Legislative Advocacy-Corporate Practice

The Corporate Practice of Social Work – In 2010 an unanticipated consequence of the implementation of the social work licensure law (and the other five licensed mental health professions) was identified. Prior to licensure, hundreds of community based non-for-profit service agencies had routinely hired social workers to provide clinical services. However, upon enactment of the licensure statute in 2004 (the beginning of “scope protection”), such agencies were unknowingly running afoul of the state’s corporate practice statute which prohibits general business corporations from employing any of the 50 licensed professions. Such unintentional non compliance was discovered when NASW-NYS began receiving reports from members whose applications (though they had met the experiential and educational requirements) for licensure at the LCSW level, were routinely being denied on the sole grounds that their experience was acquired in a setting prohibited (by the corporate practice law) to provide licensed professional services. This legal prohibition spawned huge workforce and service delivery disruptions. In response, NASW-NYS worked closely with the State Education Department (SED), legislature and Governor’s office to draft legislation that ultimately created a waiver for not for profit and educational corporations employing licensed master social workers, licensed clinical social workers, licensed mental health counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed creative arts therapists, licensed psychoanalysts, and licensed psychologists.