Children’s Committee

February 21, 2023

Submitted by: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter representing over 2,300 members we thank the Children’s Committee for raising SB 2. NASW/CT is strongly in favor of this bill.

Section 1 adds a staff person for the DPH licensing unit over social work. Every week our office answers emails and phone calls from social workers seeking information on licensure. Typically these contacts start with “I cannot reach anyone at DPH”. Without question, DPH needs additional licensure staffing, especially given the steps having been taken by the Legislature to increase the number of licensed social worker.

Section 9 adds mental health wellness day to the approved reasons for a service worker to use accrued paid sick leave. The pandemic has stressed service workers to their limits. Being able to use accrued sick time for mental health wellness will go a long way in helping service workers cope with increased stress and allow the worker to return to work in a healthier state of mind. Since 2022 NASW has allowed for mental health wellness days. A December 2022 workplace survey of our members found that 59% reported increased work stress since the start of the pandemic.

Section 11 creates an Office of Behavioral Health Ombudsman to be housed within the CT Insurance Department (for administrative purposes only). This language mirrors the highly successful Office of Healthcare Advocate. A 2021 NASW/CT survey found that 76% of providers had to contact an insurer multiple times to resolve a problem; 33% had to wait over 30 minutes to speak to a provider representative; 71% had missing reimbursement payments and 44% had retroactive denial of payments (claw backs) within a 12-month period. These constant administrative hassles steal time away from the clinician that would be far better used for treatment time. These and numerous other problems are driving clinical social workers, and other independent mental health providers to limit the insurers they will accept or completely dropping insurance provider status. Individuals and families seeking to use their mental health coverage are now limited as to access to a provider, with the most experienced clinicians being the most likely to not accept insurance plans. The Ombudsman office will go a long way in resolving provider issues with insurers, create a more even playing field between insurers and providers, offer policy recommendations to the Legislature and offer a resource to legislators when constituent providers seek assistance in dealing with an insurer.

Section 13 reduces the license application fees for both the master and clinical social work license. CT has, by far, the highest social work license fees on an annualized basis of any jurisdiction in the nation. SB 2 resolves this issue by setting the application fees in line with most states.

Section 14 makes licensure renewal biennial instead of the current annual renewal. CT is one of only six states that have annual renewal of the social work license. Forty-one states have biennial renewal and three states have triennial renewal. Again, SB 2 moves CT into the mainstream for social work license renewal. We request that along with biennial license renew for licensed social workers the continuing education requirement be increased from 15 to 30 hours per license renewal period so as not to cut in half the valuable continuing education requirement.

Last year the Legislature took significant steps to assist individuals seeking to enter the profession of social work. We are deeply appreciative of those steps. Now we seek to assist the current social work workforce who provide the majority of mental health services for our state’s residents. SB 2 offers concrete actions that recognize the value of professional social workers and will provide much needed support for the social work workforce.


  1. Haley McDonald says

    I would like there to be an Office of Behavioral Health Ombudsman to be housed within the CT Insurance Department to represent interests of behavioral health providers.

    CT annual renewal fees are astronomically high, and occur yearly, while other states have implemented biennial and triennial renewals. I believe that license application and renewal fees need to be reduced and the renewal period should be every 2 years; this is in alignment with the majority of states in the US.

Speak Your Mind