Modernizing New York’s Social Work Board and Regulations: The Report & Recommendations

Social workers provide the majority of mental and behavioral health services in the country. In New York State there are 61,685 licensed social workers compared to 15,309 licensed psychologists, 9,292 licensed mental health counselors and 1,403 licensed marriage and family therapists.⁠

The number of people experiencing mental health crisis has grown exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In much the same way that medical professionals are the face of the workforce combatting the physical impact of this virus, social workers and other mental health providers are the face of the workforce combatting the mental health impact of this worldwide tragedy. Social workers are trained for this type of work and are here to answer the call. ⁠

It is imperative that social workers in New York have the ability to navigate the licensing process quickly and easily. Currently, New York has one of the most complex set of regulations for social work licensure in the country. Over the last two years, social workers across the state have contacted NASW-NYS for support obtaining their licenses from the New York State Education Department Office of Professions (NYSED). Social workers reported poor customer service, difficulty obtaining their licenses, and multiple obstacles with inter-state reciprocity. As a result, NASW-NYS is recommending changes to improve the process of licensing the social work workforce. ⁠

We invite you to read the report, and participate in the upcoming Town Hall on Modernizing New York’s Social Work Board and Regulations taking place September 19 at 6pm EST. NASW-NYS leadership and staff will provide an overview of the report, updates on movement with NYSED, and engage in transparent conversation about how we plan to move forward. Just as the report was developed with the input of social workers and members across the state, our advocacy must include feedback and guidance from social workers with direct practice experience.

To read the report, click here. 

To register for the Town Hall, click here. 

Amelia Lochner Malavé
Author: Amelia Lochner Malavé