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Remove the Civil Service Exemptions
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Take Action for Title Protection

When social work licensing was created in Ohio, it meant that if you practiced social work and called yourself a social worker, then you had to be a licensed social worker. From the beginning there has been a civil service exemption, which has allowed anyone working in government (public service) to be called a social worker without requirement of professional training or a license. Social workers need full title protection, and HB 232 endeavors to do just that. You can read the full text of the bill here.

Take Action for HB 232 by the End of March 2014

The Ohio legislature is in session now but soon will go on recess until after the election in November 2014. If we want title protection we need everyone to contact the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services committee members to urge them to support the scheduling of hearings and a vote for the bill. Please take action as soon as possible. Here is the information you need to do it:


1) Write, e-mail, or call the Chair of the committee

a. Senator Shannon Jones.

Address: Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: (614) 466-9737

E-mail: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/jones/contact

2) Write, e-mail, or call the committee members




a. Senator Dave Burke, Vice Chair

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-8049

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/burke/contact


b. Senator Randy Gardner

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-8060

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/gardner/contact


c. Senator Kris Jordan

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-8086

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/jordan/contact


d. Senator Peggy Lehner

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-4538

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/lehner/contact


e. Senator Scott Oelslager

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-0626

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/oelslager/contact


f. Senator Capri Cafaro, Ranking Minority Member

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-7182

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/cafaro/contact


g. Senator Edna Brown

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-5204

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/brown/contact


h. Senator Charleta Tavares

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-5131

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/tavares/contact



What do I say?


Phone Call:


I am calling for Senator______________. I am a social worker (or social work student), and I am calling Senator _____________ because he or she is a member of the Ohio Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services to support House Bill 232, which would remove the civil service exemptions for social workers. The civil service exemption has allowed anyone working in government public service positions to be called a social worker without requirement of professional training or a license. This amendment would assure Ohioans that anyone having the job title of social worker would be required to comply with the licensing law.


Letter or E-mail:


I am writing to you as a member of the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services committee to urge you to support House Bill 232 by supporting the scheduling of hearings and then a ‘yes’ vote on the bill. The bill would remove the civil service exemption to work toward full title protection for social workers. The civil service exemption has allowed anyone working in government public service positions to be called a social worker without requirement of professional training or a license. This amendment would assure Ohioans that anyone having the job title of social worker would be required to comply with the licensing law.


Working with a licensed social worker gives a client peace of mind that the person is educated in evidence-based practice and treatments, adheres to a strict code of ethics and is regulated by a licensing board – the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board. A licensed social worker is subject to professional sanctions if he or she commits an act of misconduct. As a society, we do not tolerate someone who is untrained or unlicensed being called an attorney, doctor or licensed public accountant. The same should hold true for the social work profession.


Social workers are the largest group of mental health providers and one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. A person will likely encounter a social worker when he or she is at their most vulnerable. Building trust with a stranger, even one who is a helping professional, is difficult at the best of times. For people to engage in potentially transformative work with social workers, Ohioans must be assured that the social worker with whom they're working is required to comply with the licensing law.


Negative misinformation about the profession only makes it harder for people to engage in difficult, but potentially transformative work with social workers. When the value of social work is fully realized then it is likely that programs will be better funded; that social work jobs will be valued at the salary level they should be; that educational debt relief, workplace safety and caseload sizes will become important because securing a workforce of social workers is important.


Being a licensed social worker means that the person has undergone specialized training by obtaining, at minimum, a four-year Bachelor of Social Work degree, passing a rigorous licensing exam, completing ongoing continuing education, obtaining appropriate supervision and adhering to a strict Code of Ethics. Title protection restricts the social worker title to only those who have fulfilled the education and licensing requirements. Title protection protects the public by ensuring the standards of the social work profession are being met by every practitioner. House Bill 232 gives social workers title protection by removing the civil service exemption.


Again, please support House Bill 232.



Past Updates on HB 232 

Update on HB 232 - 12/3/13 HB 232 has been assigned to the Ohio Senate Medicaid, Health & Human Services Committee. Take action to ensure the successful passage of HB 232 by contacting the committee chair, Senator Shannon Jones, to request that she schedule HB 232 for a vote in January.

Update on HB 232 - 11/6/13 HB 232 successfully passed the Ohio House on November 6, 2013. The bill is now on its way to the Ohio Senate, making Ohio one step closer to full title protection for social workers. Take action to ensure the successful passage of HB 232: contact your state representative through letters, e-mails, and phone calls. You can find your Ohio House Representative here. You can find your zip+4 here. You can read the full text of the bill here.


Update on HB 232 - 10/21/13 House Bill 232, legislation that provides Ohio social workers with title protection and other protections for their clients and practice, received its third hearing before the House Health and Aging Committee on Wednesday, October 16. For nearly thirty years, the civil service exemption has allowed anyone working in Ohio government to be called a social worker without requirement of professional training or a license. NASW Ohio Chapter’s Membership Associate, Dorothy Martindale, presented proponent testimony Wednesday calling for the long-overdue removal of this exemption to protect social work jobs and vulnerable client populations. Dr. Victoria Kress of the Ohio Counseling Association (OCA) also provided testimony in support of the legislation. Legislators’ questions primarily surrounded the removal of a 60-day limit for retiring Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists (CSWMFT) Board members to continue serving until a replacement is named. While this removal is primarily directed at ensuring each committee retains a quorum during a board member’s transition, Rep. Hood expressed concern that this provision could potentially lead to a lifetime appointment. Rep. Sears, the bill sponsor, noted she would support a full discussion of the issue in the Senate. The bill was voted out of committee unanimously and is expected to come up for a floor vote at the next scheduled full House session on October 30. Contact Health and Aging Committee members to thank them for their support, then contact your district representative and tell him/her to support HB 232 to remove the civil service exemption and give social workers the full title protection they need.

Title Protection for Social Workers is Important

Protects the Public Working with a licensed professional gives clients peace of mind that the person is educated in evidence-based practice and treatments, adheres to a strict code of ethics and is regulated by a licensing board – the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board. A licensed professional is subject to professional sanctions.

Vulnerable Clients Need Correct Information People often encounter a social worker at their most vulnerable and building a trust with a stranger, even a licensed professional, is difficult in the best of times. For people to engage in potentially transformative work with social workers, Ohioans must be assured that the social worker with whom they're working is required to comply with the licensing law.

Titles Matter As a society we do not tolerate someone who is untrained or unlicensed being called an attorney, doctor or certified public accountant. The same holds true for other licensed professions like social work.

Value of Social Work If the need for social work is expected to increase twice as fast as any other occupation, then it is important for the public and decision-makers to understand the value of social work. When the value of social work is realized, programs will be better funded; jobs will be valued at the salary level they should be; and educational debt relief, workplace safety and caseload sizes will become important because securing a workforce of social workers is important.
 
For talking points, helpful tips and links to best ways to talk about social work, click here.
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