses, not limited only to telehealth.

NASW/CT also supports the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact that allows for mobility of practice amongst compact states.

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