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    Why Aren’t All Social Workers Supported and Created Equal?

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    There has been much discussion in the social work community about who deserves to be called a social worker and who does not. Many Licensed Clinical Social Workers are tackling state legislatures around the country pushing for the enactment of Title Protection Statutes for use of the title Social Worker.

    Here lies the rub….these statutes would also prevent others with social work degrees working in nonclinical positions from using the title social worker. Why is this touted as the only solution to require minimum standards for the title? Do we prohibit PhD’s from using the title doctor when they have not been licensed by the state medical board? No…It’s actually sounds ridiculous when the logic is applied to other positions of prestige.

    So, why is there a movement to make clinical social workers the standard for social work? As social workers, one of our primary goals are to identify the barriers and challenges preventing families from reaching self-determination. If an individual keeps missing appointments due to transportation, we give them a bus pass or make different arrangements.

    Instead of preventing nonclinical social workers from using the social work title, have we tried to identify the barriers and challenges preventing minimum standards and training to hold such a title? Well, the questions to consider when asking “Which is a social worker” consist of is it the job duties, the degree, or being licensed that determines who is a social worker.

    Personally, I have my own opinion, but I decided to do an informal poll to gauge what others think. The poll asked the question, “Which is a social worker?”.

    The poll attracted 173 voters from five out of the seven continents with the exception of Asia and Antarctica. Additionally, the poll was not specifically administered to individuals within the social work community, so there is a presumption that the results are more representative of society’s perspective of the social work community than the social work community itself.

    Join Us for our next Twitter Chat using #SWChats on August 27th at 7PM EST to talk about Title Protection and what it means for the social work community!

    View the Archive for this Twitter chat Below:

     

    Deona Hooper, MSW is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Social Work Helper, and she has experience in nonprofit communications, tech development and social media consulting. Deona has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Management and Community Practice as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    2 Comments

    2 Comments

    1. Nia

      August 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      I think its good to protect the name from being used to identify people who work in social work type situations. I do social work type stuff but I do not call myself a social worker. When people learn of your position, they automatically put you under that umbrella. It can be awkward for others sometimes but I call myself a human services worker or a case worker because thats what I do. I’ve worked with traumatic brain injured adults, child welfare and now community health, but I do not have a social work degree.

    2. Kathy G. Slaughter

      August 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      This is an important issue to talk about. As an LCSW with macro-practice leanings, I get frustrated with anyone who wants to limit the title to only LCSWs. However, I do see a great value in statutes like the one we have in Indiana. In Indiana, as long as you have a BSW, MSW, LSW, or LCSW you can call yourself a social worker.

      I think this is a useful strategy. It casts a wide umbrella over the different varieties of social workers out there, while still protecting the name/identity from being applied to people who work in a social-work type position, i.e. CPS case managers, yet don’t actually have a social work education. Without some title protection, it is too easy for the value of the social work field to be diluted or changed.

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